The Corridor Council began roughly thirty years ago. It was founded by several Austin and San Antonio business & civic leaders. They believed it was imperative the growing region have a neutral location to discuss issues of the day.
The Corridor from Austin to San Antonio has been a center of commerce and trade since the days when Indians and Conquistadors still roamed its richly-wooded hills, rivers and streams.
Modern Interstate Highway 35 now links these, the fastest-growing communities in America, to a river of trade flowing between Mexico, the US, and Canada. The route of IH-35 parallels the legendary Camino Real - The "King's Highway" -- used by Spanish explorers and missionaries in the 1600's to speed goods up from Central Mexico to missions in East Texas, and from there to the distant commercial centers of the American Northeast and Europe.
Today, this ancient trade route plays an increasingly important role in post-NAFTA Texas. 80% of all Mexican exports pass through the Lone Star State, 75% of those exports traveling up Interstate 35 through Austin and San Antonio. NAFTA trade between the US, Mexico, and Canada is now doubling every four-to-five years, currently reaching more than $800 billion in 2007.
Nearly half of America's foreign exchange with Mexico involves products originating in or destined for Texas, and this explosion of trade presents ever-increasing opportunities for businesses throughout the Corridor.
Stretching for 90 miles from San Antonio north to Georgetown along IH35, the Corridor basks in the sunny geographical center of Texas. Eastward are the agricultural Gulf Coastal Plains - some of the richest farmland in the United States - and the major deepwater ports of Corpus Christi and Houston. The Edwards Plateau region rises to the west with the fabled Texas Hill Country's clear, deep lakes and breathtaking views. North, there's the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex; and to the south, the bustling border crossing at Laredo, and Mexico.
The region is a key intermodal hub for international commerce between North and South America and will continue to grow in importance as planned highway, air, freight and commuter rail projects develop. These intermodal networks will insure continued capacity for economic expansion while maintaining the unique, quality lifestyle which makes the area such an attractive place to live and work.
Though anchored by the cities of Austin and San Antonio at each end, the Corridor is made complete by the colorful lifestyle of thriving communities in between.
Austin, the Texas state capital, offers influential political connections and the sprawling research complexes of the University of Texas. More than 800 high technology companies (with nearly 91,000 employees) operate in the 'Silicon Hills' of the city, drawn by recreational possibilities of the area's five Highland Lakes, rich cultural and artistic life, and reputation as 'The World Capital of Live Music.'
Will Rogers called San Antonio "one of America's four most unique cities" and today the Alamo City is world-renowned for medical and biotechnical research, manufacturing facilities, and tourist attractions. Respectful of its Spanish traditions, the city's festive Riverwalk, SeaWorld, Fiesta Texas, and Hemisfair Park all reflect the cultural diversity offered by a 60% bilingual workforce - a fact clearly recognized when the leaders of Mexico, Canada, and the United States named San Antonio as headquarters for the NAFTA-sparked North American Development Bank.
But it is in the smaller nearby communities where visitors get a real sense of the Corridor Lifestyle; a cultural blend of European settlers, Spanish influences, and the rural charm of the West. This is where rural and urban meld and complement one another, where cowboy traditions blend with international trade, where historical treasures and museums mingle with high-tech manufacturing plants.
Whether listening to the German language still spoken in the shady streets of New Braunfels, western swing bands in the open-air dance halls on the Guadalupe River in Gruene, or children laughing over the antics of Ralph (The Swimming Pig) at Aquarena Springs in San Marcos, the Corridor Communities offer sights and sounds for everyone. Fishing, boating, swimming, camping, canoeing, golf, and hiking can be found throughout the Corridor Communities much of the year. The weather is a key factor in the Corridor Lifestyle; an average of 270 sunny days each year, with highs in the winter between 55-60, an average high of 90 in the summers, and an average annual temperature of a moderate 70 degrees.
Though steeped in the traditions of its past, the Austin-San Antonio Corridor is poised for a bright future fueled by regional cooperation, a dynamic workforce, and regional infrastructure designed to create prosperity while preserving our quality of life.