January 2020

Volume Number 18


Issue Number 1


February 2020 will be a busy month for the Ports-to-Plains Alliance. Three second round HB 1079 Segment Committee meetings are scheduled in Laredo, San Angelo and Amarillo along with two public meetings in Laredo and San Angelo. The second HB 1079 Advisory Committee meeting is scheduled in San Angelo.

Once again, your participation and attendance at the segment and advisory committee meetings is critical to the success of the HB 1079 process provided by the Texas State Legislature. Details on all the HB 1079 meeting dates and locations are available below in the text of the newsletter.

Click HERE for the TxDOT website that provides information on the Ports-to-Plains Feasibility Study (House Bill 1079) meetings, agendas, summaries and presentations as the information is made public.

Federal policy and funding remains a priority as it relates to communities along the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Corridor.  Upcoming opportunities to comment on USDOT programs associated with rural and freight are important in the long term.  The Ports-to-Plains Alliance Corridor continues to serve as North America’s energy and agriculture heartland and the corridor makes the connection between these resources, as well and manufacturing and distribution to domestic and international markets. We must maintain this strong voice.

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.


Upcoming HB 1079 Segment Committee Meetings

The second round of Segment Committee meetings are scheduled in early February.  These meeting will focus on:

  • Forecasted Conditions
    • Population Forecasts
    • Land Use Forecasts
    • Economic Forecasts
    • Traffic Forecasts
    • Freight Forecasts
  • Planned and Programmed Projects
  • Identification of Gaps and Needs where there are currently no planned or programmed projects
  • Preliminary Corridor Feasibility Analysis
  • Review and Discussion of Report Chapters 1 and 2

Please share this with your contacts and plan to attend the appropriate Segment Committee for your location.  Participation is important.


Segment Committee 3 Meeting

  • February 3, 2020
  • Laredo College - Harold R. Yeary Library & Executive Conference Center
  • 1 West End Washington Street
  • Laredo, TX
  • Time: 8:30 am to 12:30 pm (CST)

Segment Committee 2 Meeting

  • February 5, 2020
  • Tom Green County Stephens Central Library
  • 33 West Beauregard Avenue
  • San Angelo, TX
  • Time: 8:00 am to noon (CST)

Segment Committee 1 Meeting

  • February 6, 2020
  • Amarillo Civic Center
  • 401 S. Buchanan Street
  • Amarillo, TX
  • Time: 8:00 am to noon (CST)

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Upcoming HB 1079 Advisory Committee Meeting

The second Advisory Committee Meeting will be held in San Angelo, TX on February 19, 2020 at a location and a time to be determined. Ports-to-Plains will provide updated information as it becomes available. 

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Upcoming HB 1079 Public Meetings

These meetings will offer the public information about the study and the opportunity to provide feedback.
February will see two Public Meetings:
SEGMENT 3: Sutton/Edwards County line to I-35/Juarez-Lincoln Bridge in Laredo

  • Monday, February 3, 2020
  • Laredo College Harold R. Yeary Library & Executive Conference Center
  • 1 West End Washington Street
  • Laredo, Texas 78040
  • Time: 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm
  • Link to Flyer in English and Spanish

SEGMENT 2: Hale/Lubbock County line to Sutton/Edwards County line

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Progress on Replacement Long X Bridge Construction

Ames Construction provided the following Project Update for the Long X Bridge on the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway (U.S. Highway 85 in North Dakota.)  This update is through January 13, 2020.

  • Phase 1 dirt work has been completed, Phase 2 dirt work is approximately halfway completed and will resume in March 2020 come the spring thaw.
  • Drilled Shafts have been poured; Abutment 1 will be formed and poured over the drilled shafts in the spring.
  • Road Widening and Shoofly where the Wildlife Crossing is to be constructed have been paved; construction of the Wildlife Crossing will also begin in March 2020.
  • All structural H-Pile for the Long X Bridge have been driven/installed; H-Pile for support of the Wildlife crossing will begin in March 2020.
  • Long X Bridge span 5 girders have been set; span 4 girders have been stockpiled on site, spans 1-4 will be set in the spring of 2020.
  • Work for winter is slowing down and wrapping up for the season. Work will recommence approximately March 1, 2020, depending on temperatures and snowfall.
  • The complete bridge deck will be poured after girders for spans 1-4 have been set in the spring of 2020.

The Long X Bridge will be completed and open to traffic winter 2020.

Existing bridge will be demolished prior to June 2021.

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Comments on R.O.U.T.E.S due January 27th

The U.S. Department of Transportation is requesting information related to the Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (ROUTES) initiative. This initiative seeks to improve USDOT’s work and coordination across modes on rural infrastructure, and help rural infrastructure project sponsors better understand what grants are available to them. Below is a list of questions in which USDOT is seeking feedback.

If you are interested in submitting comments you can do so until January 27, 2020, Click Here 

Background on the initiative is available: Click Here

  • Identifying Unmet Needs in Rural Transportation
    • What infrastructure issues are contributing to high fatality rates on rural roadways and rail-highway grade crossings (e.g., roadway condition or geometry, driver behavior, wildlife collisions)?
    • What unique challenges do rural areas face related to infrastructure condition (e.g., age of infrastructure or equipment, including vehicles, bridge closures or postings, types of freight carried, weather resiliency)?
    • How does infrastructure usage (e.g., access to public transportation, technology deployment) affect the lives of rural Americans?
    • What types of infrastructure projects are most needed in rural communities to meet national transportation priorities such as safety and economic competitiveness?
    • What types of rural transportation projects or services do rural communities find challenging to fund?
    • What additional or alternative methods can be used to identify and prioritize rural transportation projects for funding through discretionary grants?
  • Addressing Unmet Needs Through DOT Discretionary Grant Programs
    • What resources or direct assistance could DOT provide to support rural transportation projects or reach communities that may not be aware of DOT discretionary programs?
    • What challenges do rural communities face when applying for DOT grants and financial assistance (e.g., project prioritization, eligibility requirements, funding match)?
    • What types of technical assistance would be effective for navigating the application process?

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Request for Information on National Strategic Freight Plan

The U.S. Department of Transportation issued on December 27, 2019 a “request for information” for a National Freight Strategic Plan (NFSP). 

Link to Federal Register Notice

Summary: The safe and efficient movement of freight is vital to the Nation’s economic growth and to the creation of well-paying jobs for millions of Americans. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act required DOT to develop a National Freight Strategic Plan (NFSP) that includes eleven statutorily required components to address multimodal freight transportation. The Department of Transportation (DOT) seeks information from the public, including stakeholders (e.g., State and local agencies, private owners and operators, industry trade groups, shippers and beneficial cargo owners, etc.) to aid development of the NFSP.

The FAST Act indicated among other priorities for the NFSP the following that have significant interest to the Ports-to-Plains Corridor:

  • strategies to improve freight intermodal connectivity;
  • an identification of corridors providing access to energy exploration, development, installation, or production areas;
  • an identification of corridors providing access to major areas for manufacturing, agriculture, or natural resources;

See the Notice for additional priorities and questions posed.

Comments must be received on or before February 10, 2020. DOT will consider comments filed after this date to the extent practicable.

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Upcoming Events


February 3 - HB 1079 Segment Committee Meeting No. 3 for Segment Committee 3, Laredo, TX
February 5 - HB 1079 Segment Committee Meeting No. 2 for Segment Committee 2, San Angelo, TX
February 6 - HB 1079 Segment Committee Meeting No. 1 for Segment Committee 2, Amarillo, TX
February 9-11 - Texas Transportation Forum, San Antonio, TX
February 18 - Open House - I-27 from Western Street to the US 60/US 87 Interchange in Randall County, Texas, Amarillo, TX
February 19 - HB 1079 Ports-to-Plains Advisory Committee Meeting No. 2, San Angelo, TX

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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