May 2023  Volume 21  Issue 5


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.



Last month I told you I was looking for April showers and they finally came in May.  You also may have heard that April showers bring May flowers.  It is amazing how far a little rain will go to green up the countryside.  Texas has had a long history of beautifying its highways by planting wildflowers that generate miles of picture-perfect backdrops for wildflower enthusiasts from all around.  One of the favorites over the years has been the Texas Bluebonnets that in full bloom make quite an impressive show all over the backroads of Texas. What is amazing about those bluebonnets is the fact that to witness their bloom in May and June, the seed has to be broadcasted sometime in the fall, ideally around the first or second week of October.  The seed is then allowed to remain dormant until the conditions are right in the spring for germination and growth.


I compare this flower example to the way our highway projects will get built today and into the future.  While everyone loves the picture taking ribbon cutting moment when that project is completed, that moment cannot happen unless somewhere back in the beginning, the planning process was started.  You may have heard the term “shovel ready” when there are federal programs that call for discretionary funding. That is just another way of telling us that to even qualify for this funding the project must have completed the planning process.  In highway terms that is completing public involvement, developing schematic drawings of the route, and completing the environmental review process.   

I am sharing this with you because the next time someone asks you about what the big deal is about asking for planning funding on a particular part of our corridor, you need to tell them that it is a big deal! Some planning processes take as long as three years while others may be completed sooner.  For example, operational and safety improvements will happen sooner with less planning lead time.  Corridor upgrades to interstate or four lane divided standards will take longer as well as relief routes and alignment studies that run through our communities. Either way we must start planting that seed in October in order to see the results in the spring.  If you know what I mean. More to come…

Lauren Garduño, President/CEO


2023 Conference in Eagle Pass, TX

International Trade is an important component of why the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Corridor is economically important to North America. Trade both with Canada and Mexico have continued to grow since NAFTA in 1991 and will continue to grow in the future with USMCA approval in 2018. The Port of Eagle Pass ranks 5th for U.S. Mexico Trade. 


The City of Eagle Pass and Eagle Pass Chamber of Commerce will co-host the 2023 Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference scheduled for September 13-15, 2023. MARK YOUR CALENDARS. Be watching in early June to see the Conference website go live with registration, lodging, things to do, sponsors, and agenda.


We are pleased to announce that Marc Williams, Executive Director of the Texas Department of Transportation will be the Keynote Lunch speaker on Thursday, September 16, 2023. Additional agenda items will be three sessions on Delivering Food, Fuel, Fiber and Trade: on the Corridor, with Mexico and with Canada. 


2023 Conference Sponsorship Opportunities

The Ports-to-Plains Alliance will be having its registration website go live in early June.  If you want to be recognized on the initial website, now is the time to confirm your interest in sponsoring the September 13-15, 2023 Conference in Eagle Pass. Click on image below to download Sponsorship Opportunities.  When you decide the level at which you wish to sponsor, simply complete the Commitment Form. 


Improved Route Numbering Legislation

After some continued discussion along the future interstate communities, it was decided to revise the initial decision on the extended Texas future interstate numbers: I-27, I-227 and I-327.  The Ports-to-Plains Alliance lobby team and staff have been working with members of Congress to provide the following designations. The Corridor route numbering from Laredo to Sterling City and Lamesa through Dumas to Raton, NM would be designated as I-27. The loop created connecting Sterling City, Big Spring, Lamesa, and Midland will have two Route Numbers: I-27E on U.S. 87 between Sterling City and Lamesa and I-27W on SH 158 and SH 349 from Sterling City through Midland to Lamesa. That leaves the segment north of Dumas to the Texas/Oklahoma state line as I-27N. See image below.


Meeting with Congressman Rick Larsen (WA-2)

Lauren Garduno, President/CEO of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance, along with others, met at the Hance Scarborough LLP Austin, TX office with Congressman Rick Larsen (WA-2) on April 27, 2023. Representative Larsen is the current Ranking Member on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.  Lauren was able to provide an update on the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Corridor.


Update on US 85 (Theodore Roosevelt Expressway)

Construction of the four-lane divided Theodore Roosevelt Expressway on U.S. 85 between Watford City and the Long X Bridge has begun. The perimeter erosion control has been installed, and the fencing is making progress. Culvert installation has been completed at five locations.


Traffic shift through the National Park Service area and excavation has taken place for the cast in place retaining wall. Pile driving for the cast in place retaining wall has started. Tree removals are completed project wide.


See below for a few photos of work to date.


Why Invest in Heartland Expressway in North Dakota?

Click on the image below to view/download the full Impact Document.


Eagle Pass Trade Summit

Click Flyer above to Register.


Please join us for the 3rd Annual State of the Port of Eagle Pass Trade Summit hosted by the City of Eagle Pass.
This event will bring together community leaders focused on growing the region.

Interactive panel discussion including speakers:


Keynote Speakers

  • Caroline Mays, TXDOT Director of Planning and Modal Programs
  • Kenneth Smith Ramos, Former Lead Negotiator USMCA (invited)


  • Lauren Garduño, Ports-to-Plains President
  • Dr. Daniel Covarrubias, Texas A&M International Professor
  • Ken Roberts, WorldCity President

This is a special event, with limited capacity. Lunch will be served.


Please plan on attending a special networking mixer after the event.


Lauren Garduño

President & CEO

Ports-to-Plains Alliance

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

Duffy Hinkle

Vice President of Membership & Marketing

Ports-to-Plains Alliance

PO Box 16226

Lubbock, TX 79490


Joe Kiely

Vice President of Operations

Ports-to-Plains Alliance

PO Box 758

Limon, CO 80828

Cell: (719) 740-2240 


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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