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Heights officials support Interstate 14 initiative

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Harker Heights is jumping on the support bandwagon to have U.S. Highway 190 from Copperas Cove to Belton turned into an interstate highway.

Spearheaded by Killeen entities, the effort calls for the highway to be co-signed I-14 along with U.S. 190. A dual designation for the highway should give the cities along the U.S. 190 corridor — Belton, Nolanville, Harker Heights, Killeen and Copperas Cove — some economic advantages that business could deem attractive, organizers said.

“This designation has economic development implications for us, because many times businesses, like for example Cracker Barrel, which you usually only see off interstates, want to be located on an interstate highway,” City Manager Steve Carpenter said.

The Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation was among the first government entities to sign a resolution Oct. 24 to support the I-14 effort. Heights voted Tuesday to send a letter of support to the Texas Department of Transportation. Carpenter said adding the dual designation could be easy, since U.S. 190 from Belton to Copperas Cove is already built to interstate standards with limited access and proper infrastructure.

“First it would expedite, over time, ingress and egress to Fort Hood, the most deployed and one of the most populated installations in the U.S. Army,” wrote Mayor Mike Aycock to Phil Wilson, executive director of TxDOT. “Second, this action would add military value to an installation which is the largest single site employer in the state with an estimated $425 billion in annual economic impact on the state.”

With talks of a potential base realignment and closure and recognizing the designation could bring in revenue, Aycock said he sees “nothing negative” about showing support for co-signing and that this action would have a “very positive economic development benefit for all the communities on the route.”

Contact Vanessa Lynch at vlynch@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7567.

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