A bill authored by Conroe state lawmaker Brandon Creighton that's expected to give a financial boost to Texas ports is with the Texas House of Representatives after passing the Senate unanimously.
Creighton says his Senate Bill 28, the Texas Port Expansion Act, will help the state's ports move infrastructure projects into the fast lane, while also adding new jobs. The extra funding is also expected to make Texas more competitive in international trade, especially as the Panama Canal is expanded.
"With the Panama Canal expansion and those locks and channels open, we have some of the best situated geographical locations in the world," Creighton said earlier this year as the bill made its way through the legislative process. "But yet we were still finding ourselves being edged out by other states."
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick applauded the Senate's passing of the bill, noting that the state's ports contribute to a significant portion of the Texas economy.
"Texas ports serve as gateways to the state economy creating nearly 1.6 million jobs for Texans and representing an estimated 25% of the state's gross domestic product," Patrick said in a statement on Thursday.
"In order for Texas to remain the number one exporting state we must continue to enhance connectivity to ports and invest in port infrastructure. SB 28 will accomplish this goal by providing critical funding opportunities that ensure our ports remain competitive."
The district Creighton represents, District 4, stretches from Montgomery County to Beaumont and Port Arthur.
Serving as the headquarters to the U.S. Army's 842nd Transportation Battalion, the massive port is the busiest military port in the world for processing U.S. military equipment. And overall it's the fourth busiest port in the nation, producing more than $15 million in total revenues last year, according to its financial statement.