Texas’ Intracoastal Waterway Wins Marine Highway Status
AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Transportation’s application to designate the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway from Brownsville to Port Arthur as Marine Highway 69 has been approved by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. This designation allows TxDOT and Texas ports to develop projects along the waterway that will help relieve roadway congestion along the Gulf Coast by allowing more freight to be waterborne and clears the way for seeking federal grant funding.
Marine Highway 69 links more than 20 Texas ports and moved nearly 86 million tons of freight in 2014.
“The designation of Texas’ Gulf Intracoastal Waterway as Marine Highway 69 is a significant step forward for this corridor and region of our state,” said Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Moseley. “We are now better-positioned to shift freight from our congested roads to M-69’s waterborne freight system, where it can be more efficiently transported.”
TxDOT has pursued Marine Highway status for the state’s 379-mile coastline since 2014. The M-69 portion handles 67 percent of all freight moving through the entire Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which extends to St. Marks, Fla.
The Texas Transportation Commission thanked U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and U.S. Reps. Filemon Vela and Blake Farenthold, who represent much of the Texas Coast, for their efforts to win approval on this important initiative.
“In addition, by designating the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway as M-69, we acknowledge the connection between this marine highway and Interstate 69,” said Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Austin III. “Both M-69 and I-69 provide crucial connections to our Texas ports and are important to our state and national economies.”