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

August 2022  Volume 20  Issue 8


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.


2022 Conference is Sold Out


On August 22, the 2022 Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference sold out.  The ballroom at the Hotel Settles holds a maximum of 150 people. We sold out both the ballroom and hotel itself. There will be no on-site registrations. 


We will maintain a waiting list of interested parties if someone cancels we will contact the first person on the list.  First-Come First-Serve. If you wish to be added to the waiting list email Joe Kiely, Vice President of Operations at joe.kiely@portstoplains.com. 


We are excited by the interest in the conference.  Truly, THE FUTURE IS NOW.

If you have questions or would like to sponsor, contact Duffy Hinkle at duffy.hinkle@portstoplains.com or 806-790-7196 or Joe Kiely at joe.kiely@portstoplains.com or 719-740-2240.


The Ports-to-Plains Alliance Announces New President Lauren Garduno


(LUBBOCK) – The Ports-to-Plains Alliance is pleased to announce the addition of Lauren Garduno as President and Chief Executive Officer effective September 1, 2022. As a supporter of The Alliance’s mission since its inception, Garduno is looking forward to getting involved with the communities and partners along the entire nine-state corridor. 

“I am excited and humbled to be joining an organization with a rich history of promoting transportation enhancements up and down the midwestern United States,” said Garduno. “In addition to feeding and clothing the world, the trade with Canada and Mexico is vital for the economic well being of our region of the Country.  We need an advanced transportation corridor to provide the artery and link to all the east-west routes that cross the United States.”

Lauren retired from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) in 2018 after serving over 32 years, including 15 years as district engineer in Odessa and Abilene and the past five years in TxDOT administration in Austin.  As the department’s Chief Procurement Officer, Lauren led the restructuring of five TxDOT divisions including Fleet and Professional Engineering Procurement. Lauren’s final assignment as Director of Planning and Project Development included introducing performance based planning in the development of the department’s 10 year $75 billion Unified Transportation Program.

Lauren is currently completing a part time assignment for TxDOT administration assisting West Texas districts with strategic and operational strategies in the Permian Basin as TxDOT continues to deliver the nation’s largest transportation program.

Over his career, Lauren has received peer recognition with awards such as Young Engineer of the Year and Engineer of the Year through the Texas Society of Professional Engineers. In 2001, he was inducted into the Texas Tech Civil Engineering Academy.   

Lauren holds a master's degree in management and human relations from Abilene Christian University, a master’s degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University, and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Texas Tech University.

“Lauren is a highly respected professional in the industry, and we are thrilled to welcome him to our team,” said John Osborne, Chairman of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance. “His experience and shared vision for the future of the nine-state corridor make him a great addition to the Alliance.”


CDOT begins passing lane installation on CO 71 between Limon and Brush on Monday (Heartland Expressway)


Work will primarily consist of adding a passing lane in three locations along the roadway
Lincoln and Washington Counties — The Colorado Department of Transportation will begin passing lane construction work on Monday, Aug. 8. Work will take place along Colorado Highway 71, between Limon and Brush.


This project consists of constructing passing lanes in three sections along CO 71 from MP 111 to MP 152. Work will include asphalt paving, erosion control, seeding, installation of new signage, and new striping. IHC Scott, of Englewood, is the contractor for this project.


“This is the first of several safety projects planned along this corridor in our 10-year plan of projects,” said Region Transportation Director Heather Paddock. “This is an important area and we want to keep freight and other vehicles safe.”


This section of roadway will be part of the Heartland Expressway Corridor, a priority route for the Ports to Plains Alliance. This route connects the Gulf of Mexico with the Canadian border. Improvement of this roadway will allow for a more efficient flow of traffic. Additionally, truckers will be encouraged to use this roadway instead of Interstate 25. This will result in less traffic along Interstate 25. The project will improve and prolong the life of the road surface.


Work will primarily consist of adding a passing lane in three locations along the roadway. At site one, a northbound passing lane will be added. At site two, both northbound and southbound passing lanes will be added. At site three, a southbound passing lane will be added. Passing lanes significantly improve the flow of traffic, as well as the safety of the roadway.

Travel Impacts


Daytime work hours range from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Vehicles may be reduced to single-lane, alternating traffic intermittently in either direction, throughout the duration of the project. These lane closures, guided by flaggers and pilot cars, may have up to 15-minute delays. The speed limit will be reduced to 40 mph through the work zone. There will be 12-foot width restrictions in place. The project is expected to last until December 2022.


Project Contact Information


For additional information about this project, contact the project team.
Project/study/other website: https://www.codot.gov/projects/co71-passing-lanes-limon-brush 
Project hotline: 970.339.0225
Project email: highway71passinglanes@gmail.com 


I-27 will increase prosperity for West Texas, Arrington says

Photo from Big Spring Herald 


While U.S. Congressman Jodey Arrington (R-Lubbock) speaks in the lobby of Big Spring’s Settles Hotel Monday, Ports to Plains Chairman John Osborne of Lubbock (left) and Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, Big Spring Mayor Robert Moore, and Big Spring Economic Development Corporation Vice President Jeff Ward stand with the Congressman.


Four-laning of Highway 85 from Watford City to Long X Bridge to start next spring


The process on four-laning Highway 85 from Watford City to the Long X Bridge continues, with construction expected to begin next year.

Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Executive Director Cal Klewin provided the update to the Williston City Council on August 9, saying that the bidding process should start this fall. He added that they are in the beginning stages of designing for the next portion of the road from the Long X Bridge to Highway 200 near Grassy Butte. With the environmental study completed up to Belfield, Klewin says expanding the entire road is important for several reasons.


“As Williston Mayor Howard Klug said, that’s an important route for the city of Williston to get onto I-94, along with freight issues and the tourism travel that comes out of these areas,” said Klewin.


Besides applying for federal grants, Klewin says he hopes to receive additional funding from the state during next year’s legislative session.




Port Laredo, Texas


As stated last month, Del Rio, Eagle Pass, and Laredo Border Crossings are important to International Trade using the Future I-27 Corridor. On a year-to-date basis, trade at Port Laredo was valued at $145.1 billion, an increase of 20.21 percent through June. Exports totaled $56.3 billion, up 15.17 percent while imports were valued at $88.81 billion, up 23.64 percent.


This data is available at: https://ustradenumbers.com/port/port-laredo/ 


For Del Rio’s trade the June Ports-to-Plains Newsletter and for Eagle Pass see the July Ports-to-Plains Newsletter.  

Port Laredo ranked No. 3 by value among all of the nation’s 450-plus airports, seaports and border crossings. Ranking it just against other border crossings, it ranked No. 1 by value and No. 11 by tonnage.

Port Laredo’s trade with top trade partner Mexico has increased 19.68 percent YTD.


Port Laredo’s top five trade partners accounted for 98.97 percent of its total trade through June. By way of comparison, the United States' top five trade partners accounted for 51.01 percent.

Taking a closer look at its leading trade partners:


  • Trade with No. 1 Mexico rose 19.68 percent to $141.4 billion. Exports rose 15.22 percent to $56.27 billion. Imports rose 22.83 percent to $85.13 billion.
  • Trade with No. 2 China rose 31.23 percent to $813.61 million. Exports rose 16.2 percent to $1.47 million. Imports rose 31.26 percent to $812.14 million.
  • Trade with No. 3 Japan rose 167.27 percent to $692.86 million. Exports fell 51.1 percent to $279,029. Imports rose 167.75 percent to $692.59 million.
  • Trade with No. 4 France rose 37.73 percent to $384.77 million. Exports fell 16.18 percent to $38,930. Imports rose 37.74 percent to $384.73 million.
  • Trade with No. 5 Nicaragua rose 21.29 percent to $307.05 million. Exports fell 44.1 percent to $6.79 million. Imports rose 24.58 percent to $300.25 million.

Port Laredo’s top five exports accounted for 22.74 percent of all its exports through June. By way of comparison, the United States’ top five exports accounted for 23.4 percent.

Here’s a closer look at the top five, by value:


  • Motor vehicle parts rose 27.92 percent compared to last year to $6.45 billion.
  • Diesel engines fell 5.58 percent compared to last year to $2.12 billion.
  • Gasoline, other fuels fell 19.12 percent compared to last year to $2.08 billion.
  • Plastics rose 45.9 percent compared to last year to $1.25 billion.
  • Corn rose 25.96 percent compared to last year to $906.96 million.

Port Laredo’s top five imports accounted for 32.18 percent of all its imports through June. By way of comparison, the United States’ top five imports accounted for 21 percent.

Here’s a closer look at the top five, by value:

  • Motor vehicle parts rose 15.82 percent compared to last year to $10.83 billion.
  • Passenger vehicles rose 37.91 percent compared to last year to $7.04 billion.
  • Tractors rose 29.38 percent compared to last year to $4.48 billion.
  • Computers rose 23.43 percent compared to last year to $3.39 billion.
  • Commercial vehicles fell 6.74 percent compared to last year to $2.84 billion.

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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