May 2020

Volume Number 18


Issue Number 5

Pursuant to Texas HB 1079 and the Interstate Extension Feasibility Study, all three Segment Committees held virtual meetings last week with Texas Department of Transportation staff along with their study consultants. Additionally, each segment held a virtual public meeting last week. 

All the meetings were well attended by public citizens, Segment Committee Members, Texas Department of Transportation staff, and the Study Consulting Team. We are appreciative for the time, commitment, and dedication all have given to this initiative and look forward to what lies ahead as a result of this extensive study. The final round of Segment Committee Meetings are scheduled in June where each Committee will finalize their report to send to the Advisory Committee by June 30 for their review. 

Due to current restrictions across the country, the Annual Ports-to-Plains Alliance Fly-In will be virtual this year. Below you will find the planning strategy for this year's event, and we hope that you will want to participate. It is more important than ever that we continue our advocacy on policy issues, funding, and project development and let Congress know how important Ports-to-Plains is to our communities. 

We hope everyone is well and safe, and taking all necessary precautions as our country slowly begins the reopening process. Thank you for your continued support and commitment to the Ports-to-Plains Alliance.

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.



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 May and early 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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Officials Tour Long-X Bridge Project in North Dakota

Cal Klewin, Executive Director of the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway, and Tyler Davis, Project Manager of Ames Construction, hosted a tour of the Long X Bridge construction project on U.S. Highway 85 on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 for the North Dakota Governor’s Office, North Dakota DOT, Congressional Staff and North Dakota State elected officials.

Mason Sisk represented the Governor’s Office while Bill Panos, Director and Joel Wilt, District Engineer represented the North Dakota Department of Transportation. Panos said, “The completion of US 85 four-lane divided highway from Watford City to I-94 is a priority to NDDOT and will be completed as funding becomes available.”

Congressional staff included Kaitlyn Weidert, Northwest Regional Representative & Policy Advisor for U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer; Shari Buck, Western North Dakota Director for U.S. Senator John Hoeven; and Darrell Nitsche, Western Regional Director for U.S. Representative Kelley Armstrong.

Brad Bekkedahl, ND State Senator District 1 and member of the Board of Directors of the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association and Secretary for the Ports-to-Plains Alliance; Dale Patton, ND State Senator District 39; Denton Zubke, ND State Representative District 39; and Pat Hatlestad, ND State Representative District 1, represented the North Dakota State Legislature.

Gene Veeder, Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association President and McKenzie County Commissioner also attended. 

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Upcoming Events


Jun 9 -  HB 1079 Segment Committee Meeting No. 5 for Segment Committee 3, WebEx/Conference Call
Jun 10 - HB 1079 Segment Committee Meeting No. 5 for Segment Committee 2, WebEx/Conference Call
Jun 11 - HB 1079 Segment Committee Meeting No. 5 for Segment Committee 1, WebEx/Conference Call
Jul 15 - HB 1079 Advisory Committee Meeting No. 3, Lubbock, TX
Aug 20 - HB 1079 Advisory Board Meeting No. 4, 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