U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, recently announced that the committee has approved the Fiscal Year 2010 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which includes $500,000 that Senator Hutchison secured for I-69.

The bill is now ready to be considered by the full Senate.

"As Texas ' population continues to grow, we must invest more in our transportation infrastructure," Hutchison said. "I-69 is a vital corridor for trade, beginning at the Mexico border and running north through Texas and the American Midwest to Canada."

For more than 15 years, the I-69 Corridor has been under development and has been consistently recognized by Congress as a national transportation priority. Yet, the project's progress has been delayed considerably by the inability to get timely environmental reviews and clearances as required by federal law.

This funding will be used to ensure that federal agencies have the necessary staff to expedite the environmental reviews of projects along congressionally designated High Priority Corridors, including I-69 in Texas which is defined by statute as US 59, 77 and 281.

Without such resources, the ongoing delay of environmental clearances will continue to significantly increase the cost of construction of I-69 and other High Priority Corridors to increase.