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      What is the future of the Ports to Plains Corridor?

      The P orts to P lains corridor is back in the news.

      Texas Department of Transportation officials met in Austin on Monday to make plans for the next few years.

      They're considering long range efforts to shore up the corridor, and that could include expansion and renovation that helps the Panhandle area.

      Certain roads in the Panhandle area that will carry fleets of trucks along with goods all across the U.S. and Canada, but can they handle the pounding that comes along with the increased traffic?

      TxDOT officials said they are looking at needed expansion and renovation of some two lane roads through the next couple decades.

      "Dumas to Hartley on U.S. 87 as a roadway in the future that should be a four- lane highway," said TxDOT Spokesperson Paul Braun. " At this point, we're turning that two- lane into a super two- lane, much like you see on the Fritch highway."

      " Also, on U.S. 54 from Dalhart to the Sherman county line," he added.

      As members of the Po rt to P lains alliance, the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission is strongly in favor completing the corridor for a myriad of reasons, said Kyle Ingham, Local Government Services Director with the PRPC.

      "The main point of P ort to P lains is that we have economic viability, whether it's exporting goods to the region, through the region, we want to be a part of the way america moves goods. we've done it with roads and highways and we want to continue to be a part of it," said Ingham.

      The S tate is still reeling from the last set of budget cuts, and money is a factor. but highway projects are also mainly funded by federal and state gas taxes, officials said. A ny shortfalls will have to be addressed by lawmakers, much like they did with Propo sition 12 during the last legislative session.

      "That's going to be an issue for the legislature to tackle," added Braun. "We take the money that they give us and we put it to the best use that we can."