Your Connection to the

Ports-to-Plains Region

September 20, 2016

Volume Number 14
Issue Number 18

A big thanks to everyone who made the 19th Annual Conference a great success. Our co-hosts, the City of San Angelo and the City of San Angelo Development Corporation, did a fantastic job of showcasing their city and providing fantastic hospitality. Our speakers gave great information and insight that will help our organization move our mission forward. We once again had great support from our sponsors who make everything possible. And finally we had tremendous attendance from our membership with nearly 200 leaders from Canada to Mexico and several states in between.

Now that the conference is over, that doesn’t mean that we can coast through the rest of the year. Election season means an opportunity to meet with candidates for office and tell them that the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Corridor and extending Interstate 27 are top priorities. The same message should be delivered with department of transportation officials when you see them as well.

The annual conference is a great time to come together to learn, network and get energized about accomplishing our mission. Now we must go out and put everything into action to continue our progress. 

 Michael Reeves, President

Ports-to-Plains Top 15




Ports-to-Plains Conference Kick-off

KIDY – Fox-San Angelo

The Ports-to-Plains conference kicked off Tuesday at the Riverstage.

Registered attendees have come from all parts of North America: from Canada to Mexico to discuss the current infrastructure of transportation.

Michael Reeves, president of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance, says it's about connectivity.

"With all the development, with I-14 coming, with I-27, San Angelo is really well-positioned to take advantage of that, and be the great crossroads for distribution and networking," Reeves said.

Tuesday's kickoff included live music, food and the proclamation of Sept. 13 as "Phil Neighbors Day" by San Angelo Mayor Dwain Morrison. View Video

Ports-to-Plains Conference Day One

KIDY – Fox-San Angelo

Dozens of delegates from Mexico, Canada and all states in between are in San Angelo this week. The reason: the Ports to Plains Conference.

Day one focused on just how important connectivity is for healthcare, commerce and agriculture.

Ports to Plains Alliance President Michael Reeves tells KIDY the North American Free Trade Agreement — or NAFTA — removed tariff barriers between our three countries.

Both Canada and Mexico are two of our top trade partners when it comes to agriculture.

That’s just one reason advocates are pushing for an intestate to expand to San Angelo.

“Transportation is vital for economic development, job growth, job creation in our region, that’s absolutely imperative. Especially for rural areas, we need connectivity to our markets,” Reeves said.

Tomorrow marks the final day of Ports to Plains and it will consist of the keynote address and insights from partners along the trade route. View Video

Ports-to-Plains Conference Day Two

KIDY – Fox-San Angelo

Day two of the Ports to Plains Conference wrapped up this afternoon.

The focus was an update on the highways in the Ports to Plains route, along with newest highways added in the U.S.

But what about here in the Concho Valley? Will we be getting a new interstate?

The answer: it’s more likely we’ll get one if people keep showing support for it.

This means supporting the grassroots effort started a few years back. But it’s still going to take quite a while to get everything completed.

“It could take 10 years, it could take longer, unfortunately. Even though we have additional funding, and we’re very thankful that our programs are going to be able to increase, the transportation needs in this state are so great that we’re not going to be able to address all of the transportation needs within the next 10 years,” James Bass, executive director of TxDOT, said.

Bass says the more people get involved the more TxDOT listens. View Video

19th Annual Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference Video... Were you there?

Link to YouTube Video

Expert separates economic realities from political rhetoric

San Angelo Standard Times

While Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is promising to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, speakers at the 19th annual Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference are calling for more bridges, roads and communication.

"It strikes me from time to time when I watch the political news, concern about border security tends to be inversely related to distance of the person sleeping from the border. In other words, the further from the border someone lives the more concerned they seem to be about the border," said Matthew Rooney, director of economic growth for the Dallas-based George W. Bush Presidential Center. He spoke Wednesday at San Angelo's McNease Convention Center. The conference drew about 178 people from various states, plus Canada and Mexico.

"The thing about our border infrastructure is that we need to think about how we relate to these people in a constructive way, which is counter to much of what we're hearing ... things that suggest maybe we'd be better off if we didn't have such close relations with our neighbors and other people around the world."

He said people commonly assume globalization is a result of trade policy decisions. "There's a general sense that NAFTA caused globalization, which implies that we can make different trade policy decisions and come up with different results." Read on…

Judge John Thompson on the Confluence of Rivers of Commerce

Judge John Thompson on developing Transportation Corridor Coalitions at 19th Annual Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference in San Angelo, TX

View Short Video Clip on Facebook

Download Judge Thompson’s Presentation 

James Bass, Executive Director, Texas Department of Transportation

James Bass, Executive Director, Texas Department of Transportation speaking at 19th Annual Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference in San Angelo,TX

View Short Video on Facebook

State DOTs Recommend Ports-to-Plains Corridors as Critical to Movement of Rural Freight

The Ports-to-Plains Alliance and its partner organizations, the Heartland Expressway Association and the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association submitted comments urging USDOT to include the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Corridors in this Final National Multimodal Freight Network.

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) closed a comment period on September 6, 2016 allowing state departments of transportation (DOTs) to make recommendations to the Undersecretary of Transportation for Policy on critical rural freight facilities and corridors that should be included in the National Multimodal Freight Network (NMFN). The NMFN looks to the future with the purpose of assisting states in directing resources, informing freight transportation planning, and assisting in prioritization of Federal investment.

Michael Reeves, President of the Ports-Alliance, submitted the following request: “The Alliance respectfully requests the Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy to include in the Final National Multimodal Freight Network the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Corridor, which is made up of congressionally-designated high priority corridors and is critical to international freight movements.” Reeves also stated “The Alliance requests the Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy to give special consideration to comments made by states that identify portions of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Corridor that meet the criteria for Critical Rural Freight Facilities and Corridors for inclusion in the National Multimodal Freight Network.”

In addition to these comments, the state departments of transportation in Texas, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana also recommended the entire corridor in their states for inclusion the Final National Multimodal Freight Network. The USDOT has until December 4, 2016 to make the final designations for the NMFN.

Comments by Texas Department of Transportation

Comments by Colorado Department of Transportation

Comments by Nebraska Department of Roads

Comments by Wyoming Department of Transportation

Comments by South Dakota Department of Transportation

Comments by North Dakota Department of Transportation

Comments by Montana Department of Transportation 

Opinion: The next president should make infrastructure spending a priority

Washington Post

There is now a consensus that the United States should substantially raise its level of infrastructure investment. Economists and politicians of all persuasions are increasingly concluding that higher infrastructure investment can create quality jobs and provide economic stimulus without posing the risks of easy-money monetary policies in the short run. They are also recognizing that infrastructure investment can expand the economy’s capacity in the medium term and mitigate the enormous maintenance burden we would otherwise pass on to the next generation.

The case for infrastructure investment has been strong for a long time, but it gets stronger with each passing year, as government borrowing costs decline and ongoing neglect raises the return on incremental spending increases. As it becomes clearer that growth is not going to return to pre-financial-crisis levels on its own, the urgency of policy action rises. Just as the infrastructure failure at Chernobyl was a sign of malaise in the Soviet Union’s last years, profound questions about America’s future are raised by collapsing bridges, children losing IQ points because of lead in water, an air-traffic control system that does not use GPS technology and chipping paint in thousands of schools.

The issue now is not whether the United States should invest more in infrastructure but what the policy framework should be. Here are the important questions and my answers. Read on…

Texas: Freight and International Trade Committees

The Freight and International Trade Section oversees and coordinates four major committees: the Texas Freight Advisory Committee; the Border Trade Advisory Committee; the U.S. – Mexico Joint Working Committee; and the U.S. – Mexico Binational Bridges and Border Crossing Group. These committees are critical to achieving the goals of the department and facilitating efficient and safe movement of freight and international trade in order to enhance the state’s economic competitiveness. Each committee brings together a diverse group of stakeholders composed of elected and public sector officials, private sector business leaders, and association representatives. Each committee has a unique function allowing them to focus on various aspects of freight and international trade. Together, the committees provide a wide range of expertise and experience to TxDOT in developing strategies to address the state’s freight and international trade needs and challenges.

The Texas Transportation Commission established the Texas Freight Advisory Committee (TxFAC) in January 2013. Chaired by Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, its 22 members and seven exofficio members include private-sector business leaders, modal representatives and elected officials from throughout Texas.

The Border Trade Advisory Committee provides a forum for the exchange of communications between the Transportation Commission, TxDOT, the Governor and committee members representing border trade interests. The committee’s advice and recommendations provide them with a broad perspective regarding the effect of transportation choices on border trade in general and on particular communities.

The Border Trade Advisory Committee provides a forum for the exchange of communications between the Transportation Commission, TxDOT, the Governor and committee members representing border trade interests. The committee’s advice and recommendations provide them with a broad perspective regarding the effect of transportation choices on border trade in general and on particular communities.

Click Here to Download Complete Information

North America Works

George W. Bush Institute

Many voices are calling for the United States to retrench and retreat from the world, including distancing ourselves from neighbors in North America. Yet the reality of life across our continent, from Tijuana and San Diego to Dallas and Fort Worth to Windsor and Detroit, shows that we are connected to our neighbors in ways that benefit every side of each North American border.

In this essay, we show a slice of those connections and how they impact everyday lives. Read on…


Rooted in the guiding principles of President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush, the George W. Bush Presidential Center engages communities in the United States and around the world by developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges. The Bush Center is home to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, operated by the National Archives and Records Administration, and the George W. Bush Institute, the non-partisan, public-policy arm of the Bush Center. The Bush Center is located on the campus of SMU in Dallas, Texas, and also includes a 15-acre park; Café 43, a full-service restaurant; and a Museum Store.

Housed within the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the George W. Bush Institute is an action-oriented, nonpartisan policy organization with the mission of cultivating leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges. The work is achieved through three Impact Centers – Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and our Engagement Agenda – by which the Bush Institute engages the greater community with its important work. 

TxDOT applies for presidential permit for bridge

Big Bend Sentinel

The Texas Department of Transportation has applied for a presidential permit for the Presidio-Ojinaga International Port of Entry bridge project.

TxDOT submitted the permit application to the United States Department of State on Friday for the new expanse of the international bridge, according to a news release from the state agency.

The presidential permit is required before construction can move forward on the international project.

The expanded Presidio-Ojinaga crossing is at least three years in the making and attempts to alleviate existing traffic issues while anticipating future demand.

Representatives from TxDOT held a public information session in September 2013 in Presidio about the potential for expanding the bridge. This past June, TxDOT representatives returned to Presidio with plans and artist renderings of the new bridge. Engineer Jorge Suarez presented the project, stating that TxDOT expects bridge traffic to increase 60 percent by 2044.

TxDOT’s proposed project involves building a second structure parallel to the existing two-lane bridge. The new structure will absorb the Mexico-bound traffic while the existing bridge will become U.S.-bound only. This will allow the bridge to support two lanes of traffic for each direction.

In addition to accommodating more cars, the new structure will include a 10-foot-wide sidewalk for pedestrian traffic.

“We are pleased to work with the federal government and Mexico to bring this project to fruition,” Texas Transportation Commission Chairman Tryon Lewis said in a TxDOT statement. “Easing mobility between our two nations will greatly benefit the movement of goods and people while spurring economic growth in and around this region. We look forward to continued collaboration as we move into the next phase of this project.” Read on…

What's Wrong With The Eagle Ford Shale?


“What’s wrong with the Eagle Ford?” a friend asked me a couple of weeks back. This was shortly after I’d posted a piece chronicling the somewhat amazing boom in new investments (more than $6 billion during August alone) and rising rig count (over 200 as of last Friday, 50% of the national total for oil rigs) in the Permian Basin over the last couple of months.

My buddy, who resides in South Texas, was confused as to why West Texas was benefitting so richly while the economic engine of his part of the world has remained mired with a rig count in the 25-30 range. Of course, the first correct answer to his question is that there is nothing “wrong” with the Eagle Ford Shale. It has been and remains a world-class oil and gas play, a formation that has the potential to ultimately become the single most-prolific oil formation ever discovered in the Lower-48 states.

Having said that, it’s still a good question, and one worth more fully exploring.

The first and most obvious reason for this disparity is well economics. The Permian benefits from the existence of multiple potential pay zones, i.e., different horizontal underground formations capable of producing oil and/or natural gas in paying quantities. In many locations more than one, and often several such pay zones lie beneath a single drill site. Obviously, the ability to produce oil and gas in paying quantities from multiple formations by drilling a single hole will have the effect of lowering the well’s overall costs per unit of production.

The Eagle Ford shale is itself a gigantic oil and gas-containing formation, but throughout the 20+ county region in which it has thus far produced, it is typically the only source of production in any given well. Because of this disparity, the average expected break-even oil price throughout much of the Permian tends to be significantly lower than what we see in the Eagle Ford region. As an example, Pioneer Resources CEO Scott Sheffield told an interviewer just last Friday that producers can break even in many parts of the Permian Basin at $30/bbl and even lower. A more common per-barrel number one sees these days for the Eagle Ford region is around $50. Read on…

A 2017 farm bill?


Should the farm economy reach crisis proportions next year, House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson suggests Congress’ only option may be to enact the next farm bill more than a year ahead of schedule. As outrageous as it sounds, a few other lawmakers and agriculture industry groups agree with the Minnesota Democrat.

“There is no extra money or political will for disaster-assistance packages like we’ve done in the past,” said Peterson, whose state is home to a $3.8 billion dairy industry. “So if you have a real crisis this winter with farmers unable to get financing for the season and bankers up in arms, at that point, does it make sense to do a band-aid or admit the safety net in the 2014 bill isn’t adequate and try to fix it? It depends on how bad things get.”

But while Peterson is preparing for the worst, many farm-state lawmakers are holding out hope that the current farm bill can carry producers through the period of low commodity prices, weak global demand and soaring production of grains and other commodities — and that markets will eventually turn around.
Interviews with key negotiators of the current farm bill, however, reveal skepticism about the prospects of even getting the next iteration done by its regularly scheduled September 2018 deadline, given that the current installment took an extra year to negotiate.  Read on... 

Upcoming Events

September 20 - Lions Club Presentation, Abernathy, TX

September 27-28 - Logistics & Manufacturing Symposium, Laredo, TX

October 2-4 - Can-am BTA Conference, Washington, DC

October 11 - Women's Club, Tahoka, TX

October 11 - Colorado Freight Advisory Committee, Boulder, CO

October 13-14 - Pro 15 Fall Conference, Fort Morgan, CO

October 27 - MoveColorado Board of Directors Meeting, Greenwood Village, CO

October 29 - Transportation Advocates of Texas Board of Directors Meeting, Austin, TX

November 1 - Colorado Transportation Summit, Denver, CO

 Ports-to-Plains Alliance Staff

Michael Reeves
5401 N MLK Blvd. #395
Lubbock, TX 79403
P: 806-775-2338
F: 806-775-3981

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

Fernando Madero
Vice President of Mexico Operations
Jazmines 123, Torreon Jardin
Torreon, Mexico
P: 011 52 (871) 120 1030

Joe Kiely
Vice President of Operations
PO Box 9
Limon, CO 80828
P: 303-586-1787
F: 719-775-9073

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

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

Cal Klewin
Executive Director
Theodore Roosevelt Expressway
PO Box 1306
22 E Broadway
Williston, ND 58802
P: 701-577-8110

Deb Cottier
Board of Directors
Heartland Expressway Association
706 West Third St.
Chadron, NE 69337
P: 308-432-4032

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