May 2024  Volume 22  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.

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As I sit here this Memorial Day weekend and think about how we honor our fallen men and women who have served in the armed services to allow us the opportunity to live in this country, I am intrigued by the important impact that transportation has played throughout history in determining the outcomes of past conflicts.  Every military leader in history has evaluated the strategic placement of troops, armament, and other supporting resources when planning their military campaigns. I would imagine that in that planning the topic of transportation had to be considered.  Think about how transportation systems have given countries competitive advantages when engaged in military conflicts.  For example, Rome’s worldwide military dominance does not happen without their advanced system of roads.  During the American Civil War, the railroad system played a crucial role in determining the outcomes of several battles.  Navigable waterways like the Mississippi and Egyptian Nile River have seen their share of important navel engagements as well as movements of resources and troops.  Even the English Channel served as a military transportation system both in the evacuation of troops at the beginning of the Second World War and later in the D-Day invasion of Europe.

When General Dwight Eisenhower came back from Europe after the Second World War, the German Autobahn impressed him enough to become a driving force in the creation of our Interstate Highway System. The actual bill was named the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956 and included provisions to upgrade highway standards to allow for rapid armament deployment across the country.  This interstate system became part of the 64,000-mile network of the Strategic Highways for National Defense (STRAHNET) that allows for military mobility across our country and provides critical support for the Department of Defense’s (DOD) domestic operations.

The ability to upgrade our Ports-to-Plains corridor to interstate or four lane divided standards would go a long way to supporting the DOD’s effort to keep our country safe and secure from potential threats.  In fact, parts of our existing corridors are already on the STRAHNET, and their improvements only enhance the effectiveness of this network.  While we are talking about security, one component of military warfare is also economic destabilization.  Sometimes a conflict is won by controlling the economic well-being of a region or country.  I am reminded in history of how Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, also known as El Cid, conquered a fortified castle after a lengthy siege by catapulting bread over the walls to the starving inhabitants.  More than once, I have heard or read commentary about the significance of our country’s secure energy sources as well as our secure food sources.  With our proposed corridor improvements connecting the Permian Basin with the Bakken as well as running our corridor through the mid-western United States, the Ports-to-Plains Trade corridor will be a critical component in delivering and protecting those secure sources of energy and food.  Maybe this way our armed forces will not have to sacrifice to protect the freedoms we currently enjoy today.

more to come …


Lauren D. Garduño


U.S. House of Representatives FY25 Community Project Funding

As with FY24 Community Project Funding, there is a significant process before any funding is approved. It starts with the Representative accepting requests for Community Funding Project.  We are now at the second step of U.S. House members reviewing all the requests they receive and prioritizing those needs be they transportation, agriculture and rural development, commerce, energy and water development, etc. Two members in Texas and one in New Mexico submitted four projects to the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies for consideration totaling $19.8 million.

Congressman Jodey Arrington (TX-19)


Project Name: Operational Funding for US 87 in Lamesa (One-Way Pair)


Project Recipient: Texas Department of Transportation

Recipient Address: Lubbock, TX

Amount Requested: $10,000,000

Purpose of Project: On the future I-27 corridor, a key location occurs at the city of Lamesa where future I-27E follows US 87 to Big Spring and future I-27W follows SH 349 to Midland/Odessa. A relief route study was completed in early 2010 but was not selected going forward.  With the future I-27 designation in place, a new study will be required.  However, in the meantime, there is an opportunity to improve the existing traffic flow on US 87 through Lamesa by converting two 2-lane roads through town including existing US 87 and Bus 87 (Dallas Ave) into two one-way pairs.  TxDOT estimates that this operational improvement to the existing corridor would cost $20 million.  By making these improvements, this route could be considered in future IH 27 alternatives.

Congressman Ronny Jackson (TX-13)


Project Name: US 287 Interstate City Location Study

Project Recipient: Texas Department of Transportation

Recipient’s Address: 5715 Canyon Dr., Amarillo, TX

Amount Requested: $3,200,000

Purpose of Project: This project would initiate a City Location Study as recommended by the Ports-to-Plains Corridor Interstate Feasibility Study Final Report, which will be used to determine the alignment connecting the City of Dumas and US 87. The development of US 287 is projected to take 30 years to plan and construct, however once completed, it will provide major economic benefits. Initiating this planning will help ensure each segment of I-27 remains on track.


Project Name: SL 335 - Upgrade to Freeway - Amarillo West of FM 2590 to South to FM 2186

Project Recipient: Texas Department of Transportation

Recipient’s Address: 5715 Canyon Dr., Amarillo, TX

Amount Requested: $4,000,000

Purpose of Project: This funding will be used to provide critical upgrades for SL 335 between Amarillo West of FM 2590 to South to FM 2186 (TxDOT Project ID 02494-02-01). The TxDOT Amarillo District and the Amarillo Metropolitan Planning Organization have identified SL 335 as a top priority transportation project candidate with the goal of upgrading the entire loop to a controlled-access roadway consisting of main lanes, ramps, one-way frontage roads with bicycle and pedestrian accommodations, and four multi-level interchanges.

Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernández (NM-3)

Project Name: Raton, NM Ports to Plains

Recipient: City of Raton, New Mexico

Address: 224 Savage Avenue, Raton, New Mexico 87740

Amount Requested: $1,600,000

Project Description: This planning project supported by New Mexico Department of Transportation assists New Mexico in completing a City Location Study at Raton. Determining the alignment between US 87 (Future Interstate 27) and Interstate 25 will allow the city to begin developing that area. Following the designation of the Ports-to-Plains Corridor in New Mexico as a Future Interstate in the FY2022 Appropriations legislation, the project would initiate interstate highway planning on U.S. 87 / U.S. 64, specifically along the I-27 / I-25 interchange in Raton. These planning funds would be used for Project Definition, Phase A: Alternative Identification and Screening, Phase B: Detailed Alternative Analysis, Phase C: Environmental Documentation, and Preliminary Design. By enhancing transportation routes, the project facilitates trade, commerce, and regional connectivity, bolstering economic development across various sectors. Recently, it was announced that the Department of Defense has designated the Ports to Plains route coming through Raton to move defense equipment quickly from Fort Carson in Colorado to Port Arthur in Texas, making it a critical infrastructure project for the Country.


SAVE THE DATE: 2024 Ports-to-Plains Annual Conference

Date: September 10-12, 2024

Location: Dickinson, North Dakota


Astoria Extended Suites & Event Center
363 15th Street West 

Dickinson, North Dakota 58601


All reservations can be made online at 

Select the Dickinson location and in the PROMO box enter TRE for the group rate. 


You can also call the hotel at (701) 456-5000 and ask for the PORTS TO PLAINS GROUP BLOCK 


All reservations must be made by August 26th in order to receive the group rate and if you don't show up for the day of your reservation, your room will be charged for one night and cancelled for the remainder nights. 


Flights: Flights in and out of Dickinson are limited so if you’re flying in, you might want to get that scheduled sooner, rather than later.  

Theme: Connecting North America


Teddy Roosevelt as portrayed by Joe Wiegand


Joe Wiegand is the world’s premiere Theodore Roosevelt Reprisor.  Over twenty years, Joe’s Theodore Roosevelt has been seen by audiences in all fifty states and internationally, from the White House to Yosemite National Park.  Joe’s Theodore Roosevelt performances are endorsed by the Congressionally Chartered Theodore Roosevelt Association of Oyster Bay, New York, and have been featured annually at the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site, Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, and the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site.  

Conference Sessions include:

  • Building for Connection: Agriculture
  • Building for Connection: Places (Tourism)
  • Building for Connection: Energy

Connecting Texas 2050

The Ports-to-Plains Alliance urges you to submit comments on the DRAFT Connecting Texas 2050. 

The Draft Plan is available by clicking on the image above.

Why is this Plan Important?

  • Connecting Texas 2050 provides an overview of the state’s transportation system for all modes, details the challenges and opportunities Texans face with the system, and identifies strategic recommendations to address those challenges in a manner that integrates efforts across all modes
  • Reinforces TxDOT’s efforts to improve safety for the traveling public and for all modes of freight, including efforts to reduce fatal and severe injury crashes on Texas roadways
  • Promotes the preservation of vital infrastructure and services, including roads, bridges, sidewalks, transit fleet and facilities, railways, airports, seaports, and border crossings
  • Encourages more efficient, resilient, and reliable travel options to enhance mobility for the traveling public and freight across all modes
  • Improves connectivity between all modes and all geographic areas, including urban areas, rural areas, and border regions
  • Strengthens economic vitality by investing in the modernization of aging transportation infrastructure, leveraging innovative and technology-oriented solutions, expanding system capacity to accommodate growing freight demand, and promoting job creation
  • Promotes stewardship that prioritizes fiscal responsibility, maintains funding, minimizes negative natural and cultural impacts, and improves the overall project delivery process

The Ports-to-Plains Alliance has summarized highlights from Connecting Texas 2050 to assist in your comments. CLICK HERE to download the Highlights.

There are four ways to comment on the draft plan:

  • Written comments may be submitted by mail to: TxDOT TPP Connecting Texas 2050, Statewide Planning Branch Manager, P.O. Box 149217, Austin, TX 78714-9217.
  • Members of the public may call 512-271-2025 to provide verbal testimony via a voicemail message.

To be included in the draft plan comment log, comments must be received or postmarked by Sunday, June 9, 2024.


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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