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The Public Utility Commission of Texas has unanimously approved an application by Electric Transmission Texas (ETT) and public electric utility Sharyland Utilities to build the Cross Valley 345 kV transmission line from a substation northwest of Edinburg to a substation located east of Brownsville. ETT is a joint venture between subsidiaries of American Electric Power (AEP) and MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.

According to AEP, the project is estimated to cost $309 million and expected to be complete in summer 2016.

The western half of the approximately 96-mile-long transmission line will be constructed, owned and operated by ETT. Sharyland will construct and operate the eastern half.

"When we first filed our joint application in July 2013, we emphasized that this transmission line is needed to ensure continued reliable electric service for the Lower Rio Grande Valley, which is forecast to have continued electrical demand growth," says ETT President Calvin Crowder.

"The need has grown since that time, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has determined this project is critical for the reliability of the ERCOT system and, specifically, the Brownsville area," Crowder adds.

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