The History of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance - Including Early American Highway Development Events
You can skip to May 5th 1995 if you are already familiar with the early history of America's Highways !
United States Office of Road Inquiry
In a letter to General Stone on October 3, 1893, Secretary Morton established the charter for the U.S. Office of Road Inquiry. The letter reflected Morton's political philosophy of strict construction of the law, rigid economy, and opposition to all forms of government paternalism ---
"To enable the Secretary of Agriculture to make inquiries in regard to the systems of road management throughout the United States," etc. I regard the necessity for road improvement as so obvious as to require no argument; but, as Mr. Thayer of the Iowa State Road Improvement Association expressed it, "The two questions now before the American people, touching the building of good roads are, first, 'How to build the best road for the least money,' and second 'Where is the money to build them to come from?'" The second question I regard as one to be solved by the inhabitants of the several States themselves. In the solution of the first, I trust that the appropriation assigned to this Department as above, will enable me to lend practical aid."
Federal Highway Engineer Training Program
In 1905, Director Logan Waller Page, the first Director of the Office of Public Roads (OPR), received approval from the Department of Agriculture for a highway engineer-training program. OPR appointed to the program a limited number of civil engineering graduates only after passing a competitive exam-with a starting salary of $600 per year. These engineers actually played a key role as the backbone of the Bureau of Public Roads (BPR) and many developed the policies and procedures for administering what would become the modern Federal-aid program.
American Association of State Highway Officials
On Dec. 12, 1914, state highway officials met in Washington, D.C., at the Raleigh Hotel at 10 a.m. to establish a national organization that would allow for the discussion of legislative, economic, and technical subjects and would draft a legislative proposal for federal cooperation in road construction. They were joined by Logan Waller Page, director of the Agriculture Department's U.S. Office of Public Roads (OPR), and key members of his staff. On that day, the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) was organized, with Henry G. Shirley, chief engineer of the Maryland State Roads Commission, as the first president
Federal Aid Road Act
On May 8, 1916, the Senate approved the Bankhead bill with some amendments, notably, approval of a new Section 8, introduced by Rep. Joseph Walsh of Massachusetts. Section 8 appropriated $10 million ($1 million per year for 10 years) for roads and trails within or only partly within the national forests. During the debate, Page was on the Senate floor as an advisor to Sen. Bankhead, furnishing information and answering questions.
Colorado Dept. of Highways Created
The State Highway Fund was created and a State Highway Department (CDOH - Colorado Department of Highways) was formed.
Creation of the Texas Dept. of Transportation - TX DOT
The Texas Legislature created the Texas Highway Department in 1917 to administer federal highway construction and maintenance. In 1975, its responsibilities increased when the agency merged with the Texas Mass Transportation Commission, to form the State Department of Highways and Public Transportation.
Federal Interstate Highways Act
Congress passed the Federal Interstate Highways Act. Among the approvals was the section of I-70 from Denver to the Utah border.
Interstate Highway Construction
And so began 35 years of intensive highway construction in the US.
The massive manpower, materiel, and logistical effort required cost, and dispersed into local economies, over $191 Billion in Federal and State funds.
Creation of the Federal Highway Administration
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) was created on October 15, 1966, after having had several predecessor organizations. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation that supports State and local governments in the design, construction, and maintenance of the Nation’s highway system (Federal Aid Highway Program) and various federally and tribal owned lands (Federal Lands Highway Program). Through financial and technical assistance to State and local governments, the Federal Highway Administration is responsible for ensuring that America’s roads and highways continue to be among the safest and most technologically sound in the world.
ISTEA - Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991
Identified Heartland Expressway as Corridor number 14 on High Priority Corridor on the National Highway System. The Act identified the corridor as Denver through Scottsbluff, NE to a Rapid City, SD.
That designation of including Scottsbluff as been a driving force in route designation since this time. Also authorized a Feasibility Study on the Corridor. One of ISTEA's chief goals was to develop a "National Intermodal Transportation System that is economically efficient and environmentally sound, provides the foundation for the nation to compete in the global economy, and will move people and goods in an energy-efficient manner."
Heartland Expressway Economic and Engineering Feasibility Study
Identified the current route between Scottsbluff, NE and Rapid City, SD No route selected between Scottsbluff, NE and Denver Disagreement between Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska in how to connect to Denver. Alternatives included Highway 71, Highway 85 and interstate 25.
Interstate Highway System Completed
The original Interstate Highway system is proclaimed to be complete with the opening of I-70 through Glenwood Canyon in Colorado.
This section is considered an engineering marvel with a 12-mile (19 km) span featuring 40 bridges and numerous tunnels and is one of the most expensive rural highways per mile built in the United States. The initial cost estimate for the system was $25 billion over 12 years; it ended up costing $119 billion (adjusted for inflation, $425 billion in 2006 dollars) and took 35 years.
Founding of the Ports-to-Plains Trade Corridor Coalition
Through reaching out to civic leaders and elected officials from other communities, a base support group comprised of cities, counties, chambers and economic development organizations founded the Ports-to-Plains Trade Corridor Coalition. Founding members are: City of Abernathy, TX; City of Amarillo, TX; City of Canyon, TX; Hale Center Economic Development Corp, TX; Hale County, TX; City of Happy, TX; Lincoln County, CO; Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, TX; Lubbock County, TX; City of Lubbock, TX; Market Lubbock Inc, TX; City of New Deal, TX; City of Plainview, TX; Potter County, TX; Randall County, TX; Swisher County, TX; and City of Tulia, TX.
P2P Receives Federal Designation under Transportation Equity Act (TEA-21)
In 1998, the Ports-to-Plains Trade Corridor was granted its federal designation in the TEA-21 reauthorization bill as a high priority corridor from Laredo, Texas to Denver, Colorado via U.S. Interstate 27.
2001 Transportation Appropriations Bill
In the 2001 in a Transportation Appropriations bill by Congress, the route was approved through Texas.
Ports-to-Plains Feasibility Study
Evaluated multiple routes north of Amarillo including US 287 and US 87 thru New Mexico and Interstate 25 north to Denver
Ports-to-Plains Final Route Designation
The remainder of the route through New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Colorado was approved and signed by President George W. Bush in an independent bill using the US 287 route from Amarillo to Denver.
Corridor Development and Management Plan Funds Appropriated
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) received a congressional appropriation of $1.7 million for the completion of a Corridor Development and Management Plan to identify needed improvements and actions necessary to create a modern trade corridor to enhance freight movement and promote economic development. TxDOT later transferred those funds to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to manage the development of the plan.
Eastern Colorado Mobility Study
Recommended Interstate 76 from Denver to Brush and Highway 71 from Limon to Nebraska be identified as the Heartland Expressway Route.
Identified US 40 and US 385 from Kit Carson to Julesburg should be identified as Colorado Corridor Connector.
These decisions were said to be consistent with investments made in Nebraska, i.e. four lane of NE 71 from Kimball to Scottsbluff. The designation of Scottsbluff, NE as a requirement in the Heartland Expressway was the driving force for the recommendation.
Ports-to-Plains Corridor Development and Management Plan
Clarified a Benefit/Cost Ratio This Corridor Development and Management Plan was developed to enhance the efficiency of the Ports to Plains Corridor. It contains several elements that improve the transportation network's ability to move people and goods. Nearly 1,400 miles long, the corridor consists of 511 miles of 4- to 6-lane roadway, 755 miles of 2-lane roadway, and 113 miles of roadway in metropolitan areas. Read the Plan HERE as a .PDF (25 MB file takes a moment to load)
SAFETEA - LU
Theodore Roosevelt Expressway - extends from Rapid City to Canada via Williston, North Dakota and Culberston, Montana via Interstate 90, U.S. 85, U.S. 2, and Montana 16 into Saskatchewan.
Route for Heartland Expressway finalized between Denver and Scottsbluff, NE Interstate 76 from Denver to Brush and Highway 71 from Limon to Scottsbluff, NE and Highway 26 east from Scottsbluff, NE through Torrington, WY connecting to Interstate 25 (High Priority Corridor- Camino Real to Sweetgrass, MT into Alberta.)
TTC Rural Development Opportunities: Ports-to-Plains Case Study
The examination of TTC development opportunities in the Ports-to-Plains Corridor is the first test case by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to identify opportunities to implement TTC facilities in predominantly rural regions of the State.
Transportation Regional Economic Development (TRED): Theodore Roosevelt Expressway
Montana Department of Transportation launched the US 2 / MT 16 TRED Study in January 2006 to examine whether four-lane highway improvements to the Montana segment of the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway are justified by economic, safety, regulatory, and other considerations.
Ports-to-Plains Rest Stop Study
In December 2004, a Corridor Development and Management Plan (CDMP) for the Ports to Plains Corridor was completed in cooperation with the States of Colorado, Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. The CDMP was developed to enhance the efficiency of the Ports to Plains Corridor and identify deficiencies along this 1,390 mile Corridor that runs from Laredo, Texas to Denver Colorado with a connection to Raton, New Mexico. While the recommendations for the plan were far reaching and extensive, the need for improved truck parking and rest area deficiencies was given a limited analysis, resulting in generalized recommendations for improvements along the Corridor. The Ports to Plains Steering Committee initiated this study to provide an additional Public/Private rest area and truck parking needs assessment.
Economic Impact of Wild Horse Border Crossings Upgrades
This is a study of how the conversion of the Wild Horse port of entry from its present status into a 24-hour commercial port would impact the economy of north central Montana. A full-time port facility would facilitate a second transportation corridor through southeast Alberta toward Edmonton, bypassing the congestion and urbanized routes through Calgary. On the U.S. side of the border, the crossing would provide a viable second route to Mountain and Gulf region states. Though the investment in infrastructure and staffing of this expanded facility is ultimately justified by its beneficial effects for overall U.S.-Canada trade, the new activities that would flow from its operation represent a significant stimulus for the border region.
Great Plains International Trade Corridor Assessment Connecting America's Energy and Agricultural Heartland
The Texas Department of Transportation (DOT) Government and Public Affairs (GPA) Division commissioned Cambridge Systematics, Inc. (CS) to develop a comprehensive overview of the needs and benefits of developing the GPITC. The purpose of the project is to identify potential corridor development opportunities that would bolster economic development through investment in highway, rail, or energy infrastructure. To that end, the study assesses the corridor's infrastructure, current and future demand, historical and forecasted shifts in population, and the geography of emerging industries. This study is intended to help Texas and the other states on the corridor determine next steps for study and implementation.
Impact of Canadian Economic Development on Northern Montana Highways: Phase I
This research study provided an opportunity to examine long-term trade and traffic volume trends and forecasts. Montana, which borders three Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan), represents a vital surface link between the United States and a number of these growing markets, especially the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Growth in Canada's western province economies directly results in increased demand for goods movement, transportation services, and tourist travel and thus commercial traffic volumes at northern Montana ports (border crossings) and connecting roadways.
2010 Transportation Forum
2010 Energy Summit
Eastern Alberta Ports to Plains Corridor Development and Marketing Project
Deals with a proposed Eastern Alberta Corridor that can provide an alternative to the QE2, and that extends into USA at Wild Horse to tie into US Interstate Highway #25 and the Ports to Plains Corridor.
Development of a Trade Corridor in Southwest Saskatchewan
The purpose of this project is to develop a comprehensive assessment of the development of an enhanced interprovincial/international trade corridor in Southwest Saskatchewan. It is expected that an enhanced corridor would facilitate increased trade in the region, reduce travel time for exporting and importing industries, create additional demand for private sector transportation services, enhance tourism access, and enhance regional economic opportunities
2011 Energy Summit
14th Annual P2P Conference
Defining the Soft Infrastructure of Border Crossings: A Case Study at the US/Canada Border
The purpose of this study is to investigate the soft infrastructure of border crossings, defined here as the capabilities embedded in human resources, social structures, and business and regulatory environments of border crossings that facilitate international trade. The research relies on a grounded-theory analysis of primary data collected in an exploratory case study of two border crossings between Montana, U.S. and Alberta, Canada.
15th Annual P2P Conference
16th Annual P2P Conference
Impact of Canadian Economic Development on Northern Montana Highways: Phase II -- Ports of Wildhorse and Morgan Highway Corridors
The purpose of this study is to determine whether highway infrastructure in Montana is adequate to support future expected growth in traffic resulting from economic development in Canada, and a number of potential changes in border operations, industry structure and freight-related policy. The report specifically focuses on the Ports of Wild Horse and Morgan Highway Corridors.
Heartland Expressway Corridor Development and Management Plan for Nebraska
Please download this 260 page document to read it. READ in New Window
This Heartland Expressway Corridor Development and Management Plan (CDMP) is focused on the portion of the Heartland Expressway within the State of Nebraska. The CDMP has been prepared in compliance with Section 1118(d) of TEA-211 which is similar to the work previously completed for the Port to Plains corridor in 2005.
17th Annual P2P Conference
Benefits of Natural Gas Production and Exports for U.S. Small Businesses: Nationally and Key States
New Report Shows Energy Sector - Led By Small and Medium Size Firms - Added Significant Small Businesses and Jobs, While Overall U.S. Economy Witnessed Losses