June 2020

Volume Number 18


Issue Number 6

As a result of the Interstate Feasibility Study conducted by the Texas Department of Transportation, U.S. Representatives Jodey Arrington (TX), Henry Cuellar (TX), Mac Thornberry (TX), and Ben Lujan (NM) recently filed HR 7151 to designate the future extension of Interstate-27. Included in this newsletter is the press release and leadership quotations following the filing of this bill. Ports-to-Plains Alliance is extremely appreciative of these Congressmen for moving this important initiative forward. We are also appreciative of the hard work of so many of our members and elected officials who continue to advocate for the future interstate extension.  

As this newsletter is being published, efforts are underway to include the language of H.R. 7151 into the U.S. House of Representatives' Transportation Reauthorization Bill.

Once again we need to thank Texas Senator Charles Perry and Texas Representative Four Price for their work in getting the Ports-to-Plains Feasibility Study moving forward.  Senator Perry's interview on the Ports-to-Plains project and what it will ultimately mean for Lubbock and Texas is available by video in this Newsletter. See their quotes on the passage of H.R. 7151 later in this newsletter.

While there is currently an intense advocacy focus on the interstate extension right now, work continues throughout the nine-state Corridor on important projects and we look forward to celebrating the accomplishments and victories as these projects are funded and developed. 

Plans continue for the upcoming Virtual D.C. Fly-In, however, it will  be rescheduled to late June. If you haven't completed and submitted the form included in this newsletter, please do so as soon as possible.  

Thank you again for the support, dedication, and commitment shown by so many of our members, elected officials, businesses and organizations. By all of us working together, we can accomplish the goals that will make our highways safer and our communities economically stronger. 

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.


US Representatives Arrington and Cuellar File HR 7151 to Designate Future Extension of I-27 adding $55.6B to the Texas GDP

As a result of the Interstate Feasibility Study conducted by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), U.S. Representatives Jodey Arrington and Henry Cuellar filed HR 7151 to designate the future extension of Interstate-27.

“I’m very proud to be working across the aisle with my good friend and colleague, Rep. Henry Cuellar, on this important legislation,” said U.S. Representative Jodey Arrington (TX-19). “With a stronger farm bill, a new and improved trade deal with Canada and Mexico, and one of the largest energy basins' in the world - establishing a four-lane, federal highway from West Texas through the Heartland is critical to enhancing America's agriculture and energy dominance. However you want to measure it - new jobs, economic growth, reductions in traffic and accidents - the return on investment for the Ports-to-Plains highway project is tremendous, not only for Texas, but for the entire country."

The findings of the study concluded the extension could increase Texas’ gross domestic product (GDP) by $55.6 billion, add 17,710 new jobs, decrease crash rate by 21% and save $450 million in safety improvements. Using the GDP increase, the estimated return on investment for the extension is 76%.

Within the Ports-to-Plains Corridor, the travel cost savings are estimated by;TxDOT to be $3.4 billion annually. Travel cost savings include vehicle operation, personal time and reliability,shipper logistics, and business time and reliability. Additionally, the interstate upgrade reduces average end-to-end travel times across the corridor, saving 89 minutes. These savings provide businesses along the corridor improved access to the international markets and a wider range of customers within one day by truck distance.

“As the representative for the country’s busiest port of entry, I understand the importance of federal investments in transportation infrastructure, which support cross-border trade,” said U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar (TX-28). “The I-27 corridor extension will benefit South Texas businesses and strengthen the U.S. economy by establishing new trade routes for agriculture and energy industries. I am committed to investing in our country’s infrastructure to better facilitate international trade and reap the full economic benefits of the USMCA. I want to thank Representatives Arrington, Lujan, Granger, and Thornberry for their support on this initiative.”


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Talking Points Show Features Ports-to-Plains

KAMC in Lubbock featured the Ports-to-Plains Corridor on Sunday, June 21, 2020.  The video included comments from Congressman Jodey Arrington and Texas Representative Four Price in the Overview and then moves to an interview with Texas Senator Charles Perry who discussed the Ports-to-Plains project and what it ultimately means for Lubbock and Texas.  Just click on the image below to view the video.

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 Leadership Quotations Regarding HR 7151

Members of Congress

“I’m very proud to be working across the aisle with my good friend and colleague, Rep. Henry Cuellar, on this important legislation,” said U.S. Representative Jodey Arrington (TX-19). “With a stronger farm bill, a new and improved trade deal with Canada and Mexico, and one of the largest energy basins' in the world - establishing a four-lane, federal highway from West Texas through the Heartland is critical to enhancing
America's agriculture and energy dominance. However you want to measure it - new jobs, economic growth, reductions in traffic and accidents - the return on investment for the Ports-to-Plains highway project is tremendous, not only for Texas, but for the entire country." -- Jodey C. Arrington, U.S. Representative (District 14)

“Texas is a primary hub of transportation for the country, and the continued development of the Ports to Plains Corridor will provide more critical infrastructure in our community. By extending I-27, we will boost our economy, improve supply chains, and bring more Americans safely across the state. This important infrastructure will play a great role in supporting district 13, and our nation." -Mac Thornberry U.S. Representative (District 13)

“As the representative for the country’s busiest port of entry, I understand the importance of federal investments in transportation infrastructure, which support cross-border trade,” said U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar (TX-28). “The I-27 corridor extension will benefit South Texas businesses and strengthen the U.S. economy by establishing new trade routes for agriculture and energy industries. I am committed to investing in our country’s infrastructure to better facilitate international trade and reap the full economic benefits of the USMCA. I want to thank Representatives Arrington, Lujan, Granger, and Thornberry for their support on this initiative.” -- Henry Cuellar, U.S. Representative (District 28

Local Stakeholders & Officials

"I want to thank Congressman Jodey Arrington for being a great federal partner to help further the expansion of the I-27 corridor. The legislation he is filling to federally designate the corridor is the next step in the process to expand markets for the Texas energy and agriculture industries. When built, the corridor will bring thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity to our state. The United States-Mexico-
Canada Trade Agreement makes this corridor an even more necessary part of an overall trade policy plan for generations to come." -- Charles Perry, Texas State Senator (District 28)

“Texas’ agricultural and energy commodities producing food, fiber and fuel products are vital to our country’s economy and national security. That is why I applaud Congressman Arrington on his introducing federal legislation to expand I-27 from Laredo through the Panhandle to Canada. Currently, stakeholders throughout these regions of Texas are meeting and voicing support for making the Ports-to-Plains Corridor a reality,” -- Four Price, Texas State Representative (District 87)

“Building our infrastructure to provide stable supply routes for American’s needs and products is very important. Amarillo has invested in the expansion of 1-27 for over 20 years. The need is more important than ever.” -- Ginger Nelson, Mayor, City of Amarillo

“The designation of the Port-to-Plains Corridor as a Future Addition to the Interstate System is a big deal! It’s a big deal for all those impacted by such a monumental decision at the national, state and local levels. The designation would open new routes to free up travel from areas of urban congestion and provide safer routes into the more rural communities expanding potential economic development. The designation would open new doors of opportunity. It would provide options. It would allow for a more fluid flow of commerce. At the state and local level, the designation could contribute to another motel, another restaurant, another truck stop, another retail store… all of which impact GRT’s, Lodger’s Tax, jobs, morale, safety, and community expansion. It’s exciting! Big thanks to all those who are making this happen. It would be a game changer for Clayton, Union County and the entire state of New Mexico.” -- Coby Beckner, Mayor Pro-tem, Clayton, NM

“Del Rio and Eagle Pass, Texas are the only two southern border crossings that are not connected to an interstate. The interstate designation is important as interstate systems facilitate economic growth. This legislation will provide more efficient international trade between the U.S. and Mexico.” -- Bruno Lozano, Mayor, City of Del Rio, TX

“Laredo is the largest inland port, and the second largest port in the country overall. International trade is what keeps everyday goods like food, clothing, appliances, cars and technology affordable for American families. The Ports-to-Plains Corridor will open up new trade routes along with new business opportunities for many communities. This will be a blessing for Texas and our trading partners. I especially want to thank Reps.Jodey Arrington (TX), Henry Cuellar (TX), Ben Lujan (NM) and Mac Thornberry (TX) for their help to push this bill forward.” -- Pete Saenz, Mayor, City of Laredo

“Interstate 27 is a critical part of the future of West and South Texas. I-27 will connect Mexico and Laredo, North America’s busiest inland part, with the oil and gas, agriculture and food production centers in the Permian Basin, South Plains and Panhandle of Texas. I-27 will connect Texas with the Midwest and Western US allowing for better movement of goods and resources while also leveraging USMCA. Texas is poised to nearly double in population by 2050, I-27 will provide a critically needed second north-south interstate to help fund a Texas economy that is the 10th largest economy in the world.” -- Dan Pope, Mayor, City of Lubbock

“The west Texas economy is a driving force behind the Texas economy. It is also a major driver of our nation’s economy and impacts international economies as well.The west Texas economy, driven by the food, fuel and fiber that it produces must have the ability to get to market products efficiently and economically as possible.Transportation options are key. Connectivity to Mexico and Canada is important due to the Laredo port bringing one of the nation’s largest ports. We cannot maximize the existing and potential new economic opportunities without strong transportation options.Transportation is economic development and is key to our national security.” -- Brenda Gunter, Mayor, City of San Angelo

"The designation of the Ports-to-Plains Corridor as a future interstate will bring not only safety to Sonora and Sutton County, but will enable the new development of much needed commerce to all of West Texas. I also believe that the eventual interstate will provide a form of security for our Nation's businesses.” -- Steve Smith, County Judge, Sutton County

“Given Webb County’s strategic location it is extremely important to Webb County to see Segment 3 fully developed so that there is safety, redundancy in the highway system and the ever-expanding transportation needs of international trade, the oil and gas industry and agriculture are met.” -- Tano Tijerina, County Judge, Webb County

“This is good for West Texas, but it’s just as good for the entire state.” -- Kent Hance, Former U.S. Congressman and Chancellor Emeritus of Texas Tech University System

“The findings from TxDOT’s feasibility study further solidify the need for this extension,” said John Osborne, chairman for the Ports-to-Plains Alliance. “The enormous benefits for Texas’ economy and the safety of our travelers leave no question as to whether or not the extension is needed.” -- John Osborne, Chairman, Ports-to-Plains Alliance, President/CEO, Lubbock Economic Development Alliance

“This legislation is the first step in long-range planning to benefit the economy of rural eastern Colorado and provide an alternative to the congestion on I-25.” -- Cathy Shull, Member of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance, Board of Directors & Executive Director, Pro 15, Colorado

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Our View: I-27 Extension Must Be Priority for West Texas and Its People

The extension of Interstate 27 has been a collective West Texas priority for years. Making the route a primary north-south corridor across the country would generate new commercial possibilities and better connect the fuel, fiber and food producers of this region with the rest of the country.

An expanded I-27 would also relieve congestion on Interstate 35 to the east and Interstate 25 to the west while providing another lucrative artery of trade activity from Mexico to Canada. The project has for two decades now been at or near the top of the wish list of leaders across West Texas who understand the potential that would be unlocked were this vision to bloom into reality.

Toward that end, we were pleased to see a bipartisan bill introduced earlier this week by Congressmen Jodey Arrington, R-Lubbock and Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, that would designate the I-27 corridor a federal highway.

Link to complete article in Amarillo Globe News

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Reps. Arrington, Cuellar Introduce Bill Designating Ports-to-Plains a Federal Highway

Congressman Jodey Arrington, R-Lubbock, and Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, are introducing a bi-partisan bill designating the remainder of the Interstate 27 corridor a federal highway.

Arrington said this is the next step in the sought after Ports-to-Plains interstate system, which would extend I-27 south to Laredo and the border with Mexico, and north through the Panhandle and eventually the Canadian border.

“This is the next step in order to vie for the resources in the appropriations process to actually get funded,” Arrington said Monday. “We’re on the outside looking in; we’re not a designated highway. There are many designated federal projects, and they’re the ones in the inner circle competing for funds. We have to get into that inner circle in order to complete. So this is a critical step. It’s been 20 years in the making.”

Link to complete article in Lubbock Avalanche Journal

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Your Participation is Requested! 

Amid the temporary restructuring of meetings and communications, we are planning to hold virtual meetings with Congress this year in lieu of the Annual Ports-to-Plains Alliance DC Fly-in to continue our advocacy for our nine-state region and share the Alliance Policy Priorities as well as the importance of future Interstate Designation in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Colorado. These virtual meetings will be scheduled for late June and your participation is needed. We hope you will agree to participate and also consider participating in meetings outside your state and district. A link to a form is provided below for you to complete and return if you are willing to participate.

Just as with the annual Fly-in, one of our strengths is the multi-state Alliance. It is important that each office visit has representatives from as many states as possible. A policy paper along with additional talking points will be provided to all participants prior to the meetings. The process is provided below to implement the Virtual Congressional Office Visit Plan.

Establishing a Pool of Interested Participants

  • Scheduling Online Meetings with Each Office across the Nine-State Region
    • Once the pool is established, the office visits will be scheduled and added to a master calendar on a daily basis.  We will try to provide 30 minute meeting periods unless the office asked for a longer meeting period
    • Ports-to-Plains has a Zoom account but some congressional offices may be more comfortable using their preferred platform
    • We will try to schedule with both the federal elected official and transportation staffer.
    • Each scheduled meeting will be assigned a lead person to guide the meeting. 
  • Inviting Pool Members for a Specific Day and Time
    • Once a meeting is scheduled, the members of the pool will be invited to participate first in meetings in their State or House District and then a few additional from other states.
    • A calendar invitation will be sent to the appropriate pool members and they will be able to select Accepted, Tentative or Declined
  • Holding the Online Meeting on Day and Time Scheduled
    • Staff will send a reminder 24-hours before the scheduled meeting to those who have selected Accepted or Tentative
    • Each Participant will login at the scheduled time and participate

Thanks for your consideration of participating in this important advocacy event! 

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Upcoming Events


Jul 15 - HB 1079 Advisory Committee Meeting No. 3, Lubbock, TX
Aug 20 - HB 1079 Advisory Board Meeting No. 4, San Angelo, TX
2020 Ports-to-Plains Annual Conference - CANCELLED

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