If you’ve been in Central Texas long, you’ve likely realized the importance of Interstate 35 to our region, making possible that quick trip up to Dallas or down to Austin. In actuality, I-35 extends 1,568 miles, spanning North America and connecting all three countries, from the border in Laredo all the way up to Minnesota, connecting with Canada.

I-35 is not only significant for Waco but also an international corridor, facilitating freight movement, commerce and travel within, and of critical importance to, Texas and beyond. However, any who travel I-35 can attest to long delays and excessive time spent idling, hoping to get from Point A to Point B. The impact on commerce, productivity and quality of life is real and will only be exacerbated with the population growth Texas will experience in years to come. Other external changes may also contribute to increased usage of our transportation infrastructure.

In June, the $5.4 billion Panama Canal expansion project had its inaugural ceremony. This expansion will nearly triple the capacity of the original canal. Natural gas producers are among those anticipated to get the most use and the biggest win from the expansion. February 2016 saw the first exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) produced in the continental United States and already the U.S. Energy Information Administration expects our nation will be the world’s third-largest LNG producer by 2020. As Texas production and exports of LNG, not to mention other goods in our booming state economy, increase, so will the usage of our existing infrastructure.

Read more: http://www.wacotrib.com/opinion/columns/board_of_contributors/jessica-attas-board-of-contributors-high-speed-rail-projects-could/article_e4cc3de9-56e0-5074-a155-fe4171e32647.html