November, 2018

Volume Number 16


Issue Number 13

While change has been in the air, the air is filled with significant opportunity and clear priorities.  The Board of Directors has set priorities for staff and the state and federal lobbying teams that look to obtain a designation as a future interstate while continuing efforts to expand the existing corridors to four-lane divided.

While the transportation funding propositions in Colorado met a disappointing failure,  at the Ports-to-Plains Annual Conference, TxDOT shared $1.6 billion in expansion projects included in its State Transportation Improvement Program and its Unified Transportation Program. Nebraska and the Heartland Expressway celebrated a ribbon cutting on a four-lane highway expansion south of Alliance on U.S. 385.

For a look back at the 3rd Quarter of 2018, please download the Quarterly Report to Membership, October 2018.

Please take the time to read and share the articles below and let us know if you have questions.

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.


Alliance Board of Directors Sets Priorities

At its regularly quarterly meeting, the Alliance Board of Directors, following input from our lobbying team of Jack Schenendorf, Covington & Burling LLP and Cheri Huddleston, Hance Scarborough LLP, identified the priorities for the organization. 

The Designation of Interstate 27 as a Future Interstate by Congress is its initial priority to present to the 116th Congress that begins meeting in January 2019.  Designation as a Future Interstate is a process that could be done administratively or congressionally.  After reviewing the alternative processes, it was determined that the Alliance would pursue the congressional process.  Over the course of these next several months the specific ask will be developed.  The ask must recognize that need to have a logical termini, for example connection to another interstate or a large population area.  It was noted that a state line is not a logical termini.  Current options include: 

  • The Entire Alliance Corridor between Canada and Mexico including the High Priority Corridors on the National Highway System of Theodore Roosevelt Expressway, Heartland Expressway and Ports-to-Plains.
  • The Ports-to-Plains High Priority Corridor between Laredo and Denver
  • The Corridor between Laredo and Lubbock
  • The Corridor between Interstate 10 at Sonora and Lubbock

Additionally, the Board continues its priority to support improving the existing corridor to four-lane divided.  As indicated in the article below regarding TxDOT priorities, this remains a key focus across the Alliance Corridors.

Finally, the Board also prioritized its support for relief routes and other key projects as supported by our member organizations.

United We Build

John Osborne, Chairman of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance, spoke in Acuña, Coahuila during the 2018 Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference.  This message focused on the importance of a united alliance across North America.  Below are a series of quotes from the presentation that highlight his message and then a link to the entire message.

Over the years, mayors, and community representatives have changed. I compare it to one of your favorite sports team and how it requires a full team of players on the field. Each player has their own role and responsibility. They must all work together, united, to win the game. But over the course of time, players change, and new players come on board, however the end goal is still the win the game.

Ports-to-Plains has evolved over the past 20 years, just as each of your cities in Coahuila have evolved. I give a lot of credit to the previous boards, our past executive director and all the efforts of our members to develop the Ports-to-Plains Corridor.

Just as we sometimes need to change players on our sports team, Ports-to-Plains has experienced change in the past year. However the goal is still the same. We want the future of our communities to be thriving and good for our citizens.  One way to accomplish this is with businesses and jobs.  Businesses need trade to take place. The way trade takes place is with investments in our infrastructure. These small investments now last a lifetime.  They change the landscape of the playing field.


There is a company based in San Antonio called HEB. HEB also imports products from China and Asia.  They did a study in which they shipped product through Long Beach and a product shipped through Mazatlán. They found that shipping the product through Mazatlán got their product to Texas two weeks faster than shipping through Long Beach. This results in savings to the company by getting product to market much faster. On the tour that I was on, when Long Beach shut down for two weeks, the company had to look for an alternative shipping port and they chose Mazatlán. The problem was that they went back to Long Beach and did not stay with Mazatlán. That does two things: it means that it is tougher for the rest of Mexico to develop if you do not have product moving in and out of Mazatlán. It also means that it does not help with the congestion at Long Beach.


The dream of the Ports-to-Plains Corridor is to have a new trade route to move product into markets.  One of the key components of all of this is you. All of you can indicate that you want investment in Mazatlán. That investment then brings about investment here in Acuña. The natural trade route to bring goods into the United States is right here. We know there are challenges in Laredo and Nuevo Laredo in terms of capacity.  The development of the border crossing here in Acuña/Del Rio is hugely important.


Mayor, I know the reason that you do the investments in our community are for your community. But what those investments in your community, mean for the rest of the world and more specifically for North America, are actually much bigger. These things are no small task to complete. Sometimes it is a little piece here and a little piece there, however, those investments make things better and make it easier for the bigger investment to take place. I hope that investments in the Acuña Ports of Entry, making it easier to cross the border, are just a small step in the investment you plan.

I respectfully request that you continue to advocate for additional investment from Mazatlán all the way to Acuña. Not only will it help bring business and industry to Acuña, but it will help Ports-to-Plains show why additional investment needs to be made in our highway infrastructure going north.


Complete Message

Successful Annual Conference

The Ports-to-Plains Alliance would like to thank the co-hosts of Del Rio, TX and Acuña, Coahuila, the sponsors, speakers and participants in the successful 21st Annual Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference held October 31st - November 1st.

If you missed the conference, please follow the following links to learn about the messages, the energy and support for the conference.

Link to Presentations

Link to Photos

Link to Sponsors


TxDOT Commissioner New Outlines $1.6 billion of Ports-to-Plains Projects in Current STIP and UTP

The Texas Transportation Commission and TxDOT use the Unified Transportation Program (UTP) as TxDOT’s 10-year plan to guide transportation project development. The Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) is TxDOT’s four-year capital improvement program.
  • Completed, under construction or programmed for letting in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP):
    • Over $800 million and more than 370 miles of new and improved roadway, including:
      • Over 155 miles of 4-lane improvements
      • Over 180 miles of Super 2 improvements
  • Planned:
    • More than $800 million and over 230 miles of new and improved roadway, including:
      • Over 41 miles of 4-lane improvements
      • Over 153 miles of Super 2 improvements

Complete Listing of Upcoming Texas Projects

 Nebraska Opens a New Four-Lane Segment of the Heartland Expressway

Formal dedication ceremonies were held Thursday, October 18th for the latest section of the Heartland Expressway, the 14.5 miles of Highway 385 south out of Alliance widened from 2-lanes to 4. 

 Colorado Transportation Funding Proposition is Defeated

 Proposition 110, which Ports-to-Plains Alliance supported was defeated YES 40.3% NO 59.7%

  • Proposition 109, which Ports-to-Plains opposed YES 39.16% NO 60.84%
  • Both transportation questions failed. Proposition 110 called for a 0.62% increase in the state sales tax rate funding $6 billion in bonding for highway projects, a share to cities and counties, and a share for multi-modal projects (transit & pedestrian). Proposition 109 called for using existing General Fund dollar to bond $3.5 billion of highway projects.
  • Polling continued to indicate strong support for improving transportation by voter rejected using existing funding in completion with other budget priorities and a new revenue source in sales tax.

Texas Statewide Truck Parking Study & Statewide Infrastructure Design Considerations


Upcoming Events



November 29 - Texas Statewide Truck Parking Study & Statewide Infrastructure Design Considerations Workshop, Laredo, TX


January 9 - Texas Statewide Truck Parking Study & Statewide Infrastructure Design Considerations Workshop, Lubbock, TX

January 10 - Texas Statewide Truck Parking Study & Statewide Infrastructure Design Considerations Workshop, Amarillo, TX

February 7 - Texas Statewide Truck Parking Study & Statewide Infrastructure Design Considerations Workshop, Midland, TX

October 15-17 -- 22nd Annual Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference, Williston, ND

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