Interstate 14, also known as the Fourteenth Amendment Highway, is a new interstate highway which will pass through Texas, and could connect with Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. The Highway was originally passed and signed into law by then President George W. Bush in 2005 as part of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, or (SAFETEA-LU). It was a response to Congressional pressure after Hurricane Katrina in light of several evacuation controversies related to road logistics. The original bill however, did not allocate any funds towards project construction.
U.S. Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, sponsored a bill which determines the precise Texas corridor through which the highway will pass. Approximately 700 miles in total, the corridor makes use of existing stretches of highway, such as U.S. Highway 190. I-14 will therefore pass through Killeen and Belton on its way to Bryan-College Station, Huntsville, and Woodville, before connecting with State Highway 63 at the Sabine River.
There are many time and money saving advantages to reusing existing stretches of highway. However, reusing existing roadway does not eliminate the need for new construction, which could take place for two reasons. Firstly, the corridor may still require realignments which will require the construction of new highway. Secondly, not all of the existing highway is up to interstate code. Modifying highways to conform to interstate code may involve adding lanes and partitions, removing traffic lights, and the construction of overpasses, underpasses, and access ramps.
Though the bill was initially intended to enhance disaster relief and evacuation capabilities, its proponents claim that it will provide military and economic advantages as well.
Representative Brian Babin, R-Texas said, “There is a reason this interstate already has a nickname, ‘Forts to Ports,’ as it provides either direct or very close access for some of our country’s most strategically important military and shipping assets.”
“By creating a more efficient interstate highway system in the heart of Texas, Interstate 14 will allow the state to attract more economic development and jobs,” said John Thompson, chairman of the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition.
Co-authored by Christopher Chan and Justin Hodge.