January 2024  Volume 22  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.

Be Sure Newsletter Email is Allowed

As you may have noticed, the monthly Ports-to-Plains Newsletter is sent through our member database. Please be sure the email address pal@memberclicks-mail.net is allowed on your system.



The city of Chicago recently passed a law to phase out gas stoves under a clean and affordable building ordinance similar to New York and Los Angeles.  Last year the state of Colorado passed a series of bills to transition to a low-carbon economy.  For that state these laws will drive programs in health and human services, agriculture, energy, and transportation.  All over this nation and in all sectors of human activity, people are trying to solve the problem of environmental sustainability. Actually, this challenge is a world issue that can only be solved with everyone involved.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s definition of Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations. 

…So how do we go about creating an environment that is sustainable for this generation and the next?  Let’s look at the Irish agriculture example.  The government of Ireland has established an emission reduction goal of 25% by 2030 in the agricultural industry.  Ireland’s 135,000 farms produce 37.5% of national emissions with most of that coming from methane associated with belching by ruminant animals. To meet this goal over 100,000 head of cattle would have to be eliminated in the next five years.  This might support the future generation test, but it leaves the present generation in a tough place. 

In the transportation space, creating a sustainable environment will have to be a shared responsibility.  We do need to set reasonable carbon emission goals for the future.  I emphasize reasonable accounting for the significant population growth that we will experience in the next 25 years.  We need electric vehicles to continue to advance to a point that commercial traffic can be accommodated by an electric future.  We need battery technology to advance to a point where we reduce dependency on lithium.  We need to find the right mix of public transportation taking advantage of the emission efficiencies gained by that transportation mode.  I again emphasize the right mix here because some of our commercial and freight transportation will not fit the public transportation model.  We need to continue our research in the use of recyclable materials in our transportation programs.  This is not a new phenomenon.  For years we have utilized recycled materials in our transportation asphalt and concrete construction and that needs to be expanded.

I am telling you all this because you need to know that as we continue to advocate for an improved and enhanced transportation corridor through the midwestern United States, we have to be a part of the environmentally sustainable solution that our world expects going forward.  Everything that I mentioned above has to be considered.  All I ask of the policy makers and public agencies responsible for establishing environmental goals and targets is don’t forget that we have to pursue sustainability to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations. That is still EPA’s definition.

more to come …


Lauren D. Garduño


Ports-to-Plains Alliance 2024 Washington DC Fly-in

Although the hotel block is now closed, there are still rooms available at the Embassy Suites. Below is a listing of current participants. If you are planning to attend, but not on this listing, please contact Joe Kiely (joe.kiely@portstoplains.com 719-740-2240.

  • Adams, Lindsey, MBA - Intergovernmental Relations Officer, City of Midland
  • Blong, Lori - Mayor, City of Midland
  • Chatterley, Lori - Ports-to-Plains Board Member, Mayor Pro Tem | City of Raton, NM
  • Cottier, Deb - Ports-to-Plains Board Member | Chair, Heartland Expressway Association
  • Decker, Scott - Mayor, City of Dickinson, ND
  • Duffy, Mike - City of Lamar, CO, Account Manager | KLMR AM/FM
  • Flores, Rich - Heartland Expressway Board Member, Chair, Kimball County NE County Commission
  • Garduño, Lauren - President/CEO Ports-to-Plains Alliance
  • Huddleston, Cheri - Legislative Consultant, Hance Scarborough LLP, Austin, TX
  • Klewin, Cal - Executive Director, Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association
  • Osborne, John - Chairman, Ports-to-Plains Alliance, President & CEO, Lubbock Economic Development Alliance, Lubbock, TX
  • Parrish, Curtis - County Judge, Lubbock County
  • Payne, Tray - Ports-to-Plains Board Member, Mayor, City of Lubbock
  • Schmaltz, Larry    - Ward 3 Councilman, City of Belle Fourche, SD
  • Shull, Cathy - Ports-to-Plains Board Member, Executive Director, PRO 15

Schedule Overview

What happens during the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Washington DC Fly-in? Participants from across the nine-state region will meet with Congressional Offices across the nine-state region. Participants will first be scheduled into their own Congressional Offices and then join others in their Congressional Offices. We plan to have someone with experience in each Congressional Office meeting.

The schedule for this year's Fly-in is structured to optimize engagement and dialogue:

  • Sunday, March 3: Travel Day
  • Monday, March 4: Travel Day & Board Meeting at 6:30 pm
  • Tuesday, March 5: U.S. House Office Visits
  • Wednesday, March 6: U.S. Senate Office Visits
  • Thursday, March 7: Overflow U.S. House and Senate Visits, Meetings with Admin Departments
  • Friday, March 8: Travel Day

Attendees are encouraged to secure their accommodations promptly. The Fly-in has reserved a block of rooms at the esteemed Embassy Suites Georgetown, located at 1250 22nd Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037. The Block Rate expired on January 23rd, but rooms are still available at slightly higher rates.

To ensure seamless arrangements, participants are kindly requested to inform Joe Kiely of their attendance and manage their hotel and flight reservations accordingly. 

The 2024 Washington DC Fly-in promises to be an eventful and impactful gathering, fostering conversations crucial to the future of transportation infrastructure. Mark your calendars and prepare for a productive week of engagement in the nation's capital!
For further inquiries or assistance, please contact Joe Kiely (joe.kiely@portstoplains.com – 719-740-2240).


2024 Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference Set to Foster Connectivity and Economic Growth

The 2024 Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference, a significant gathering aimed at bolstering regional connectivity and economic collaboration, is scheduled to take place in Dickinson, ND, from September 10th to 12th, 2024. Hosted primarily at the distinguished Astoria Hotel & Event Center (363 15th St W, Dickinson, ND, 58601), this pivotal event will also feature engagements and tours in Medora, ND, amplifying the scope of discussions and opportunities for participants.

Anchoring the event, the Astoria Hotel & Event Center will provide a conducive setting for the Board Meeting and the vibrant Opening Reception on Tuesday, September 10th. The agenda extends into Wednesday, September 11th, encompassing a day of insightful sessions during the General Conference, culminating in an Evening Reception fostering networking and deeper connections among attendees.


The conference's pinnacle on Thursday, September 12th, begins with continued sessions at the Astoria Hotel & Event Center until 11:00 am, followed by immersive tours across Medora. Participants can anticipate a comprehensive experience, including visits to the town of Medora, the site earmarked for the forthcoming Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library (currently under construction), and the South Visitor Center of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.


Organizers are committed to ensuring a seamless experience for attendees, urging early flight reservations for those planning to fly into Dickinson. United Airlines, operated by SkyWest dba United Express, offers two daily arrivals—1:18 pm and 10:38 pm—each facilitated by a 50-seat Regional Jet. Return departures are scheduled at 6:48 am and 2:10 pm.


In the upcoming months, further details regarding Conference Registration and Hotel Reservations will be communicated. The anticipated cost for accommodation is approximately $124 per night, ensuring attendees can partake in this enriching event without financial strain.


The 2024 Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference stands as a pivotal juncture for stakeholders, policymakers, and industry leaders to converge, deliberate, and forge pathways toward bolstered regional connectivity, economic growth, and collaborative initiatives. Stay tuned for updates and mark your calendars for this not-to-be-missed event shaping the future landscape of regional development.


Lauren Garduño

President & CEO

Ports-to-Plains Alliance

Abilene, TX 79602
Cell: (325) 514-4114 

Joe Kiely

Vice President of Operations

Ports-to-Plains Alliance

PO Box 758

Limon, CO 80828

Cell: (719) 740-2240



Tina Scarborough

Business Manager

Ports-to-Plains Alliance

Lubbock, TX

(806) 777-4162



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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