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Members of North America's Superhighway Coalition will meet with lawmakers and Coalition officials in Tulsa later this week as they prepare for the 1997 legislative sessions, both in Oklahoma and Washington D.C.
The Coalition was formed in 1994 to work for the designation of I-35 as a High Priority Corridor and make the states through which it runs eligible for a share of federal funding set aside under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991.
The federal funds will be used to help Oklahoma deal with the increased wear and tear on I-35 due the Passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Senator Keith Leftwich said the Coalition is not only working to help Oklahoma deal with costs of maintenance on I-35, but aid in Oklahoma's economic development as well.
"We're working to create jobs and opportunity throughout Oklahoma. Private sector investment in businesses and trade along the superhighway is expected to have a multi-million dollar impact on Oklahoma's economy.
"It is time for Oklahoma to take advantage of our strengths to encourage economic growth and right now Oklahoma is faced with a tremendous opportunity," said Leftwich, D-South Oklahoma City. "I-35, I-40 and I-44 are America's Corner, and we must use them to our advantage."
Leftwich said I-35 is the only corridor directly linking Mexico and Canada.
"The passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement has greatly increased the amount of traffic and commerce between these nations and Oklahoma can to reap the economic benefits of this agreement," he said. "Since it is now in place, Oklahoma officials and the Coalition are working to make sure it benefits Oklahoma."
The Coalition meeting will be begin February 6 with a 4:30 p.m. reception at the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore and will convene at 9 a.m. February 7 at the Rogers University Tulsa Campus in the North Hall Conference Center in Lecture Hall 150. Speakers will include Tulsa Mayor Susan Savage and Coalition Chairman Jeff Mosley.