September 2023  Volume 21  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.



We recently completed our annual conference at Eagle Pass, Texas.  I was energized by the great turnout and the diversity of topics discussed over the two days.  Highlights included keynote presenters Marc Williams, Executive Director of TxDOT, and Alex Meade III, appointed TxDOT Commissioner from McAllen, Texas. We also heard some encouraging words from our congressional delegations up and down the corridor.  And we closed with some presentations on what the future might look like on our transportation highway.  Again, I want to say thank you to the City of Eagle Pass who was an incredible host. I especially want to thank Aide Castano, Homero Balderas, and Ronnie Rivera. If you missed it, too bad, so sad!!  No, I was just kidding! Next year we are going to Dickinson, North Dakota.  So, you have time to plan for a great event on the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway.  I also want to thank our Vice President of Marketing, Duffy Hinkle, who will be retiring at the end of the year. The success of this conference is directly attributed to her. As Rascal Flatts sing, “Life is a Highway” and Duffy made good on that claim.

I do want to draw your attention to what happened in Eagle Pass and Del Rio Texas less than a week after we concluded our conference.  Texas borders again received an overwhelming influx of illegal immigrants flooding and tying down our international crossings.  Commerce and trade grounded to a halt as state and federal resources were diverted to handle the impossible situation.  I know that if you don’t live along the border, it is hard to understand this, but what happens down there costs you and me millions of dollars in lost commerce either in delays or even in damaged commodities. For example, I was speaking at a Better Borders Better America Conference last week in El Paso and we heard tragic reports of cattle carriers trying to import cattle to our feedlots in the midwestern U.S. stuck in lines over ten miles long at the Santa Teresea station.  Cattle died in transit. And the sad part of this story is that the cattle crossing was not the restriction, but rather the inability for the trucks to reach the crossing.  


Hold your thoughts on where we are going with this.  Around this same time last week, I heard on the weather channel (farmers and ranchers watch a lot of weather) for the second time in three months a story on the impacts that the drought in the Mississippi River watershed is having on limiting the transportation of goods and commodities down the river.   I know you have heard of these terms in transportation because I have mentioned them before.  We need resiliency and redundancy in our transportation network.  Whether it is natural disasters, social disasters, or epidemics, we need resiliency and redundancy.  That is why we advocate for a new north-south interstate from the border up through Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico to Denver.  That is why we advocate for a four-lane divided highway running north-south through the Midwest through Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana. That is why we advocate for more international crossings along our Texas-Mexico border.  That is why we advocate for a better transportation system in Mexico.  The national rail carrier had to suspend operations due to the illegal immigrant issue.  Isn’t that incredible! Resiliency, and redundancy. Now we get the picture. 


More to come …


Lauren D. Garduño


Duffy Hinkle to Retire at End of Year


Duffy's history with Ports-to-Plains started in 1999, when she began her career as an administrative assistant to the deputy city manager of the City of Lubbock. Since 2005, she has served Ports-to-Plains as the Vice President of Membership and Marketing. she holds a bachelor ' s degree in organizational management from Lubbock Christian University, where she graduated summa cum laude in 2004. Among her notable contributions, Duffy helped to establish the Ports- to- Plains Alliance partnerships with the Heartland Expressway Association and the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway in 2009; in addition , she has excelled at expanding the organization's network of members, and she has earned the respect and admiration of her colleagues for her skilled mentorship; her many responsibilities have included planning annual conferences, managing the organization 's finances , and traveling across the United States, Canada, and Mexico to represent the Alliance.


Duffy plans to retire on December 31, 2023. CLICK HERE to view or download the Duffy Hinkle Career in Photos.

Introduction of Tina Scarborough


Please welcome Tina Scarborough from Lubbock Texas as the new Ports-to-Plains Alliance Business Manager effective October 1, 2023.  As Duffy Hinkle, VP of Marketing and Membership retires at the end of the year, all of the business functions that Duffy handled for the Alliance will transfer to Tina.


Tina, a Borger Texas native, joins us after a 25-year career in education teaching grade levels 1st through 6th with a specialization in Reading/Language Arts.  Tina is also a stockholder in a well-established family-owned landscape business in Lubbock Texas. Tina over the years has taken an active role in this business including small entrepreneurial business ventures in landscape lighting and firework sales.  Tina is the mother of three children, Renni Smith, Emma Morte, and Caleb Scarborough.  She is also the proud grandmother of two grandsons. Granger and Weston.  Welcome to the Ports-to-Plains family.


Successful 2023 Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference

The 2023 Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference is in the books!  We hope it provided value to you! Thank you to the City of Eagle Pass for co-hosting. Without our co-host and sponsors, the conferences would not be as successful. CLICK HERE to view and download the Conference and Sponsor Presentations in PDF versions. CLICK HERE to view and download Congressional and Other Videos. 

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments to help keep our Annual Conference top-notch.



U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (TX) Addresses the 2023 Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference in Eagle Pass, TX


The State of the Alliance
Lauren Garduño, President/CEO, Ports-to-Plains Alliance

Over the next several months, this newsletter will highlight the presentations given at the 2023 Ports-to-Plains Conference. On Thursday, September 14, 2023, Lauren Garduño kicked off the conference providing The State of the Alliance. The presentation focused on the questions: WHY AM I HERE? AND WHY IS THIS CORRIDOR IMPORTANT TO ME?


CLICK HERE to view or download the complete presentation. 

The question of WHY is clear.


The result is the most important question: WHY NOT?


Delivering through Del Rio & Acuña
Alvaro “Al” Arreola, Mayor, City of Del Rio

City of Del Rio Mayor Arreola introduced a video showing the Del Rio / Acuña is THE RIGHT WAY!


Resolutions Supporting Texas Future Interstate 27 Interstate Development and Construction

Has your organization approved and submitted the Resolution Supporting the Planning and Construction of the Future Interstate Highway 27 in Texas?

First, thank you to those who have already approved and submitted the Resolution to Joe Kiely, Vice President of Operations. Here is that listing:

CLICK HERE and the Draft Resolution may be viewed and downloaded .

Primary Purpose:


Updated Support for the Planning and Construction of I-27 in Texas

In 2019, we had a strong response to local resolutions supporting the Future Interstate Designation


Those resolutions were very important to the success of that effort, both with TxDOT and Congress


With designation accomplished, we have found during the last two years of Appropriations Requests that the value of those previous resolutions continues to weaken


This New Resolution Accomplishes Two Purposes:

Urges the Federal Congressional Delegation and TxDOT to invest in the development and construction of Future Interstate Highway 27


Urges TxDOT to invest in the development and construction of Future Interstate Highway 27 through pre-UTP Planning Authority, Development Authority within the UTP; and Letting Authority within the UTP


Please contact Joe Kiely, Vice President of Operations 719-740-2240 with questions and please send executed resolutions to his attention.  Thank You!


I-27 Advisory Committee Meeting in November

The next meeting of the I-27 Advisory Committee meeting will be held on Thursday, November 9, 2023, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the TxDOT Stassney Headquarters, 6230 E. Stassney Lane, Austin, TX 78744. For more information, including summaries and presentations, from previous meetings CLICK HERE.


Below are the currently approved Fact Sheets from the I-27 Advisory Committee. See the Goals and Objectives of the I-27 Advisory Committee as well as the impacts of the key industries of Agriculture and Energy served by the Corridor in Texas. Click on the graphic to view or download the Fact Sheet.


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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