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

September 2022  Volume 20  Issue 9


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.


YES! The Future Is NOW!


The 2022 Ports-to-Plains Conference was very successful.  Not only was the conference sold out, but also, the venue of the Hotel Settles and the speakers were great. Thank you to each attendee and speaker for adding to the success.


One can only appreciate the investment made by Big Spring native G. Brint Ryan, for the complete renovation of Hotel Settles. The hotel was both beautiful and historical.


Speakers came in two types: content experts and legislators.  Speakers came from Texas, New Mexico, Nebraska, and North Dakota. Topics included the local benefits of local investment; updates on the importance and future of the border by TxDOT, Del Rio and Eagle Pass; the economic impact of the future interstate highway and four-lane expansions to Texas, New Mexico and Nebraska, byTxDOT, the Eastern Plains Council of Governments in New Mexico and the Box Butte Development Corporation in Nebraska; impacts and benefits of energy development in the Permian Basin and the Bakken; and the impact and benefits of agriculture by Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.

Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz addressed attendees in person on Friday, September 16.  Texas Senator Charles Perry also spoke in person to conference attendees. Due to scheduling conflicts, Congressmen Jody Arrington (TX-19) and Henry Cuellar (TX-28), and Texas State Representative Drew Darby addressed the conference virtually.


The good news is whether you attended or are interested in these presentations, all are available for download HERE


Lauren Garduño, new President and CEO of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance closed out the conference with the topic: Creating NOW Out of the Future. Garduño laid out his ideas starting with: Why do we need this Corridor? He referenced historical study results from the Ports-to-Plains Feasibility Study (2001) and the Ports-to-Plains Interstate Feasibility Study (2021). Next, Garduño moved to Knowing and Understanding our Past. Beginning in the past transportation patterns by moving cattle to markets, he moved to how NAFTA affected transportation needs. 

He pointed out what the eastern Colorado Mobility Study completed by the Colorado Department of Transportation in 2002 stated. “Furthermore, Colorado is strategically located as a “bridge” state in the national and international infrastructure system for movement of freight, resulting in large quantities of goods flowing through the state. Although this is predominately in the east-west direction today, the potential of NAFTA suggests that there may be opportunities for Colorado to also become a more significant player in the movement of goods in north-south corridors.”


He reminded the audience of the results of Corridor Development and Management Plans completed for the Ports-to-Plains Corridor by the Departments of Transportation in Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, and on the Heartland Expressway by the Nebraska Department of Transportation.


Where do we go from here? Was the conclusion of Garduño’s presentation. He described his vision of the Path of Our Success:

  • Work the Plan (20,26,32) (IH 27 Advisory Committee project recommendations)
  • It looks like we will have to go mining (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act 2021)
  • Leverage our resources (State, Federal, Private)
  • Celebrate First downs and Touchdowns (IH 27 Sign Unveilings, Future openings of four lanes)
  • Let’s get stuck in a 'do loop' (Go to the top of this list and start all over)

Click HERE for Garduño’s presentation: Creating NOW Out of the Future.  


The Ports-to-Plains Alliance has gathered many photos of the Conference Speakers, the Dinner & Social at Moss Creek Ranch, General Conference, and Ports-to-Plains Board Meeting. These are available to view and download by clicking HERE. 


Without sponsors, the cost to attendees and the quality of the overall conference would be impacted.  Take a moment to review the sponsors and thank them as you are able. Click HERE to view the sponsors.

If you have questions or would like to sponsor, contact Duffy Hinkle at duffy.hinkle@portstoplains.com or 806-790-7196, Joe Kiely at joe.kiely@portstoplains.com or 719-740-2240 or Lauren Garduño at lauren.garduno@portstoplains.com or 325-514-4114 


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.


Ports-to-Plains Welcomes U.S. Senator Cruz to Two Events Last Month


The Honorable Kent Hance hosted a luncheon on August 30 at Texas Tech, which focused on the economic impacts of the Future Interstate I-27 to West Texas. Invitees were members of the I-27 Advisory Committee and the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Board of Directors from Texas.

Following the Senator’s announcement, a number of Texas Mayors and County Judges spoke. The Senator also made an appearance at the Annual Conference, with a press conference held in the lobby of Hotel Settles.


"The reason why West Texas was my number one priority in this bill is because West Texas is dramatically underserved based on the traffic that is coming out, both oil and gas and agriculture, the traffic and the population is dramatically underserved by the existing infrastructure that's here," Senator Cruz said.


Ports-to-Plains Alliance Chairman John Osborne said, “This has just been a fantastic set of meetings these last couple of days, highlighted this morning by our very own Sen. Ted Cruz coming and speaking with us, talking about the importance of trade and commerce—not just within Texas but more importantly with our greatest trading partner, Mexico, and up and down the Ports-to-Plains Corridor. We had a great session listening about how our I-27 designation bill got passed and I cannot say thank you enough to Sen. Ted Cruz for championing that effort.”


Lauren Garduño, President of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance said, "It will allow us to move some commodities in the midwestern United States such as cattle, cotton, and other food, fiber and fuel sources."


San Angelo Mayor Brenda Gunter said, “Senator Cruz has been instrumental in the fight for the Ports-to-Plains and the economic vitality of our state. I was proud to stand with him today and join the efforts to secure our state’s economic future.”

Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman said, “I welcome Sen. Cruz so much to our city and our community, and I want to thank him for his work securing the Ports-to-Plains and the infrastructure that we will need to reach from Mexico to Canada. I’m so excited about it. Thank you.”


Lubbock County Judge Curtis Parrish said, “I want to welcome the Senator to Big Spring and welcome him to West Texas. This is Cruz Country. We are honored that he has chosen to join us here at the Ports-to-Plains conference. This Ports-to-Plains Corridor goes from Laredo to Canada, from Mexico to North Dakota. This project is a massive project that’s going to take all of us to work on it. The Senator knows that, and the Senator has done an incredible job in bringing together folks from both sides of the aisle. He recognizes that this is not a Republican issue, and this is not a Democratic issue. This is an issue for all of us.”


“Keeping Rural Texas Connected”: A TRIP report


TRIP’s “Keeping Rural Texas Connected” report examines critical components of the state’s rural transportation system and evaluates, statewide and regionally, their adequacy in providing reliable and safe mobility.


Rural Texas, a critical source of food, fuel, and fiber, is experiencing economic and population growth that is straining its transportation system, the safety and reliability of which will play a vital role in quality of life and a strong economy in the state’s rural communities. The state’s rural transportation system faces significant challenges including increasing levels of traffic, a lack of adequate connectivity and the need for additional roadway safety features.”


Addressing the state’s rural transportation challenges will require increased funding. In August of 2022 the Texas Transportation Commission approved a Unified Transportation Program (UTP) for 2023 to 2032 that includes $14 billion for road, highway and bridge improvements in Texas’ rural districts, which includes $6.9 billion for rural connectivity.”


TxDOT has identified four key rural corridors for expansion to four-lane divided highway capacity as being critical to meeting the state’s need for safe and reliable rural connectivity. These routes are US 59 from Laredo to Houston, US 87 / US 83 from the New Mexico border to Interstate 10, US 281 from Interstate 20 to San Antonio, and US 69 / US 175 from Dallas to Beaumont.27 Of the 1,182 miles on the four key rural corridors, TxDOT has completed capacity expansions


The 485-mile US 87 and US 83 corridor, stretching from the New Mexico border to Interstate 10, serves international freight movement, links agriculture, oil and gas producers with major markets, and provides connectivity to tourism areas. The route is part of the future Interstate 27/Ports-to-Plains and Interstate 14 systems.”

TRIP Texas Rural Roads News Conference 09/14/2022

The Alliance urges you to take the time to listen to this 41-minute video. Texas Transportation Commissioner Alvin New provided a powerful description of the relationship between urban and rural areas, and safety on rural roads in Texas and the impact of future interstates on safety.


Click HERE for the complete Report 




Founded in 1971, TRIP ® of Washington, DC, is a nonprofit organization that researches, evaluates and distributes economic and technical data on surface transportation issues. TRIP is sponsored by insurance companies, equipment manufacturers, distributors and suppliers; businesses involved in highway and transit engineering and construction; labor unions; and organizations concerned with efficient and safe surface transportation.


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



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




Joe Kiely

Vice President of Operations

Ports-to-Plains Alliance

PO Box 758

Limon, CO 80828



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