Federal Update | State Infrastructure Investment Impact | Article from FreightWaves on I-27

April 2022  Volume 20  Issue 4


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.


Federal Update


On March 10, the Senate passed an omnibus FY22 funding bill that included in the section funding the US Department of Transportation language designating Texas and New Mexico portions of the Ports-to-Plains Corridor as a future interstate.  This was possible due to the strong leadership of Rep. Cuellar (D-Laredo), Rep. Arrington (R-Lubbock) with the support of Sen. Heinrich (D-NM) and Sen. Lujan (D-NM), as well as Senators Cornyn and Cruz from Texas.  The funding package was signed into law by the President on March 14.  This was the culmination of years of work by the Ports-to-Plains team and the Texas and New Mexico congressional delegations and is an enormous step towards our ultimate goal of a funded and constructed interstate.


Since then, the Ports-to-Plains governmental relations team has begun internal discussions and those with local and state elected and transportation department officials about potential congressionally directed spending requests for FY2023.  The Ports-to-Plains strategy for FY23 is to seek planning money for the Texas portion of the future interstate and specific project funding for projects in the state plan that will make improvements along the corridor necessary for it to eventually meet interstate standards.  Additionally, Ports-to-Plains may seek FY23 funding for specific projects in other states along the corridor, including Colorado.  


Because community project requests (formerly known as “earmarks” are still somewhat controversial, as of today it is uncertain which member of the Texas delegation in the House will submit these requests for Ports-to-Plains, and both Texas Senators have unfortunately already announced they will not be submitting or supporting community funding projects for Texas.  This puts us as a state at a significant disadvantage in seeking federal funding and will be an obstacle we will have to overcome as we work to secure federal planning and project funding for the new future interstate.  Additionally, we will begin outreach to the other states in the corridor to develop support for their inclusion as part of the future interstate, although that will in all likelihood be something for the 118th Congress beginning next year.  

David Pore, Hance Scarborough


I-27 Advisory Committee Meets in Laredo

The I-27 Advisory Committee was created by Texas Senate Bill 1474.  The Committee, as required by the Senate Bill, includes ten County Representatives, seven City Representatives, three Economic Development Representatives, one Agriculture representative, one Energy Representative, and one International Trade Representative.  The Committee will meet at least two times a year, however the Committee was requesting additional meetings early in the process.  S.B. 1474 states that the Committee was established to 1) Provide the department (TxDOT) with information on concerns and interests along the Ports-to Plains Corridor; and 2) Advise the department (TxDOT) on transportation improvements impacting the Ports-to-Plains Corridor.

On Tuesday, April 19, 2022 many of the Committee members participated in the World Trade Bridge Port-of-Entry Tour. Laredo is the busiest land port in North America handling nearly $250 billion in trade annually. An average of 8,000 trucks a day cross the border in Laredo.

Photo provided by Beverly Haggard

During the meeting on Wednesday, April 20, 2022, the I-27 Advisory Committee worked to finalize its Goals and Objectives and reviewed Fact Sheets on the overall importance of the Corridor to Agriculture, Energy, and International Trade, as well as one About the I-27 Advisory Committee.

Photo provided by Teclo Garcia, Economic Development Director, City of Laredo

The Fact Sheet on Agriculture, titled, Agriculture is a Key Economic Engine for the Ports-to-Plains Corridor Future Interstate and Texas, highlighted the benefits that the Interstate Highway offers agriculture. Moving Agriculture Products Efficiently: The transport of many agricultural products are time sensitive for the health and safety of livestock and crops. Increasing Access to Agriculture Markets: The interstate upgrade is essential to increase access to markets for agricultural products. Connecting Ports to Agriculture Production: A north-south interstate connection is needed to connect Texas’ agriculture production to the three border crossings at Laredo, Eagle Pass and Del Rio.


The Energy Factsheet, titled, Energy is a Key Economic Engine for the Ports-to-Plains Corridor Future Interstate and Texas highlighted the benefits that the Interstate Highway offers energy. Moving Critical Energy Products: The Corridor plays a critical role in the energy industry’s ability to move products to market and stay competitive. Accessing Energy Markets: The interstate upgrade is essential to increase access to markets for energy product. Improving Safety: The interstate upgrade would provide a safer and more reliable route for trucks carrying energy products to market when traveling through cities and small towns.


International Trade is a Key Economic Engine for the Ports-to-Plains Corridor Future Interstate and Texas was the International Trade Factsheet. Opening Strategic Trade Gateways: The strategic trade gateways at Laredo, Del Rio, and Eagle Pass connect Mexico with Texas and the US. Accessing International Trade: An interstate upgrade will provide improved access to the trade gateways. Competing Internationally: The interstate upgrade is vital to the continued viability of the international trade gateways.

The Ports-to-Plains Alliance would like to thank International Bank of Commerce (IBC), Laredo Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, TxDOT and Garver (the consulting team) for making this second meeting a success. As was said about the Southern Border: “This is where the magic begins!”


The Theodore Roosevelt Expressway 4 lane project is going SOUTH!!!!


Watford City to the Long-X Bridge Right of Way acquisition has started and should be complete sometime in the summer of 2022. Once the acquired necessary right-of-way is acquired, the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) will move forward with relocating utilities that are in the way. Many times, utilities are located on the back side of right-of-way, which is why NDDOT is waiting on the movement of utilities. NDDOT anticipates utilities should be done by fall of 2022. NDDOT is planning to bid the project in the fall of 2022 or early spring of 2023. We should see some dirt moving on this stretch in 2023.
Long-X Bridge to Hwy 200 NDDOT will need to bring on a consultant to work on designing this next stretch and are planning to have a request for proposal to do this work the first week in December of 2021. This piece of the 4-Lane project has been particularly challenging. It is great to see progress soon. (NDDOT) is applying for a Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant application for the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Freight Expansion Project.  Many Letters of support for this grant have been submitted from TREA membership, North Dakota State legislators, Governor Burgum, and the North Dakota Congressional Delegation.

The Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association (TREA) has been working closely with NDDOT to assist in funding these projects along with the State Legislature’s and Federal Delegations. The recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the largest long-term investment for our infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century. The need for action in North Dakota is clear, and recently released state-level data demonstrates that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will deliver for North Dakota.
Other projects planned along the corridor for the summer of 2022 in North Dakota is a Safety corridor project from Belfield to Jct. ND 200 on the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway (TRE) with some enhanced striping and signing. A turn lane coming off U.S 85 (TRE) at the gas plant south of Belfield and turn lanes, lighting, and chip seal through Belfield.


In terms of Oversize/Overweight Permitted Loads, below is the Updated Final Comparison for 2021.

Additionally, TREA is pulling data from the segments of U.S. 85.


TxDOT provides US 87/287 Update

Courtesy of The Moore County News


The next phase of the project to fully rehabilitate US 87/US 287 from south of the Dumas city limits to about a half mile north of County Road 1 began on Wednesday, April 13. This portion of the project will run from 1st Street (SH 152) to McClary Road.


To facilitate this phase of the project, traffic will be shifted onto the newly-constructed concrete pavement. There will be one lane of traffic in each direction while the southbound lanes of US 287 are reconstructed.


The project includes concrete paving, storm sewer, curb and gutter, traffic signals, signing, and striping. Sidewalks will also be included on both sides for pedestrains and the existing on-street parking in town will remain. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will continue to work with area businesses and other customers to ensure access is maintained. This $36.8 million project was awarded to SEMA Construction and construction is expected to last through May 2024.


Drivers are reminded that safety is a constant priority for TxDOT. Last year, 244 people were killed and another 856 seriously injured in work zone traffic crashes in Texas. Three of the deaths were road workers. The leading causes of work zone crashes are speeding, drive inattention and unsafe lane changes.


To help reverse the unacceptable increase in work zone traffic deaths, TxDOT is asking all drivers to embrace its "Be Safe, Drive Smart" campaign: 

  1. Slow down. Follow the posted speed limit and drive to conditions. Remember, traffic fines double in work zones when workers are present.
  2. Pay attention. Avoid distractions and put your phone away.
  3. Watch out for road crews. The only protective gear they wear is reflective clothing, a hardhat and safety boots. Remember, they want to get home safe too.
  4. Don't tailgate. Give yourself room to stop in a hurry if you have to. Rear-end collisions are the most common type of crash in work zones.
  5. Allow extra time. Road construction can slow everything down. Count on it, and plan for it.

"Be Safe. Drive Smart." is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel such as wearing a seat belt, driving the speed limit, never texting and driving, and never driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Nov. 7, 2000 was the last deathless day on Texas roadways. #EndTheStreakTX asks all Texans to commit to driving safely to help end the streak of daily deaths. 


Save These Dates


2022 Ports-to-Plains Alliance Annual Conference

The Ports-to-Plains Alliance will be holding an in-person Annual Conference in Big Spring, TX at Hotel Settles on September 14-16, 2022.  Mark your calendar now.  Look forward to meeting live once again!  The theme of the conference will be “The Future Is NOW”.  As we move closer, watch for additional information on agenda, lodging, and registration.  

Duffy Hinkle

Vice President of Membership & Marketing

Ports-to-Plains Alliance

PO Box 16226

Lubbock, TX 79490



Joe Kiely

Vice President of Operations

Ports-to-Plains Alliance

PO Box 758

Limon, CO 80828



Cal Klewin

Executive Director

Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association

PO Box 1306

Williston, ND 58802



Deb Cottier


Heartland Expressway Association

337 Main Street

Chadron, NE 69337




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