WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, last week announced that the committee has approved the Fiscal Year 2009 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill, which includes $500,000 that Hutchison said she secured for development along Interstate 69 in Texas. The bill is now ready to be considered by the full Senate.

"As Texas' economy continues to blossom, it is critical that we maintain and develop the resources that have made that growth possible," Hutchison said. "This funding will not only help improve I-69 now, but also provide additional growth for our economy in the future."

I-69 is the combination of two federally designated High Priority Corridors. Corridor 18 extends from Michigan and Illinois south through Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and terminating at the terminus of U.S. 77 and U.S. 281 in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Corridor 20 is designated as U.S. 59 from Texarkana to Laredo.

I-69 is expected to create more than 27,000 new jobs by 2025, resulting in $11 billion in additional wages and $19 billion in additional value.

Secured funding will be used for the development of the I-69 route in Texas, particularly the expansion to U.S. 77, U.S. 281 and U.S. 59.

TxDOT announced last month that it would be recommending the use of existing highways and roadways rather than building new roads for the I-69 project.