Your Connection to the

Ports-to-Plains Region

April 11, 2017

Volume Number 15
Issue Number 07

Ports-to-Plains continues to work hard to extend Interstate 27, and we continue to see progress in those efforts. HB 869 by Rep. Dustin Burrows and its companion bill SB 1034 by Sen. Charles Perry would authorize TxDOT to conduct a feasibility study to extend I-27. The Senate Transportation Committee unanimously reported out SB 1034 March 30 and recommended it be placed on the local and consent calendar. HB 869 has been referred to the House Transportation Committee and awaits its hearing there.

Rep. Burrows and Sen. Perry hosted a legislative briefing on their bills at a meeting March 30 to discuss I-27 with legislators and their staffs. A delegation from Ports-to-Plains communities including mayors and other community leaders from Lubbock to Del Rio also attended. The PTP group visited other legislative offices and delivered a packet of support resolutions from member communities, civic groups and letters from individuals.

Ports-to-Plains will continue our efforts at the federal level with our Washington Fly-In April 24 – 28. Our staff and board will visit with our members of congress and discuss issues relating to transportation, trade, agriculture and energy.

Your support is still needed. If you have not already done so, contact your state and federal legislators and tell them that you support extending I-27. Most have a simple form on their websites where you can quickly submit an email. Congress is also in recess this week so do not pass up the opportunity to meet your congressman or senator in person if they are holding public meetings near you.

 Michael Reeves, President

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.

Contents


 Extension of I-27/Ports to Plains Corridor

Congress has already designated the Ports-to-Plains Corridor in Texas as a High Priority Corridor on the National Highway System.

Has your organization considered the resolution supporting the Extension of Interstate 27?

Have you individually added your name supporting the Resolution?

Please share with your Texas Friends!

Please click here to add your personal name to the Resolution in Support of Expansion on Interstate 27

Please click here to downland a draft organizational resolution for consideration by local governments and non-profit organizations.  (Word Document) 


Colorado Transportation Funding Bill Heads to Senate

Republican State Senate President Kevin Grantham is a co-sponsor of the most significant transportation bill in Colorado for a number of years.  Senator Grantham gives a great overview of the bill as it enters the Colorado Senate for consideration after passing the Colorado House. Thank you to Senator Grantham and Senate Committee on Transportation Chair Randy Baumgartner for their leadership on this bill.

"It’s time to stop leaving the problem to others. It’s time to do what is needed for Colorado and put in place the long term solution for infrastructure funding that we all know is needed." ... Colorado Senate President Grantham

Dome to Home: HB17-1242: Transportation Funding

Here is the latest installment in the ongoing effort to keep you informed about critical issues here at Dome to Home. One of the most pressing issues is transportation funding as addressed in HB 17-1242. I wanted to give you the facts and rationale behind it and then you can decide for yourself whether you like this proposal or not.

As of right now the bill has passed the final vote in the House with bipartisan support and is on its way to the Senate Transportation committee. Several amendments were passed which goes to show that this bill is a work in progress and amendments mean opinions about solutions are being explored and accepted. I’m especially pleased with Representative Jon Becker’s amendment in Transportation committee to eliminate the FASTER vehicle registration late fees which is burdensome, especially to rural citizens. There was a lot of testimony on this bill and I’m very grateful for that and am looking forward to this discussion as the bill progresses.

About the bill itself, it is all about consent of the people, transparency, accountability, and deliberate, purposeful spending. This bill is not the end of the conversation but the beginning of a more difficult conversation with new ideas and many hard discussions. This bill is not perfect and has many things that both sides find disagreeable if not unacceptable. It is a work in progress and gives us a framework for discussion and the possibility of actually getting something through two diverse chambers, signed by the Governor, and approved ultimately by the voters of Colorado. We could have proposed a bill or series of bills that could swiftly pass the Senate and then promptly die in a House committee. That is easy. But if we actually want to see real change for your transportation needs, if we want to see something of substance done, then we have to do the difficult things, the tough things, to make a difference. That is why I have proposed this legislation which I believe is our best chance of success to solve the infrastructure and traffic issues seen and felt by each and every one of us.

So what is this bill? First and foremost this is a ballot question to be voted on by Coloradans. It’s important to me that the citizens of this state get a say not only on whether they will increase their taxes but also on where their money is being spent. It is important also that we remain constitutionally compliant in that we ask for your permission to do this. This proposal keeps faith with taxpayers by complying with both the letter and spirit of TABOR.

Read on...


Mark your Calendars to join us for the
20th Anniversary Reunion Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference
September 12-14, 2017 -- Lubbock, TX


Trump Infrastructure Plan... Could it come to the forefront?

The Ports-to-Plains Alliance Washington DC Fly-in may be well timed as the discussion on Preisent Trump's infrastructure plan may be nearing the table.

Republicans rush to help shape Trump’s infrastructure plan

Lawmakers are scrambling to help shape President Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure proposal as the administration considers speeding up its timetable for the legislative package.

Dozens of Republican lawmakers on Wednesday offered their ideas to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao about the emerging plan to repair U.S. roads, bridges and airports, a key campaign promise for Trump.

Following a defeat on healthcare reform, Chao said the infrastructure measure could now be unveiled as soon as next month — a major shift from the administration’s initial goal of fall.

“It’s music to my ears,” said Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), who was a member of Trump’s transition team. “[Trump] doesn’t wait very long. He’s moving forward quickly, and I think Congress needs to begin to run instead of skipping.”

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee members say they are eager to focus on infrastructure spending. Barletta said the panel would hold an initial hearing on the proposal for members to help offer input on the bill.

Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the Senate’s No. 3 Republican and chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said the upper chamber would be willing to move on Trump’s legislative priorities in whatever order they come.

Read on...

Democrats bristle at Trump infrastructure plans

Democrats had hoped the one big policy area they could find common ground with President Donald Trump on was infrastructure, but they don’t like what they’re hearing from administration officials about the transportation portion of the plan that’s still in the works.

Trump has promised to generate $1 trillion in infrastructure spending over 10 years. With two of his other top campaign pledges in trouble — an effort to repeal and replace the Obama administration health care law has failed so far, and without savings to the government from health care changes there may not be enough money to pay for lowering tax rates — infrastructure appeared to be an area ripe for bipartisan compromise.

But some Democrats say they worry that Trump’s plan will focus on trying to entice more private investment in transportation projects and reduce regulations that require environmental reviews and community consultation on projects rather than providing more government money to repair, replace and expand the nation’s transportation network.

Reps. Peter DeFazio of Oregon and Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia, two top Democrats on the House transportation committee, sent a letter Wednesday to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao objecting to comments she made last week about the failure to fix the nation’s crumbling transportation system.

Read on... 


Energy & Agriculture Summit Registration Open 

June 13-14, 2017, Denver, CO

TOGETHER DRIVING CHANGE: Telling Our Story

Energy and agriculture provide a key basic economy across the Ports-to-Plains region which requires a robust transportation system to connect those resources with global markets.  Our communities and others must be able to tell the story… provide clear information in response to attacks on these rural economy drivers.  TOGETHER DRIVING CHANGE will focus on bringing together an agenda that will enable attendees to tell the economic story of energy and agriculture productivity.

Registration Now Open!

Energy Day, June 13, 2017 Confirmed Speakers

  • Patty Silverstein, President and Chief Economist and David Hansen, Senior Economist, Development Research Partners
  • Brad Ayers, Government and Industry Relations, TransCanada
  • Kirk Scheitler, Manager, Policy and Outreach, Xcel Energy
  • Tracee Bentley, Executive Director, Colorado Petroleum Council
  • Kelly Davila, Director of Regional Services, South Plains Association of Governments

Agriculture Day, June 14, 2017 Conformed Speakers

  • Rick Robbins, Colorado Mills, Lamar, CO
  • Tom Sell, Former Deputy Chief of Staff to the House Committee on Agriculture, Southwest Council of Agribusiness
  • Kelsey Pope, Rancher, River Bend Ranch, LLC and CattleFax Digital Communications & Marketing

Click here for Complete Summit Information 


Energy: Here's what "Keep It in The Ground" costs

Adopting “keep it in the ground” policies that antifossil fuel activists advocate could make the average US household’s energy costs jump $4,550 in 2040 from increased transportation fuel, electricity, home heating, and goods and services costs, a study commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute concluded.

“While 80% of American voters support increased US oil and natural gas production, a vocal minority are working to obstruct energy development and infrastructure projects, reducing our energy options under a false belief that oil and gas production and use are incompatible with environmental progress,” API Pres. Jack N. Gerard said on Apr. 4 as the trade association released the report.

“Their vision is one of constrained energy choices, with less energy certainty and reliability, and with less assurance on affordable power,” Gerard said, adding that API wants to “replace rhetoric with reality.”

He said, “The overwhelming majority of Americans support policies to maintain US energy leadership. This pro-energy vision means energy from all sources, where oil and gas play a central role in providing abundant and affordable [supplies], generating economic growth and reducing carbon emissions.”

He said API hired OnLocation Inc., a Vienna, Va., firm with more than 20 years’ experience providing technical support for US Energy Information Administration modeling, to conduct the new study.

It used EIA’s own economic model software and the identical base case inputs from its 2016 Annual Energy Outlook to explore what would happen if the US halted new federal oil and gas leases, banned hydraulic fracturing, prohibited new or expanded coal mines, and stopped issuing permits for energy infrastructure, including pipelines and import/export facilities, Gerard said.

Among its highlights, the study found that by 2040, adopting all the policies that anti-fossil fuel activists promote to “keep it in the ground” and improve environmental quality would:

Read on...


 

Is Trump hitting reset on the NAFTA criticism?

Trade is complicated, especially when it involves the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Perhaps President Donald Trump has begun to appreciate that, as he did with health care. That would be heartening for Texas and our most important neighbor, Mexico.
Texas, the nation’s top exporting state, sent almost $93 billion in exports to Mexico last year. That’s 40 percent of the state total and over four times more than to Canada, our other NAFTA partner and next-largest export market.

Texas also imports the most from Mexico: $81 billion last year, over twice as much as from China.

Trade is a key part of the Texas economy, and the Dallas and Houston areas are major players. So when Trump won the election in November, there was reason for concern.

During the campaign, he frequently criticized Mexico and NAFTA. He called the agreement a disaster and the single worst trade deal ever approved in this country. He said the U.S. was being "defrauded."

But the Trump administration appears to have softened. It recently circulated a draft letter to update NAFTA and the proposals didn’t sound like Trump’s campaign rhetoric. They seemed aimed at improving the agreement, not scrapping it.

Read on...


13 Ways: Chapter 10 - Reject Everything New

This is for those concerned about the future of their community and are looking for answers on how to find success.

13 Ways: Chapter 10 - Reject Everything New

Upcoming Events

2017

April 25 - Ports-to-Plains Alliance Board of Directors Quarterly Meeting, Washington, DC

April 24-28 Washington DC Fly-in, Washington DC

June 12 - Ports-to-Plains Alliance Board of Directors Meeting, Denver, CO

June 13-14 - Ports-to-Plains Alliance Energy & Agriculture Summit, Denver, CO

September 12-14 - 20th Annual Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference, Lubbock, TX

 Ports-to-Plains Alliance Staff

Michael Reeves
President
5401 N MLK Blvd. #395
Lubbock, TX 79403
P: 806-775-2338
F: 806-775-3981
michael.reeves@portstoplains.com

Duffy Hinkle
Vice President of Membership & Marketing
5401 N MLK Blvd. #395
Lubbock, TX 79403
P: 806-775-3373
F: 806-775-3981
duffy.hinkle@portstoplains.com

Fernando Madero
Vice President of Mexico Operations
Jazmines 123, Torreon Jardin
Torreon, Mexico
P: 011 52 (871) 120 1030
fernando.madero@portstoplains.com

Joe Kiely
Vice President of Operations
PO Box 9
Limon, CO 80828
P: 719-740-2240
F: 719-775-9073
joe.kiely@portstoplains.com

Jeri Strong
Executive Assistant
Ports-To-Plains Alliance
5401 N. MLK Blvd. Ste. 395
Lubbock, TX 79403
P: 806-775-3369
jeri.strong@portstoplains.com

Richard "Buzz" David
Economic and Business Development
5629 NE Foster Rd.
Bainbridge Island, WA  09110
P: 806-678-3160
buzz.david@portstoplains.com

Cal Klewin
Executive Director
Theodore Roosevelt Expressway
PO Box 1306
22 E Broadway
Williston, ND 58802
P: 701-523-6171
cal@trexpressway.com

Deb Cottier
Board of Directors
Heartland Expressway Association
706 West Third St.
Chadron, NE 69337
P: 308-432-4023
dcottier@gpcom.net

Jay Slemp
Eastern Alberta Trade Corridor
212 2nd Ave. W
Box 820
Hanna AB T0J 1P0
P: 403-854-0424
jay.slemp@palliseralberta.com