Ports-to-Plains Alliance is a grassroots alliance of communities and businesses whose mission is to advocate for a robust international transportation infrastructure to promote economic security and prosperity throughout North Americaâs energy and agricultural heartland including Mexico to Canada.
The Alliance, based in Lubbock, Texas, USA, is a non-profit, bipartisan, advocacy group led by mayors, council persons and other local elected leaders, economic development officials, business and other opinion leaders from nine states (Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming) Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada and a developing corridor connecting central Mexico. In addition to domestic movement of goods along the existing highways, the corridors service major international border crossings including Del Rio, Eagle Pass and Laredo between Texas and Mexico, and Sweetgrass/Coutts, Wild Horse and Raymond/Regway between Montana and Canada and Portal/North Portal between North Dakota and Canada. The Ports-to-Plains region services a 4,950-plus mile economic development corridor of existing highways stretching from the port at MazatlÃ¡n, Sinaloa, Mexico to northern Alberta.
Over the past decade and a half, Ports-to-Plains Alliance members have seen almost $3.61 billion in federal and state funding for road improvements in the Ports-to-Plains region. Click here to see the current status of the highway infrastructure.
History of Ports-to-Plains AllianceThe inception of Ports-to-Plains came about in the mid-90âs, when elected officials and civic leaders from Lubbock, Texas wanted to improve U.S. 87/287 to the north and south of U.S. Interstate 27 between Lubbock and Amarillo, Texas in order to capture the economic benefits of trade. With interstates in the U.S. predominantly going east and west, there was a growing need for additional north/south corridors to support increasing trade opportunities.
Through reaching out to civic leaders and elected officials from other communities, a base support group comprised of cities, counties, chambers and economic development organizations founded the Ports-to-Plains Trade Corridor Coalition. Founding members are: City of Abernathy, TX; City of Amarillo, TX; City of Canyon, TX; Hale Center Economic Development Corp, TX; Hale County, TX; City of Happy, TX; Lincoln County, CO; Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, TX; Lubbock County, TX; City of Lubbock, TX; Market Lubbock Inc, TX; City of New Deal, TX; City of Plainview, TX; Potter County, TX; Randall County, TX; Swisher County, TX; and City of Tulia, TX.
In 1998, the Ports-to-Plains Trade Corridor was granted its federal designation in the TEA-21 reauthorization bill as a high priority corridor from Laredo, Texas to Denver, Colorado via U.S. Interstate 27. In the 2001 appropriations bill, the route was approved through Texas, and then in 2002 the remainder of the route through New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Colorado was approved and signed by President George W. Bush in an independent bill.
Later that same year (2002), the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) received a congressional appropriation of $1.7 million for the completion of a Corridor Development and Management Plan to identify needed improvements and actions necessary to create a modern trade corridor to enhance freight movement and promote economic development. TxDOT later transferred those funds to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to manage the development of the plan.
The four Ports-to-Plains states matched the federal funding with a total of $340,000 with each stateâs contribution proportional to corridor mileage within that state. A steering committee composed of one representative each from Colorado, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas, guided the completion of this plan and coordinated with the Federal Highway Administration throughout the process. The Ports-to-Plains Development and Management Plan was completed in late 2004 and provided a blueprint of priorities and steps to improve the corridor as well as a tool for securing funding for corridor development.
In 2008, the Ports-to-Plains Trade Corridor attained its goal of reaching to the Canada border by developing a partnership with two additional U.S. federal high priority corridors, the Heartland Expressway and Theodore Roosevelt Expressway. The three corridors together make up a 2300-plus mile economic development corridor linking ten U.S. States to Canada and Mexico and now has over 170 members and is known today as the PORTS-TO-PLAINS ALLIANCE.
In 2009, the Government of Alberta joined as a member of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance in order to strengthen its trade relations with local and state government leaders in the ten Alliance states and to better address the challenges and opportunities common to all the communities in the Ports-to-Plains region. The Ports-to-Plains Alliance also works closely with the Eastern Alberta Trade Corridor (EATC), a major economic development initiative underway that is led by three Regional Economic Development Alliances (REDAs) Alberta HUB, the Battle River Alliance for Economic Development and the Palliser Economic Partnership. The EATC provides access to the Alberta Oil Sands which ranks third after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia in terms of proven recoverable global crude oil reserves.
The Ports-to-Plains Alliance continues to explore opportunities in Mexico, working with local, state, and federal leaders who have made improving the Mexican highway system that connects to the Alliance Corridor a top priority in order to provide more modern and efficient infrastructure throughout several states in Mexico as well as to its western seaports.
The road is still the core mission of the Alliance; but that mission and the organization through which we execute it, enables us to offer powerful support for sound economic policy in the industry sectors upon which our communities depend. Heightened awareness of the roles of energy and agriculture in the destiny of North American communities has never been higher - including growing concern about the energy, agriculture and other commodity sectors that, for many Corridor communities, offer hope for new prosperity and renewed economic development.
To promote economic security and prosperity throughout Americaâs energy and agricultural heartland, it is critical that the infrastructure is upgraded and modernized to meet the needs of trade and economic activity.
Mission of Ports-to-Plains Alliance
Ports-to-Plains is a grassroots alliance of communities and businesses whose mission is to advocate for a robust international transportation infrastructure to promote economic security and prosperity throughout North America's energy and agricultural heartland including Mexico to Canada.
- 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.
Assets of Ports-to-Plains Alliance
- The four U.S. Congressionally-Designated High Priority Corridors on the National Highway System (Ports-to-Plains, Heartland Expressway, Theodore Roosevelt Expressway and the northern portions of Camino Real) and many secondary rural highways support 14.83% of the total U.S. GDP ($18.04 trillion), and are home to 47.5 million citizens (14.69% of the U.S. Total)
- A major U.S. trading region generating $259 billion (2015) in trade with Canada and Mexico, more than 24.48% of the total U.S. â North American trade by all modes of transportation. By truck the region accounts for 25.27% of U.S. â North American trade; more than $179.9 billion moved by truck
- Four of the top ten and nine of the top twenty U.S. States for Installed Wind Capacity (2016) with 50.1% or 42,701 MW. Texas ranks number one
- Top six nationwide, eight of the top ten U.S. states for potential wind energy generation and generating over 8,317 MW, nearly 76.9% of the U.S. total
- Seven of top ten and eight of the top fifteen oil producing states, producing over 2.107 billion barrels annually in 2016, Texas and North Dakota rank one and two
- Alberta ranks third, after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, in terms of proven recoverable global crude oil reserves
- Five of the top eight and seven of the top fifteen natural gas producing states that produced over 54.05% or 14,626,476 million cubic feet in 2015
- Oil and natural gas accounts for three million jobs or 35.8% of the nation in the region, generating incomes of over $208.5 billion or 40.5% of the entire nation's oil and gas jobs and income
- North America's agricultural heartland, producing over $111 billion of agricultural goods, or 28.22% of the U.S. total in 2012 Census; three of the top ten farm states; Canada and Mexico are the number one and three top export markets for U.S. farm products in 2015
- Accidents will be significantly reduced on current two-lane segments of the corridor when they are upgraded to four-lane-divided highway. Rural roads are dangerous and improving them SAVES LIVES. Each year, more than 42,000 Americans are killed and nearly 3 million are injured on our nation's highways. The total economic cost of these crashes exceeds $230 billion annually