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Ports-to-Plains Region

August 15, 2017

Volume Number 15
Issue Number 16

Representatives from the US, Canada and Mexico begin talks this week to renegotiate NAFTA. This is a topic that will have a major impact on our energy and agriculture producing region. Trade in energy and farm products between our North American neighbors are vitally important to our region. See the article in this issue that highlights how Canadian oil production benefits the US economy and some Ports-to-Plains states in particular.  

I also want to congratulate the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce on their fantastic West Texas Legislative Summit, which focused on issues relating to the Farm Bill.  House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway brought his committee to San Angelo for a field hearing to get input from ag producers in the region as they continue their work on creating the next farm legislation.  A full recap of both events is highlighted below.  

Finally, you still have time to register for the 20th Ports-to-Plains Alliance Annual Conference scheduled for Sept. 12 – 14 in Lubbock, Texas.  We have a great lineup of speakers and fantastic networking opportunities as we reflect on 20 years of successes and discuss how we will work to build upon those accomplishments moving forward. 

 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

Extending Interstate 27 in Texas is also a cost-effective option.  The Texas Department of Transportation’s Initial Assessment Report on the Extension of I-27/Ports to Plains Corridor estimated that it would cost about $7 billion to upgrade the nearly 1,000 miles of the Ports-to-Plains Corridor from the northern tip of Texas to Laredo.  To extend Interstate-27 approximately 500 miles from Lubbock to Laredo is projected to cost $5.2 billion.  Compare that to the $4.8 billion it cost to rebuild 28 mile section of Interstate 35 east from Interstate 635 to U.S. Highway 380 in Dallas County

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) 


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

Speaker Confirmations Include Nationally Known Author & Radio Host



Dr. Ray Perryman is President and CEO of The Perryman Group, an economic research and analysis firm based in Waco, Texas.

He holds a BS in Mathematics from Baylor University and a PhD in Economics from Rice University. Dr. Perryman has held numerous academic positions in his career, has authored several books and more than 400 academic papers, and has served as President of both the Southwestern Economic Association and the Southwestern Society of Economists.

In the professional arena, Dr. Perryman has authored more than 2,000 trade articles, publishes a subscription forecasting service and a monthly newsletter, writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column, hosts a daily radio commentary, and appears regularly on National Public Radio. His firm engages in a broad range of projects for major corporate and governmental interests and has served the needs of more than 2,000 clients with analyses ranging from economic impact studies to testimony and support for complex litigation matters.



U.S. would feel Canada's pain from NAFTA changes

As Canada, Mexico and the United States sit down this week to begin renegotiating NAFTA, here’s one thing for our southern neighbours to ponder.

Any action that gores Canada’s ox on energy will also hurt the U.S.

It’s not only the Texas oilpatch that could get squeezed by protectionist measures that impede trade but in states such as California and Illinois.

A new study by the Calgary-based Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) shows just how close the ties are between the two countries when it comes to oil and natural gas supply.

Domestic energy investment and production not only creates jobs and activity north of the border, it is expected to generate an eye-popping US$45.6 billion in economic impact in U.S. states between this year and 2027.

It will also create or sustain 405,000 U.S. jobs during that period, according to the think-tank.

“It’s not just the typical energy producing provinces or states that get a benefit out of Canadian oil and gas production, but it’s many other economies as well,” says CERI chief executive Allan Fogwill.

“If there is a negative impact on Canadian oil and gas, it will impact the U.S. economy.”

Last year, Canada supplied 41 per cent of total U.S. oil imports, while almost 3.3 million barrels of crude each day headed south.

Read on...

Ports-to-Plains Corridor Update at Luncheon

SAN ANGELO, TX -The Desk and Derrick Club of San Angelo's August luncheon was held Wednesday, August 9th at the San Angelo Country Club. Michael Reeves, president of the Ports-to-Plains Trade Corridor Coalition was the featured speaker. He delivered an update on the Ports-to-Plains Trade Corridor and efforts to extend I-27.

Michael was appointed as president in the spring of 2004. Reeves has extensive knowledge of transportation issues and governmental affairs at local, state and federal levels. During his time at Ports-to-Plains, Reeves has focused on strengthening relationships with state departments of transportation and building partnerships in Canada and Mexico. Under his leadership, the coalition is also working on increasing the economic competitiveness of North America's energy and agriculture heartland by building connections and providing needed infrastructure to support the region's diverse energy production and agriculture industry.

Prior to Ports-to-Plains, Reeves served as Vice President of Governmental Affairs for the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce. There he was involved with coordinating transportation initiatives, leading the Chamber's legislative programs and conducting communications efforts. Reeves graduated from Texas Tech University in 1991 with a BA in Journalism. He is a lifelong Lubbock resident.

Read on...

TxDOT receives Fed grant for South Orient rail upgrades in SW Texas 

 AUSTIN – The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that the Texas Department of Transportation has received a $7 million federal grant to help rebuild the Presidio-Ojinaga International Rail Bridge and 72 miles of track on the state-owned South Orient Rail Line that runs from the border to near Coleman, Texas. Texas Rail Advocates has been urging officials to rebuild the international rail crossing and restore freight rail service in this important trans-border crossing since being destroyed in a fire almost a decade ago.

Texas Transportation Commission Chairman Tryon Lewis hailed the FASTLANE grant that was announced Thursday as a critical investment in the West Texas oil and gas industry.

“The South Orient Railroad has become an increasingly important freight line for the agriculture and oil and gas industries in West Texas. With the replacement of the rail bridge at Presidio, the improvements to the track, bridges and crossings will allow enhanced freight opportunities for communities in Texas and between Texas and Mexico, with greater efficiency and safety,” Chairman Lewis said.

Lewis thanked members of Congress, the Texas Legislature and the TxDOT staff involved in applying for and attaining the grant and especially the work of U.S. Congressman Will Hurd of San Antonio who was instrumental in obtaining the grant.

“Representative Hurd worked hard on our behalf to support our efforts to be awarded these monies from the USDOT. The improvements we make to the rail line and the reconstruction of the rail bridge will assure we can continue to support the industries in Texas that rely on deliveries provided by the South Orient Railroad,” Lewis said.

Read on...

 TxDOT designates Loop 88 on state highway system

The Texas Transportation Commission voted to officially designate Loop 88 on the state highway system.

The board approved designating the 36.9 miles from U.S. Highway 84 in northwest Lubbock to U.S. 84 in southeast Lubbock as Loop 88. Mayor Dan Pope was in Austin on July 27 to publicly speak to the board before it took action.

“It’s a project that’s been going on for seven years,” Pope said. “We expect that the environmental (impact study) will be finished this fall. The designation is important to our community. We feel like we’ve been a good partner with TxDOT for a long time.”

Once the environmental study is complete, TxDOT intends to begin acquiring right-of-way for the first segment. TxDOT is hopeful for construction to start in October 2019 

U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway Staking Legacy on Passing Politically Tricky Farm Bill

SAN ANGELO, TX – In a dusty warehouse that looks like a set from the movie "Footloose," Brian May pulled wool out of a bail and held it up for an audience that included several members of Congress.

“She would use this in her haute couture line, not DKNY, the suiting line,” explained May, president of San Angelo University, referencing fashion designer Donna Karan as he stretched the wool apart. This high-end wool – also used frequently by the likes of Hugo Boss and Escada – was cleaned at this processing plant on the outskirts of San Angelo.

May's presentation was part of a series from farmers and educators who spent the early part of this week making the case to eight congressmen from as far as Minnesota and Florida for the farm bill, a massive piece of legislation that Congress usually passes every five years.

U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, a Midland Republican and chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, spearheaded this symposium in his sprawling West Texas 11th District.

The congressmen, Capitol Hill staffers and reporters spent two days touring a cotton field, listening to agriculture trade association leaders and hearing out the economic worries of hundreds of Texas farmers.

Read on... 

West Texas Legislative Summit ends with talk about reaching out to representatives

SAN ANGELO — A day of talks at the 14th annual West Texas Legislative Summit ended with a panel discussion on how people can effectively communicate with their representatives in Washington.

“We’ve heard a lot of ideas from a lot of different people had — some were the same, some were different — but that doesn’t include all the agriculture these guys are going to be hearing about,” said moderator Larry Combest, former chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture.

The 2018 Farm Bill was the topic of this year's summit.

The agriculture committee will be hearing about issues from other parts of the country including tax reform, environmental regulations, and water and land use restrictions, he said.

“All of those are very important to you,” Combest told the audience. “If you can’t get your message through or you can’t get it through effectively, then all of the work you may have done may fall on deaf ears or no ears.”

Read on...

City officials trying to set the foundations for a new bridge

Del Rio city officials will travel to Mazatlan, Mexico at the end of the month to meet with local port officials and discuss routing goods through Del Rio, which could lead to a need for a second international bridge.

During Thursday night’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce meeting, Mayor Robert Garza said he will drive to Mazatlan the week of August 21 with City Manager Henry Arredondo, International Bridge Board members, and Acuña dignitaries to meet with Mazatlan port officials about rerouting imports from busier port of entries through Del Rio to increase both Del Rio and Acuna’s economies.

COGA 29th Annual Energy Summit 

The Energy Summit proudly enters its 29th year with a focus on “Cleaner, Better, Further, Safer”. Over three days, our speakers will explore the industry’s commitment to a cleaner energy future, strategies employed to position companies for better success, technological advances that take us further to energy security, and continuing implementation of practices that keep our industry safer than ever before. Register HERE

Heartland Expressway Annual Meeting 2017

You’re invited to attend the Heartland Expressway Association’s Annual Meeting in Alliance, NE Friday, August 18, 2017 at Noon. We’re excited to have Nebraska US Senator Deb Fischer on hand to deliver the keynote address. Senator Fischer serves as the chairman of Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and has been a champion of innovative, long-term solutions for highway infrastructure funding.

Please RSVP by August 11th to Daniel Bennett at or 308-436-6584 and feel free to forward the invitation to others. Thank you for your time and we hope to see you in Alliance on August 18th!

Upcoming Events


August 18 - Heartland Expressway Annual Meeting, Alliance, NE

August 22-24 - COGA 29th Annual Energy Summit

September 12 - Quarterly Ports-to-Plains Board Meeting, Lubbock, TX

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

Joe Kiely
Vice President of Operations
PO Box 9
Limon, CO 80828
P: 719-740-2240
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: 701-523-6171

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