January 2023 Volume 21 Issue 1
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.
One of the questions I frequently get since I took the President assignment back in September is what is the Ports to Plains Alliance and what is your job with it? As I start to answer the question about being a transportation advocacy group, I can still see the blank stares back at me and I realize we need a better description of the P2P Alliance or I need to do a better job of explaining it. On our web page it describes our Alliance as a a non-profit, bipartisan, grassroots alliance of more than 200 partner communities and businesses across nine states. We advocate for a robust international transportation infrastructure to promote economic security and prosperity throughout North America’s energy and agricultural heartland including Mexico to Canada. So, what does it mean to advocate? To answer that question, I would like to go back in time when paved highways were just a vision and not the reality in this country.
In the late 1800’s a movement was born out of the need for the US Post Office to provide for the rural free delivery of mail. Farmers saw it as an opportunity to upgrade officially unusable roads. But the real movers and shakers behind this movement were the bicycle organizations who had experienced rapid growth in usage towards the end of that century. This movement known as the Good Roads quickly turned into a national political campaign with a goal to secure federal and state spending on improving rural roads. By the 1910’s, automobile associations joined the ranks coordinated by a National Good Roads Association. In the early years the main goal of the organization was the education for the road building in rural areas between cities.
The Good Roads movement gained in national prominence when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Aid Road Act on July 11, 1916 which paved the way for the creation of state departments of transportation all over the nation. From that point on state good roads associations sprang up and continued to advocate for better roads by pressing state and federal officials for increased funding including increases to fuel taxes over the years. From good roads movements came special interest groups promoting specific corridors across the nation. This was how the Ports-to-Plains Alliance found its charter nearly twenty-nine years ago. There had already been interest groups advocating for an Alaska to Florida highway with some of that route running through the middle of the country on the same routes that our P2P route follows. But after the North America Free Trade Agreement was signed in 1993, the significance for the P2P corridor was fully established.
So, when people ask me what do I do with P2P, I would tell them that I am a supporter, a promoter, a salesman, a cheerleader, a historian, a lobbyist, and oh yes, an advocate for an enhanced four lane highway running north and south through the middle or heartland of the United States.…
Lauren Garduño, President/CEO
H.R. 2617 to Allocate Funding to Ports-to-Plains Highway Texas Corridor
The FY2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2617) passed the U.S. Senate on Thursday, December 22, 2022 and the U.S. House on Friday, December 23, 2022, with President Biden signing the legislation on Thursday, December 29, 2022. Included in the bill were four Community Projects benefitting the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Corridor in Texas.
“After securing a federal highway designation for I-27 last year, I’m excited we were able to get funding to make the Ports-to-Plains Corridor a reality,” said Congressman Jodey Arrington (R-TX 19th District). “This is an important investment in West Texas’ transportation infrastructure, which will strengthen our food and fuel supply from the nation’s largest energy and agricultural production centers. All of Texas will stand to benefit from new job growth and trade expansion, allowing us to fully realize the substantial economic benefits of USMCA.”
Following the designation in H.R. 2617 of the Ports-to-Plains Corridor as an Interstate along the Corridor in Texas Congressional District 19, the first Community Project will initiate planning as recommended by the Ports-to-Plains Corridor Interstate Feasibility Study Final Report published in October 2020 by Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Arrington requested $1.6 million, which will be matched by TxDOT with $400,000, bringing $2.0 million toward initiating Project Feasibility, Preliminary Design, and Environmental for interstate upgrades along the Ports-to-Plains Texas Corridor.
The next two Community Projects address State Loop 88 located in Lubbock, Texas, which will be a major reliever route to the Ports-to-Plains Corridor. The final project included in the FY2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill will benefit the connection between the Ports-to-Plains Corridor and the Camino Real International Bridge at Eagle Pass. The bill contains $5 million requested by Congressman Tony Gonzales (TX-23). The City of Eagle Pass will provide the match of $1.25 million bringing the project total to $6.25 million.
“I am thrilled by the funding approved which will help develop the corridor quicker,” said John Osborne, chairman of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance. “The interstate designation and expansion along the Corridor in the Texas Congressional District 19 is catalytic for the future of the rural communities in South and West Texas. Not only will these communities along the Corridor feel the positive impacts as we increase the efficiency of transporting imports and exports, alleviate congestion throughout the state and improve safety for travelers, but citizens across Texas will benefit from these improvements as well.”
Vice President of Membership & Marketing
PO Box 16226
Lubbock, TX 79490
Vice President of Operations
PO Box 758
Limon, CO 80828
Cell: (719) 740-2240
Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association
PO Box 1306
Williston, ND 58802
Heartland Expressway Association
337 Main Street
Chadron, NE 69337