Your Connection to the

Ports-to-Plains Region

January 17, 2017

Volume Number 15
Issue Number 02

The Interstate 27 extension effort continues to build momentum. Last week State Rep. Dustin Burrows filed a bill that would launch a feasibility study for the extension of I-27. Rep. Burrows has shown strong leadership in support of Ports-to-Plains, and now it is our turn to support him. First of all you can follow the link below to add your name to our resolution supporting the extension of I-27. Secondly, you can plan to attend one of the TxDOT Freight Planning Workshops that will be held across the state over the next month, and be sure to let them know that extending I-27 is a priority.

For those outside of Texas, we continue to work hard for transportation investment and improvements throughout the entire corridor. This newsletter contains news from Colorado where the legislature will be facing transportation funding, as well as questions at the federal level about a much talked about infrastructure package and what it means for rural communities.

Thank you for your continued support. It is the key to our success as we move foreward.

 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.

Extension of I-27/Ports to Plains Corridor

The proposed extension of Interstate 27 will serve three border crossings with Mexico at Del Rio, Eagle Pass and Laredo.

Please Share These Links 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)

Texas Rep. Dustin Burrows Files House Bill 869 to

Authorize TXDOT Study of Extending I-27 to Laredo

Lubbock Mayor and Ports to Plains Alliance Support Study

Texas State Representative Dustin R. Burrows (HD-83) filed House Bill 869 today, legislation directing the Texas Department of Transportation to conduct a feasibility study of extending Interstate Highway I-27 from Lubbock to Laredo.

"This bill would direct TXDOT to examine a critically needed expansion of I-27, which currently ends in Lubbock. Given the economic and population growth West Texas has experienced during the last 20-years, the continuation of the interstate to Laredo would allow for further industry and business expansion along the route," said Burrows. "President-elect Trump has stated he will pursue substantial national infrastructure improvements and my bill positions West Texas to be ready with a solid plan for the I-27 expansion," Burrows added.

Michael Reeves, Executive Director of the Ports to Plains Alliance, a group of over 275 communities and businesses who advocate for transportation infrastructure improvement, said “We wholeheartedly support Rep. Burrows’ bill which will facilitate a critical next step in our efforts to extend Interstate 27. Texas does not have a major north-south Interstate west of I-35. An extended I-27 will boost economic growth and opportunity in West Texas, while serving as a much needed alternative to the congested I-35 corridor."

Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope said "From an economic development perspective, the extension of I-27 would be a huge boost, not only to Lubbock's economy, but to virtually all of the communities along the interstate. A thorough TXDOT study would certainly prepare us for the next step in this process."

Complete New Release

Text of HB 869

Is I-27 in Midland’s future?

Bill filed for study between Lubbock and Laredo; Tall City could see route pass through

Reeves said having I-27 and I-14 on the same route would be beneficial. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to get two interstates for the price of one. Overlapping them would be a way to stretch that transportation dollar.” 

Just one day before the start of the 85th Legislature, efforts to improve transportation in West Texas got a small shot in the arm.

Rep. Dustin Burrows of Lubbock filed a bill Monday seeking to direct the Texas Department of Transportation to conduct a feasibility study that would see Interstate 27 extend south of Lubbock to Laredo.

The bill supports the activities of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance, a Lubbock-based organization that seeks the conversion of the congressionally recognized Ports-to-Plains corridor into interstate-grade highway and designated as I-27.

The project is a long time coming. “The Ports-to-Plains highway has been talked about for as long as I can remember,” Burrows told the Reporter-Telegram.

I-27 is unique among interstates in that its southern terminus does not connect to another interstate. Now is the right time to pursue a feasibility study to get it connected, Burrows said, because pro-infrastructure president-elect Donald Trump will soon take over as the nation’s executive.

“Ideally, once we have a new president, who called for a large infrastructure package to be delivered from the federal government, I want Texas to be in the best place to potentially highlight this project as one of the opportunities to do infrastructure expansion,” Burrows said.

The question on many minds, however, is where I-27 will go. The bill does not lay out the route. “It would be improper for my bill to tell TxDOT what the route ought to be,” Burrows said. “TxDOT needs to determine the route.”

Read on... 

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

Rural America and National Infrastructure Investment

While Ports-to-Plains does not necessarily endorse all of the views in the article below, it does a reasonable job in describing the concerns that rural America has regarding the Trump Infrastructure concept. The question being discussed is: How will 80% of the National Highway Network identified as rural benefit from the potential of $1 trillion of infrastructure funding?



How Trump Could Spar With His Own Party Over Fixing America’s Roads

...Infrastructure for profit is going to pan out better in some places—big cities, places with money—than others. (Though public-private partnerships also favor new projects over maintenance, which complicates the picture a little, and toll roads over transit.) While Democrats have typically favored large federal investments in public works, the people who benefit most from such programs are often rural Americans who depend on government largesse.

The rural-versus-urban theme shined through at other moments: in Sen. Ted Cruz’s request that the apportionment formula be adjusted to benefit fast-growing Texas, or in Sen. Cory Booker’s (exaggerated) claim that the Hudson River Tunnels carried the entire population of South Dakota between New York and New Jersey every day. (Actually, it’s about one-fifth the state’s population, but you get the idea.) On the flip side, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan complained about how few roads his state had—fewer miles than Texas and even Connecticut—despite its size. The reason, of course, is that Alaska has barely one person per square mile, making it about six times less dense than Wyoming.

Which all goes to an important point: the Trump-Chao plan to draw private dollars into infrastructure investment is not likely to bring more roads to Alaska, South Dakota, or West Virginia.

In November, my colleague Jordan Weissmann anticipated this issue with Trump's plan.* "Its core proposal—using tax credits to subsidize public-private partnerships of some sort—might not be very appealing to the rural and small-state politicians who help form the backbone of the GOP,” he wrote. “After all, infrastructure investors generally tend to be interested in big, new, and profitable projects in major population centers. … Private financing makes a whole lot less sense for fixing dilapidated highways in farm country, since that's not going to earn anybody much of a return.”

Lo, it has come to pass."

Read Complete Article...

Guest opinion: Colorado Transportation solution requires bold action

By Jeff Cummings

As in the past, the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Future for transportation will reappear at the state Capitol in January as the General Assembly convenes. As in the classic story “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, the specter of Christmas Past will pay a visit and reflect on previous failed legislative sessions where promises were made to address our growing transportation issues that are now moving toward a crisis stage.

The specter of the past will share visions from the prior five years, showing legislators conducting similar debates and hearings, making almost identical speeches and statements, spending endless hours in committee meetings, reviewing innumerable special reports of our transportation needs and financial shortfalls, and considering numerous bills and proposed solutions, only for all of them to be heaped on the bonfire of failure. As in the past, the final act in the play will be legislators placing blame on the other party for the lack of action.

At the same time, the Ghost of Christmas Future will also materialize. Only this time, he will share an even darker future for the state showing even more congested roadways with longer commute times, further deterioration of our roadways and bridges, and more accidents associated with a lack of adequate funding for the infrastructure. The ghost will show a bleak future, 20 years from now, where our state population has grown by 48 percent, overall traffic has risen by 64 percent and traffic delay for the average commute will have increased by 30 minutes.

Can we, like Scrooge, have a happy ending and avoid this dismal future of clogged highways, potholes, deteriorating bridges and the like? The definitive answer is yes, but it will require strong leadership and bold action on the part of both parties in the General Assembly as well as an engaged Governor to forge consensus on a funding measure to go to the voters.

To accomplish this goal, let me offer some suggestions to our legislators.

Read on...

Jeff Cummings is president and CEO of Duffy Crane and Hauling, one of Colorado’s oldest companies. He is a past chairman and current director of the Colorado Motor Carriers Association, which represents more than 600 companies involved in trucking in Colorado.

Let’s Move Texas Freight

TxDOT is holding a series of workshops across the state through February to gain public input on the update of the Texas Freight Mobility Plan. Three workshops will be held in communities along the Ports-to-Plains Corridor:

Laredo, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
IBC Bank Annex, 2416 Jacaman Rd., Laredo, TX 78043

Midland/Odessa, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
University of Texas of the Permian Basin, CEED Auditorium, 1310 North FM 1788, Midland, Texas 79707

Lubbock, Thursday, Feb. 23, 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Plains Cotton Coop Association, 3301 East 50th St., Lubbock, TX 79404

These workshops are an important opportunity to let TxDOT know that extending I-27 is a top priority for our region. Please register for one of the following workshop by following this link 


June 13-14, 2017, Denver, CO


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.

Six-City Study Shows Bakken Communities Poised for Growth, But Needs Still Exist

Western Dakota Energy Association

Cities in North Dakota’s oil-producing counties have added infrastructure to accommodate expected growth as the industry recovers from the downturn in oil prices. But as drilling and production activity pick up, more growth will strain the ability of cities to keep pace with needs of a growing population.

That’s the key takeaway from a Six-City Study completed by AE2S Nexus on behalf of the Western Dakota Energy Association. The results of the study, the cost of which was shared by the six cities, were presented to state legislators at the Capitol on January 9, 2017.

The study shows that even at the tail end of a slow-down, an impending and likely oil price recovery will continue to place significant demands on the six cities studied, with each still facing aggressive population growth under a moderate oil price recovery scenario. The cities are expected to see their population grow at rates ranging from 2.8 percent annually in Williston, up to 5.7 percent per year in Watford City.

Past investments by the state and cities in trunk infrastructure such as transportation corridors, water supply, and wastewater treatment have positioned the cities for further growth. And while a moderate oil price recovery is expected to significantly increase city revenues, it will likely not be sufficient to meet the anticipated needs of each city.

Cities in the oil-producing region will remain heavily dependent on major revenue sources such as the gross production tax on oil and local sales taxes to offset projected demands. But funding gaps will remain.

Further unique financing strategies will be required to meet the projected gap, requiring solutions at both the local and state level in order to address the forecasted needs of each city.

Click here to view the two-page Executive Summary

Click here to view the AE2S Nexus presentation (9mb)

Click on a city link below to view key findings for each:

Watford City

13 Ways: Chapter 5 - Shop Elsewhere

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

Link to 13 Ways: Chapter 5 - Shop Elsewhere

Upcoming Events


January 31 - Texas Freight Mobility Plan Workshop, Laredo, TX

February 1-3 - Voices of Rural Colorado, Denver, CO

February 5-7 - 2017 Texas Transportation Forum, Austin, TX

February 7 - Ports-to-Plains Alliance Board of Directors Meeting, Austin, TX

February 22 - Texas Freight Mobility Plan Workshop, Midland, TX

February 23 - Texas Freight Mobility Plan Workshop, Lubbock, TX

March 7-9 - Alliance Staff in Washington, DC

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
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: 308-432-4023

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