November 2023  Volume 21  Issue 11


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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You will probably get tired of hearing from me about purpose and need. These terms are used time and time again to answer the question, “Why are we trying to upgrade this transportation corridor from Mexico to Canada?” All nine state DOT’s that work on improving the Ports-to-Plains Trade Corridor must answer these same questions when completing their environmental impact statements. For Texas and New Mexico, the purpose and need were answered in a group of feasibility studies that showed great economic benefits as well as significant safety improvements by upgrading our corridor to a future interstate. Some of these benefits in the areas of agricultural and energy also drive the purpose and need on the Heartland Expressway and Theodore Expressway corridors. For example, North Dakota DOT was able to justify completing their environmental document improving US 85 from Williston down to IH 94 at Belfield due to the impact that the oil and gas industry has and will continue to have on that highway. 

And when it comes to agricultural economic impacts, I don’t have to remind you that 40% of the nation’s cotton is grown on the South Plains of Texas. But I want to focus on another agricultural economic impact. Cattle! According to the National Cattle Beef Association (NCBA) there were $28.9 million head of beef cattle in the United States this last year. $11.7 million (40%) of that number is in six of our nine P2P states with Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska ranking one, two, and four respectfully. Added to those numbers are twelve of the nation’s top twenty feedlots that are either on the corridor or within 100 miles of it and you can quickly see we are about moving cattle. Last time I checked you can’t move cattle by pipeline and rail works pretty good for the feed source, so trucking becomes our main option. 


But our region of the country has always been about moving cattle.  Since the late 1800’s the main south-north transportation routes in the central United States were created by the cattle drives. Epic journeys on routes named after cattle barons like Charles Goodnight, Oliver Loving, and John Chisum. There is one trail that I would like to draw your attention to because this route I believe ties in well to the last purpose and need of our corridor, tourism. It was called the Great Western Trail, and it ran from Mexico to Canada. And although there was a route that started in Arizona and ran north through Utah and Montana, I draw your attention to the route that ran through Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas to Ogallala Nebraska. In the 1870’s there was a proposal to create a national cattle trail that followed the Great Western Trail before running through the eastern range of Colorado, western Nebraska, western South Dakota to Miles City Montana and on to Canada. 


Now I know the cattle don’t care what route they take to their final destinations. But there are efforts today to promote these historic trails as part of a larger effort to expand tourism in the midwestern states. Tourism is the other great purpose and needs to be considered when looking to upgrade our transportation corridor. Connecting Mount Rushmore in South Dakota with the future Theadore Roosevelt Presidential Library in Medora North Dakota is a great reason to upgrade this corridor. Connecting the National Parks in South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana with the National Parks in Alberta, and Saskatchewan Canada is a great reason to upgrade this corridor.  Connecting tourists to all the rich and incredible history like these old cattle drives through the Midwest is a great reason to upgrade this corridor. 


More to come …

Lauren D. Garduño


Texas Set to Extend Interstate 27 in Lubbock Area

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) recently greenlit a significant proposal put forth by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for the extension of Interstate 27 (I-27). This extension is slated to coincide with the current U.S. Route 87 and will stretch approximately 4.2 miles southward from the existing I-27 terminus in Lubbock, TX, reaching the limits of US 87.


Lubbock, TX, stands as the central city point for this development, with access control anticipated to be situated approximately 0.1 mile north of Country Road 7500 south of Lubbock.


This momentous decision follows discussions held by TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams who first unveiled the plan at the 2023 Ports-to-Plains Conference in Eagle Pass. The announcement stirred anticipation among transportation enthusiasts and stakeholders, highlighting the potential infrastructural advancements in the state.


During the November 9th meeting of the I-27 Advisory Committee, TxDOT officials presented an update on the progress made with the submission, showcasing a detailed map pinpointing the proposed extension's location.

The approval process for new interstate designations involves oversight by the Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering, responsible for managing the establishment, modification, and removal of Interstate, U.S., and U.S. bicycle route numbers nationwide. The strategic numbering and clear signage of these routes aim to streamline long-distance travel and ensure ease of navigation for the public.


The impending course of action involves scheduling a minute order for deliberation by the Texas Transportation Commission. Once the Commission gives its nod of approval, plans will move forward for a grand signage reveal event, marking the official recognition of the extended I-27 route.


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

The Ports-to-Plains Alliance gears up for its much-anticipated 2024 Washington DC Fly-in, set to take place from March 4th to March 8th. This annual event brings together a consortium of stakeholders, policymakers, and enthusiasts in the transportation sector to discuss crucial issues and advocate for transportation spending bills.

Schedule Overview


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

Venue and Accommodations


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. This hotel, known for its excellent amenities and convenience, offers a group rate of $336 per night. The block reservation spans from Sunday, March 3rd to Friday March 8th.


Link to Embassy Suites Georgetown Block Reservation:


The Embassy Suites by Hilton Washington DC Georgetown is extending several exclusive offerings to Fly-in attendees:

  • Complimentary Breakfast: Start your day off right with a nourishing breakfast each morning.
  • Complimentary Evening Reception (Adults only): Unwind and network during the evening reception.
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi: Stay connected with complimentary Wi-Fi in sleeping and meeting rooms.
  • Hilton Rewards Points: Earn Hilton Rewards Points during your stay.
  • Waived Destination Fee: Enjoy added value with a waived destination fee.

RSVP and Booking Information


To ensure seamless arrangements, participants are kindly requested to inform Joe Kiely of their attendance and manage their hotel and flight reservations accordingly. Take advantage of the group rate and the exclusive amenities offered by Embassy Suites Georgetown.


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 ( – 7190740-2240).


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 esteemed 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.


TRE Construction Update between Watford City and Long X Bridge

In September the following operations took place:

  • Common Excavation and Borrow
  • Horizontal Drain Installation
  • Pipe and Manhole Work
  • CL5 Placement
  • Paving
  • Wildlife Jump-out Installation
  • Wildlife Fence
  • Soil Stabilization

Current work is solely wrapping things up for winter shutdown.


The Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association appreciates the updates and photos provided by KLJ | Engineering and Planning Services.


Revolutionizing Transportation Connectivity and Building a Sustainable Future

Smith laid out the challenges we face:

  • Expensive raw materials requiring frequent repairs and replacements
  • Future demands:
    o    Roads capable of handling heavier commercial vehicles for commerce
    o    Stronger bridges that don't freeze in cold weather 
    o    Roads that can charge EV technology while vehicles are in motion

The concrete of the future will:

  • Design with stronger and longer-lasting concretes
  • Dramatically reduce cure time, leading to faster build cycles
  • Use non-metallic rebar to reduce weight and improve safety
  • Negate corrosion

CLICK HERE to Download or View the complete presentation.


Energy is a Key Economic Sector for the Ports-to-Plains Corridor Future Interstate
Fact Sheet from I-27 Advisory Committee

Add this to your website and files to help others understand the value of the future interstate highway.


The Future Interstate Highway serves both the Permian Basin as well as Eagle Ford. The primary source of the Nation’s energy independence is located along the Ports-to-Plains Corridor.

CLICK IMAGE below to Download or View.


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 


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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