Federal Update | State Infrastructure Investment Impact | Article from FreightWaves on I-27

October 2022  Volume 20  Issue 10


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.





On the job for a month and a half and I feel strangely comfortable in this role.  It might have something to do with the fact that I have grown up with this alliance for the last 24 years.  What a wonderful mission!  I am truly honored and excited to be a part of the future of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance.  


I have a lot of thoughts floating around in my head that I want to share with you, but I hope that this will be the first of many articles  each month as we continue to accomplish what our founders set out to do, that is build out a four lane divided transportation corridor from the ports of Laredo, Eagle Pass, and Del Rio to the Great Plains of the United States.  And now if we put an interstate 27 placard on some of it, that will be great too. One of the early projects that our Ports-to-Plains team is working on are the compelling stories to convince you to get involved with the Alliance on any level. Depending upon the audience we have branded these stories along three fronts.

For our legislative partners we will call them “Why support stories.” For our departments of transportation, we will call them “Why build stories.”  For our existing and potential new alliance members we will call them “Why join stories.”And although there are some unique differences in each group that will drive the messages, there are several common goals that all three groups must and will always share.  First, we all want the efficient and effective movement of people and goods.  This translates to increased commerce and trade and improvement of the quality of life for all citizens living along this corridor.  


Second, as traffic continues to increase, we want to ensure that traffic can reach destinations as safely as possible.  We must support a road to zero mentality in all aspects of our efforts including promoting, funding, and building out this transportation network.  And third, we all want to provide our constituents, customers, and or clients a better choice for the future.  Whether that is a better place to live, a better place to work, or a better place to just go visit.  We owe that to our children and grandchildren.  

So, look for some of these compelling stories coming your way soon.  And thank you for supporting our Alliance.  I hope to see some of you at our upcoming IH 27 advisory committee meeting and subsequent Ports-to-Plains board meeting.

Lauren Garduño, President/CEO


Heartland Expressway Assocation Celebrates


On Monday, October 17, 2022, the Heartland Expressway Board of Directors along with representatives from the Ports-to-Plains Alliance joined Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, Nebraska Department of Transportation Director John Selmer, and City of Alliance Mayor Mike Dafney to celebrate the completion of 14 miles to connect the four-lane, divided expressway from Nebraska Highway Link 62A (east of Minatare) to Alliance.

Click Here for a map of the Nebraska Heartland Expressway Corridor Status Map.  This project is identified as Existing Four-Lane - Four-Lane Highway from Intersection with 3rd Street in Alliance NE south for 10 miles.

The Heartland Expressway will be a vital north-south corridor within our national transportation network,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “Its construction will significantly increase the flow of freight from America’s border with Canada all the way to ports along the Gulf of Mexico.  The completion of the Heartland Expressway will create great opportunities for economic growth in the Nebraska Panhandle as businesses make use of this strategic transportation route.  Congratulations to NDOT, IHC-Scott, and local and regional supporters on the opening of this major segment of the expressway.”

The work completed here is only the next phase in a longer, multi-year project,” said NDOT Director John Selmer.  “We are here to celebrate progress on a system that will improve mobility in the region and enhance safety.  We look forward to being out here again, celebrating the next segment completion.”

“The Heartland Expressway has been long awaited by the Panhandle and the citizens who call it home,” said Alliance Mayor Mike Dafney.  “Our communities and our organizations are committed to this project and its ability to meet transportation needs for Nebraskans in the region for years to come.”

Media Coverage

  • New segment of the Heartland Expressway is completed near Alliance, Nebraska Public Media News - Click Here.  
  • Open for business: Segment of Heartland Expressway officially dedicated on Monday, Scottsbluff Star-Herald - Click Here.  
  • Alliance Mayor announces Nebraska is open for business at Heartland Expressway opening, Newschannel Nebraska - Click Here
  • Gov. Ricketts, Officials Celebrate Expansion of Heartland Expressway, Alliance Times-Herald - Click Here.  
  • Gov. Ricketts, Dept. of Transportation Celebrate Latest Completion of Heartland Expressway, Media Release by Office of Governor Pete Ricketts - Click Here.  

Garduño Gives Presentation to Dumas Noon Lions Club


Lauren Garduño, President/CEO of Ports-to-Plains Allaince presented on October 13, 2022, to the Dumas Noon Lions Club meeting. Lauren was joined with Ports-to-Plains Alliance Board Member Milton Pax.  Others in attendance along with the Lions Club included Gaynelle Riffe of Stratford, Judge Terri Carter from Sherman County, Judge Rhoades, Moore County, Mayor Brinkmann, Dumas, and representatives from Amarillo and Dumas TxDOT.


Upcoming I-27 Advisory Committee Meeting


TxDOT has announced that the next I-27 Advisory Committee is scheduled for Thursday, November 10, 2022 at Stephens Central Library (Sugg Community Room), 33 W. Beauregard Ave., San Angelo, TX 76903. This third meeting of the committee will be held from 9:00 am to noon (CDT).


The Ports-to-Plains Alliance urges members of the Advisory Committee to attend the meeting in person as it makes discussion and decision making more efficient.


Topics to be discussed include:

  • Nominate and Elect Chair and Introduce New Members
  • Oil and Gas Industry Presentation
  • Goals and Objectives
  • Communication Toolkit for Committee Outreach
  • Identification of Targeted Audiences
  • International Trade Presentation

The complete agenda is available: Click Here


There will be a virtual option available by following this link on November 10th when the meeting begins: Click Here


If you wish to review notes from the previous meetings, Click Here


Washington DC Fly-In


The Ports-to-Plains Alliance Board of Directors has determined it is time to get back to Washington DC in-person. The Alliance will hold its first in-person Washington DC Fly-in since 2019 on March 28-30, 2023. Mark your calendar and we will provide more information before 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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