June 12, 2018

Volume Number 16


Issue Number 10


We are a voice for our small town, grassroots members who may otherwise not have access to the right audiences, as well as a conduit for industry to come together in support and promotion of transportation improvements.

We are committed to working as an Alliance to improve transportation infrastructure and business networks opportunities, by advocating for appropriate funding levels, so business and industry can thrive.

We are focused on the economic and business interests that are the lifeblood of the region.


Advocacy and Success

At both the state and national levels, the Ports-to-Plains Alliance continues its advocacy efforts to improve the corridor through the nine-state corridor.  An article below identified a recent success when the Heartland Expressway received an $18.3 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant from USDOT to expand the corridor between Angora Hill and the Box Butte county line from a current two lane to a four-lane divided highway.

In the past few months you have seen information on specific activities such as the Washington DC Fly-in, the Colorado Highway 71 (Heartland Expressway) Truck Freight Diversion Study and the U.S. Highway 85 (Theodore Roosevelt Expressway) Draft Environmental Impact Statement.  The Extension of the Interstate 27/Ports-to-Plains Corridor is an effort that can have significant impacts in Texas and throughout the nine-state corridor.  At the core of the advocacy effort is the opportunity for the extended Interstate 27 to provide an alternative corridor to the currently congested Interstate 35 corridor including San Antonio, Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and points between those cities.

The Texas Freight Mobility Study, further identified the I-27 Extension – from Lubbock to Laredo as one of only two Strategic Freight Projects.  The Plan stated “Strategic recommendations are significant investments that will shape the state’s future freight transportation demands as well as address current unmet needs” and “Some strategic projects rise to a higher level due to the potential impact they have on statewide freight movements and economic competitiveness.”

TxDOT’s preliminary cost to upgrade I-27 approximately 500 miles from Lubbock to Laredo is projected to cost $5.2 billion. This is far more cost effective than the expansion of Interstate 35 where the 33-mile addition of lanes to I-35 from Round Rock to Buda will cost $8 billion.

The proposed extension of Interstate 27 connects major West Texas population and economic centers including Amarillo, Lubbock, Midland-Odessa and San Angelo in addition to numerous smaller communities. It will cross I-40, I-20 and I-10 and serve three border crossings with Mexico at Del Rio, Eagle Pass and Laredo. The three border crossings serve 48.6% of the total U.S. truck exports to Mexico and have grown in value by 113.9% since 2006. The Interstate will also be a major backbone for the energy industry in Texas serving top oil and gas producing counties as well as the growing wind energy industry.

Nebraska receives $18.3 million grant for Heartland Expressway

Ports-to-Plains Alliance and the Heartland Expressway have both been involved in advocacy for this successful application from the Nebraska Department of Transportation.  Both Ports-to-Plains and Heartland submitted letters of support for the application.  The September 27, 2017 letter from Ports-to-Plains to the Honorable Elaine Chao, United States Secretary of Transportation stated: "The Heartland Expressway is a transformative, as well as nationally and regionally significant project, providing a vital link not only for sectors of the regional economy, but also for the movement of goods to and from the nation’s Energy and Agricultural Heartland."

In the Alliance's meeting with USDOT staff in April during the Washington DC Fly-in, this project was an example of a project that, while not having the ability to attract private financing, was a critical rural project.  The Alliance is pleased that the Administration chose this project for funding and thanks the Nebraska Congressional Delegation for supporting this project.  Senator Deb Fischer specifically mentioned the Heartland Expressway in several meetings that included Secretary Chao. Finally, the Alliance thanks the Nebraska Department of Transportation for submitting it.

Currently, the first ten miles south of Alliance of the four-lane expansion project between Alliance and L-62A is nearing completion and this grant funding will be dedicated to the next segment to L-62A.  That leg of the project is expected to be completed by 2020. Following the completion of that leg, the next step will be construction on the stretch between Minatare and Angora Hill, which is projected to begin in 2024.

from Scottsbluff Star Herald

Nebraska has been selected as the recipient for an $18.3 million federal grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America.

This grant will be applied directly to the Heartland Expressway, specifically the corridor between Angora Hill and the Box Butte county line.

“I worked with Nebraskans — our state, local and community leaders — and U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to bring this funding to our state,” said Sen. Deb Fischer in a press release announcing the grant. “This major investment, and several others announced today, will allow the Nebraska Department of Transportation to build and promote economic development that will grow Nebraska.”

The Heartland Expressway, a 500-mile stretch of highway connecting Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and South Dakota, was originally brainstormed in the 1980s. Construction began in the 90s, and nearly 30 years later, the Panhandle is receiving work on its section of the Expressway,

“This announcement follows a historic commitment from the State of Nebraska to build the 21st-century infrastructure system we need to grow our state,” said Gov. Pete Ricketts in a press release Tuesday. “Along with Sen. Fischer’s Build Nebraska Act and our Transportation Innovation Act, this grant will help us fulfill Gov. Orr’s vision for expanding our state’s expressway system. I am pleased that the Trump Administration recognized the innovative approach by the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) to modernize our infrastructure to improve safety and drive economic growth in rural Nebraska.”

“It (funding) helps to provide that certainty and demonstrate that it’s an idea that’s taken hold,” said Doug Hoevet, District 5 engineer with Nebraska Department of Transportation.

Read on…

America Seizes Control of Its Energy Destiny

The Ports-to-Plains Corridor connects this energy development across the region including the Permian Basin, Bakken, Eagle Ford and Niobrara.

from U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Many Americans have likely noticed a spike in gas prices just as we enter the summer driving season, which is fairly typical due to the changeover from winter to summer crude oil. While higher prices are always a headache and a burden for families, the situation has yet to become as dire as many of the price spikes from decades past—and it likely never will. The days of the world’s biggest oil producers having the U.S. over a barrel, literally, are unlikely to return, thanks in large part to a renaissance in U.S. energy production that has been bolstered by the Trump administration’s emphasis on pro-growth energy policies.

Ten years ago, in June 2008, you and I were paying just over $4 per gallon for gasoline. Today, even with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, attempting to tamp down much of the global supply to push prices higher, American consumers are weathering the storm with gasoline hovering around $3 a gallon. This is far better than many European countries, where gas prices are well over $6 and rising.

We owe much of this to a dramatic energy renaissance in America that has given us greater control over our own supply. In a short period of time, our country has gone from a major energy importer to a major energy exporter of oil and natural gas. In fact, today the U.S. is the world’s top producer of these critical resources.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is proud of the role our Global Energy Institute has played in this remarkable turnaround. The Institute has fought misguided regulations, run effective policy campaigns, and mobilized our members at every level. It led efforts to lift the oil export ban, unleash production in previously restricted areas, and speed up the permitting process. And it has worked on behalf of the entire industry, uniting the sector behind a common strategy and moving all forms of energy forward.

Read on… 

Mark Your Calendar for the Ports-to-Plains Annual Conference

Mark your calendars! The 21st Ports-to-Plains Alliance Annual Conference has been scheduled for October 30 - November 1, 2018 in Del Rio, Texas and Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico

Stay tuned! More details coming soon!

Upcoming Events



June 21 - Presentation at PRO 15 Transportation Summit, Holyoke, CO 

July 18 - Presentation at Town of Genoa Board of Directors, Genoa, CO

July 27 - Ports-to-Plains Alliance Quarterly Board of Directors Meeting, Lubbock, TX

October 30 - Ports-to-Plains Alliance Quarterly Board of Directors Meeting, Del Rio, Texas

October 30- November 1 - 21st Ports-to-Plains Annual Conference, Del Rio, Texas

Ports-to-Plains Alliance Staff

Duffy Hinkle

Vice President of Membership & Marketing
1500 Broadway, Suite 600
Lubbock, TX 79401
P: 806-368-6235

Joe Kiely
Vice President of Operations
PO Box 758
Limon, CO 80828
P: 719-740-2240

Cal Klewin
Executive Director
Theodore Roosevelt Expressway
PO Box 1306
22 E Broadway
Williston, ND 58802
P: 701-523-6171

Deb Cottier
Board of Directors
Heartland Expressway Association
706 West Third St.
Chadron, NE 69337
P: 308-432-4023