February, 2019

Volume Number 17


Issue Number 2

Advocacy:  Local Support is Critical

Tis the season of advocacy!  The Ports-to-Plains Alliance has numerous upcoming advocacy events.  Ports-to-Plains Alliance Staff will be in Washington DC holding congressional office and other visits from February 26-28th.  Ports-to-Plains Alliance is hosting the Interstate 27 Expansion Legislative Day in Austin, TX on March 7th.  The Annual Ports-to-Plains Alliance Washington DC Fly-in is scheduled April 2-4th.

The Board of Directors and staff can represent the Alliance, but the real power of advocacy comes from local communities and organizations joining in these advocacy efforts.  While the Interstate 27 Expansion Legislative Day in Austin, TX and the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Washington DC Fly-in are soon, it is not too late for your participation in one or both of these events.

Another way your local community can advocate for the Ports-to-Plains Alliance priorities is when your local communities hold legislative days in your state capitol or Washington DC.  You can share those priorities with your elected officials as part of your larger community priorities.

The January Newsletter provided an overview of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance priorities and a complete background on the Interstate 27 Extension.  Click Here for January Newsletter.

Please contact Joe Kiely, Vice President of Operations or Duffy Hinkle, Vice President of Membership and Marketing with 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.


Interstate 27 Legislative Day, March 7, 2019

It is not too late to participate in this first of its kind Legislative Day in Texas.  The goal of the Legislative Day is to educate and advocate for the extension of Interstate 27 between Lubbock and Laredo.  Cheri Huddleston of Hance Scarborough will be making appointments to meet with your state senator and representative if you sign up soon.  Register Here.

(This schedule will continue to be refined and subject to change based on the legislative schedule)

9:00-10:00 am - Group Briefing
11:00 am – 12:30 pm - Senate Convenes
                                     House Convenes
                                     Recognition of the group in the gallery to create awareness of the I-27 Extension
                                     Photo Ops with Elected Officials
                                     Begin Legislator Visits to State Senate and House Offices
12:30-1:30 pm - Lunch on Your Own
1:30 -3:30 pm - Continue Legislator Visits to State Senate and House Offices

Please contact DUFFY HINKLE for more information at duffy.hinkle@portstoplains.com or (806) 368-6235.

Washington DC Fly-in, April 2-4, 2019

This is a significant year for federal advocacy.  Not only is this the Congress that is scheduled to address Transportation Reauthorization, but the President's Infrastructure Program is also still awaiting action. Significantly the Alliance will be asking Congress to support Designation as a Future Interstate for the extension of Interstate 27 between Lubbock and Laredo.  Join the Board of Directors and staff in bringing our priorities for reauthorization and the Infrastructure Program and our ask to support the Designation as a Future Interstate.  The majority of House and Senate meetings will be held on Wednesday, April 3rd and Thursday, April 4th.  Contact Duffy Hinkle if you are interested.

Michael Reeves Receives Texas Road Hand Award

At the Texas Transportation Forum on January 7, 2019 in Austin, TX, former Ports-to-Plains Alliance President Michael Reeves was named a Road Hand Award recipient by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The award is presented to individuals who have provided support and leadership for the improvement of the state’s transportation system. Congratulations to Mr. Reeves on receiving this prestigious award. 

Heartland Expressway

HEA elected a new executive team for the first time in several years. Deb Cottier will serve as the organization’s new Chairwoman, Chelsie Herian as the new Vice-Chairwoman, and Megan Koppenhafer as the Secretary and Treasurer. 

The U.S. 385 -Four Lane Expansion, Alliance South Phase I Project is complete. The project expanded an existing two-lane segment of the Heartland Expressway for 12-miles at a cost of $35.7 million.

Heartland Expressway Association participated in a Lincoln, NE legislative trip in partnership with leadership groups in Chadron and Scottsbluff.  This allowed this group of local leaders an opportunity to learn about the importance of a four-lane expressway and allowing board members to meet with Nebraska DOT Director Kyle Schneweis.

Theodore Roosevelt Expressway

Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association is advocating in support of North Dakota SB 2268, Corridors of Commerce Program. This bill passed the North Dakota Senate by a vote of 47-0. It now moves to the House. The program, if approved, creates a special fund for constructing, reconstructing, improving, and maintaining highways that improve freight transportation and facilitate commerce.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation is applying for the 2019 INFRA Grant Opportunity for the northern part of the Highway 85 (TRE) Freight Expansion Project. This project is converting the two-lane route into a four-lane mostly divided highway from south of Watford City to the Long X Bridge.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement FEIS for the entire project from Watford City North Dakota to I-94 at Belfield North Dakota is nearing completion. All issues related to the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) have been resolved and the documents are at FHWA for legal sufficiency review (up to 30 days for review) and approval.

San Angelo Business & Industrial Park

Federal grant to aid job creation at industrial park 

The City of San Angelo Business and Industrial Park has received a $1.2 million federal grant to extend water lines and roads, doubling the amount of land that can be developed commercially.

The project is initially expected to create 30 jobs and spur $19 million in private investment, primarily in manufacturing. It will further provide the potential for substantially more jobs and capital investment.

The grant was awarded to the City of San Angelo Development Corp., which administers the half-cent sales tax for economic development, by the Economic Development Administration. An arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the EDA invests in economically distressed communities to create jobs, promote innovation and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

The project stemmed from regional planning efforts led by the Concho Valley Economic Development District. EDA funds that organization, which unites the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

“As the president has often remarked, American communities urgently need to upgrade their local infrastructure,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said. “This crucial infrastructure project will allow existing manufacturing and other businesses the opportunity to expand while helping attract new businesses to San Angelo.”

Read on...


Texas Transportation Plan (TTP) 2050


The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will host a series of open-house style public meetings to solicit input to guide the development of the TTP 2050 – the state’s multi-modal, long-range transportation plan. At the open house, the public can review displays, talk with staff and provide input. Public comments will be accepted throughout the development of the Texas Transportation Plan until Sept. 6, 2019.


The TTP 2050 will serve as TxDOT’s "blueprint” to guide collaborative planning efforts with our stakeholders to address the state’s transportation needs, and to accomplish the goals in TxDOT’s Strategic Plan. The TTP 2050 will include strategies for the development, construction, and implementation of projects and services for all transportation modes including roadways, aviation, public transportation, bicycle and pedestrian, waterways and coastal waters, freight, and passenger rail.

Open House Schedule

Tuesday, February 26, 2019 -- 5:30-7 p.m.

Abilene TxDOT District Office
Abilene - 1 Room
4250 N. Clack St.
Abilene, TX 79601

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 -- 5:30-7 p.m.

Lubbock TxDOT District Office
Conference Room
135 E. Slaton Highway
Lubbock, TX 79404

Thursday, February 28, 2019 -- 5:30-7 p.m.

Amarillo TxDOT District Office
North Human Resources Room, Building H
5715 Canyon Drive
Amarillo, TX 79110

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 -- 5:30-7 p.m.

Permian Basin Metropolitan Planning Organization
Board Room
9601 Wright Drive, Suite 1
Midland, TX 79706

Thursday, March 7, 2019 -- 5:30-7 p.m.

San Angelo TxDOT District Office
Building E Training Room
4502 Knickerbocker Road
San Angelo, TX 76904

Upcoming Events



February 26-28 - Staff DC Fly-in, Washington DC

February 26Texas Transportation Plan (TTP) 2050 Open House, Abilene, TX

February 27 - Texas Transportation Plan (TTP) 2050 Open House, Lubbock, TX

February 28 - Texas Transportation Plan (TTP) 2050 Open House, Amarillo, TX

March 6 - Texas Transportation Plan (TTP) 2050 Open House, Midland, TX

March 7 - Interstate 27 Extension Legislative Day, hosted by Ports-to-Plains Alliance, Austin, TX

March 7 - Texas Transportation Plan (TTP) 2050 Open House, San Angelo, TX

April 2-4 - Washington DC Fly-in, Washington, DC

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
Heartland Expressway Association
337 Main Street
Chadron, NE 69337
P: 308-432-4023