Council Receives Update on Ports to Plains Corridor Alliance


Ports to Plains Alliance


Beverly Haggard, former Lamar City Councilwoman, has been the city’s liaison with the Ports to Plains Alliance for numerous years.  The Alliance’s plan is to upgrade the 2,300 mile P2P corridor from Mexico to Canada to a four-lane divided highway or Interstate Highway to better serve the economic driving forces of all the states connected to the upgraded roadway.  Portions of the Corridor, Highway 287, negotiate several southeast Colorado counties including Prowers, mainly connecting the southern border in Baca County northwards to Interstate 70.

Corridor Map

As can be witnessed by local motorists, much of the local rural highway corridors are aging, two-lane roadways that are slowly being upgraded to a three-lane or in some cases, a four-lane highway in some communities.  P2P statistics and the USDOT show that while only 19% of the U.S. population lives in rural areas, 46% of all roadway fatalities and 39% of all highway-rail grade crossing fatalities occur on rural roads, or about 2.1% higher than on urban roads.

There is much to be gained for a region that has an up-graded Alliance Corridor, Haggard told the council during its May 22nd meeting.  The corridor runs through four of the top eight farm states, it’s an energy corridor which serves many energy shale development companies, it’s an international trade corridor, connecting Texas to Mexico and Montana and North Dakota to Canada for disbursement of goods, the corridor helps develop jobs with its connection to rural communities along its length and it will be a cost-effective way to reduce growing congestion on I-25 and I-35.  In southeastern Colorado, it also serves to help increase the flow of tourism related revenue to this area.

Haggard warned that Colorado is lagging behind other southern states such as Texas or New Mexico in designating its portion of the Corridor as a ‘future interstate’ in order to qualify for future funding for their own road improvements.

“We need to alert all of our state representatives to the need to begin to act and let them know that Texas and New Mexico are taking a lead.”  She said a highway spur that runs between Dalhart, Texas and Raton, New Mexico already connects to northbound I-25 thru Colorado to Wyoming.  That spur has the potential to reroute commercial and tourist traffic away from Highway 287, potentially reducing development that would help improve the overall economic climate in southeastern Colorado.

Haggard pointed out several truck stop companies are already eyeing possible land purchases around Raton, based on the potential growth from increased trucker traffic.

She stressed we have to have our local officials write to the governor, to CDOT, to state and national senators and representatives and get them involved to be at least on a par with other competitive states.  Haggard noted that Oklahoma representatives were sufficiently motivated to follow Colorado’s lead if we decide to move for a future interstate designation.

She also noted that Colorado is pretty much behind the eight ball when it comes to officially requesting funding for highway construction for segments of the corridor through various cities along the route as other communities are asking for millions of dollars for their own improvements.
By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: CountyEnvironmentFeaturedTourismTransportation


About the Author: