Your Connection

to the

Ports-to-Plains Region

September 26, 2017

Volume Number 15
Issue Number 19

The Ports-to-Plains 20th Annual Conference was a great success. It was great to see many of our longtime supporters including some of our original board members, as well as our newer PTP partners. The annual conference is a good time to reflect on our success, assess where we stand and get re-energized to take on the challenges ahead.

 Doug Griffiths’ keynote address “13 Ways to Kill Your Community” was certainly a favorite from the comments I received. It addressed many of the challenges that our rural communities face, and highlighted the common issues we share whether we are in Eastern Alberta or West Texas and everywhere else in the Ports-to-Plains region. We received several inquiries from attendees interested in purchasing additional copies of Doug’s book or having him speak in their communities. You can find that information online at .

 Our Founders’ Panel with Randy Neugebauer, Robert Duncan, Tommy Gonzalez and Tom Martin was another session that many people told me they enjoyed. As someone who has been involved with this project almost from its inception, and has worked on it every day for many years, it is good to step back and look at the original mission for Ports-to-Plains. It was good to share stories and more importantly learn from the success of those founders. We owe a tremendous amount to their vision, drive and tenacity.

 Finally the West Texas Mayors’ panel certainly demonstrated that our leaders today share the same commitment, vision and talent to lead us to new heights.

 Of course thanks to the staff and board of directors for their hard work and dedication, and to our members and sponsors for making it all possible.

 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.


Interstate 27 Was the Focus at the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Annual Conference in Lubbock, Texas

Community leaders from across North America’s energy and agriculture heartland gathered in Lubbock, Texas last week to celebrate 20 years of progress on the Ports-to-Plains corridor and look forward to the next milestones, including extending Interstate 27.

Among the speakers and conference attendees were elected officials, members of the Texas Department of Transportation and other transportation groups from across the country. Four West Texas mayors spoke on a panel discussion to make their plea. The discussion was booked as “Efforts to Create a Major Milestone.”

Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope led the panel with Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson, San Angelo Mayor Brenda Gunter and Big Spring Mayor Larry McLellan. Pope talked about how extending I-27 will improve communities and what needs to happen to get it done. The mayors talked about the benefits of trade and commerce flowing through their West Texas communities, plus the business development it would expect to create.

Another highlight of the conference was a panel discussion featuring some of the founders of the Ports-to-Plains Coalition. Former Congressman Randy Neugebauer, Texas Tech Chancellor, Robert Duncan, and El Paso City Manager Tommy Gonzalez, who all played key roles at the inception of Ports-to-Plains, reflected on the challenges they overcame and noted the accomplishments of the organization over the last 20 years.

Economist Dr. Ray Perryman noted that the extension of Interstate 27 would have a tremendous impact on boosting the region’s economy and economic competitiveness. In highlighting the importance of interstate highways, Perryman noted the U.S. economy today would be twenty-five percent smaller without the interstate system. Perryman also said there is a thirty-two percent annual return on investment in interstate highways.

"The commitment we've seen over twenty years through our membership, staying committed to the project and then also the growth, as well, speaks to the commitment and importance it is to the whole region and why it's important for everyone to continue pushing forward. We have a lot of accomplishments, but we still have a way to go,” said Michael Reeves, President of Ports-to-Plains. 

A line up of speaker presentations and full list of sponsors are available online at

KCBD News Channel 11 Coverage

FOX 34 News Coverage

Lubbock Avalanche Journal Article 1

Lubbock Avalanche Journal Article 2

House committee chair says US must explore all options to improve infrastructure 

As the conversation around U.S. infrastructure increasingly turns to the dire need for new and innovative methods, leaders from across the nation gathered Monday at Texas A&M to discuss creating more efficient and cost-effective solutions.

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pennsylvania, who serves as chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, was one of two keynote speakers at the National Symposium on the Barriers and Opportunities for Infrastructure Renewal hosted on campus.

Shuster said with $1 trillion of estimated spending needed to revitalize an aging infrastructure system, he believes the government cannot afford to leave any option unexplored.

He said infrastructure is both vital to the prescribed mission of the federal government and one of a few truly bipartisan issues, and he and his committee are dedicated to making progress.

"One of the few things in Congress that I think we can come together on is on infrastructure," Shuster said. "We work very closely with our Democratic colleagues to get to a place where they can support these [initiatives]."

Thoughts on how the challenges facing infrastructure could be addressed throughout the event -- which featured input from transportation and infrastructure experts in academia and industry as well as government -- included streamlining the process of environmental regulations and testing, increasing the gasoline tax to help offset more fuel-efficient vehicles, allowing for more experimentation with new methods and having a designated leader to spearhead coordination.

Read on...

Canadian-owned Businesses Operate in 434 of 435 U.S Confressional Districts


Ottawa, September 22, 2017 – Canadian-owned companies have operations in all but one of the 435 congressional districts in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to an analysis of Canada’s economic footprint in the United States.

The analysis identified a total of 7,705 Canadian-owned businesses across 434 congressional districts. The only jurisdiction that appears to lack an identifiable Canadian business presence is Kentucky’s 5th congressional district.

The Business Council of Canada gathered the data to demonstrate, at the local level, how many Canadian companies have operations in the United States and how much each state and district sells to Canada. “We want to make sure that members of Congress understand the degree to which their own constituents depend on – and benefit from – the Canada-U.S. partnership,” said The Honourable John Manley, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Business Council of Canada.

The Business Council of Canada is a non-profit, non-partisan organization composed of the chief executives and entrepreneurs of 150 leading Canadians companies, in every region of the country and every industry sector.

The Business Council is today making the data publicly available in the form of an interactive map on its website. Users can click on individual states or congressional districts to look up the annual value of that area’s goods and services exports to Canada, the largest export industries and the names of Canadian companies with operations in each district. Users can also search using the names of individual Canadian companies or U.S. elected officials – including governors, senators and members of the House of Representatives.

Interactive Map

Abbott makes mid-term shift in TxDOT leadership

San Antonio banker J. Bruce Bugg, Jr., appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott to the Texas Transportation Commission in 2015, has been named chairman of the five-member panel that oversees the Texas Department of Transportation. 
Bugg succeeds Tryon Lewis, a former state representative and district judge from Odessa. The switch is unusual in that it comes in the middle of both of their six-year terms, and because Abbott appointed both men to the commission.

It was not immediately clear Tuesday why Abbott made the switch. The Abbott news release announcing it had just two sentences, along with a short bio of Bugg. Abbott’s office did not provide further comment.

“I can guarantee you that it’s not, ‘Tryon, you didn’t do a good job,’ ” said state Rep. Joe Pickett, an El Paso Democrat who formerly chaired the House Transportation Commission and was close to Lewis, a Republican, during the commissioner’s seven years in the House. “Tryon’s been one of the most active, involved chairmen since I’ve been in the Legislature. But I also know that Bugg has a closer relationship with the governor.”

Lewis, whose term does not expire until 2021, will continue to serve on the commission, said TxDOT spokesman Bob Kaufman.

Read On...

TAMIU holds 24th Annual Logistics and Manufacturing Symposium

LAREDO, Texas (KGNS) - Dozens of leaders from the Logistics and Manufacturing industry gathered at TAMIU for the 24th Annual Logistics and Manufacturing Symposium.

The event brought the topic of trade in the gateway city.

One of the panels included Congressman Henry Cuellar and Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute.

The two both discussed energy renaissance in North America.

Cuellar says the panel focused on the connection between trade, and oil and gas.

Others that spoke at the symposium were representatives from the Woodrow Wilson Center and from the U.S. Office International Trade.

Full Report...

*Ports-to-Plains was represented by Vice President of Membership and Marketing, Duffy Hinkle

Tom Green County certified as Work Ready Community


Tom Green County has been named an ACT Work Ready Community, a nationally recognized certification that only one other county in Texas has achieved.

Bridging the gap between workers seeking employment and employers seeking skill-specific workers, the certification will play a major role in the city’s future economic growth, said Roland Peña, San Angelo’s economic development director.

Individuals become certified by taking a three-part test, which serves as a screening process for employers and identifies potential employees' skills in applied mathematics, locating information and reading for information.

“There are a percentage of jobs you would qualify for depending on what level you score,” Peña said. The jobs range from landscaper to psychiatrist, he said, with bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels.

For the community to become certified, Peña said community representatives from different industries formed a committee that has been working together over the course of the past year, attending an ACT academy and advertising the program throughout the county. They had to recruit enough individuals to take the test, as well as enough businesses to participate.

Read on... 

Urge The Ports-to-Plains

Acuña, Coah.- The renewal of the Free Trade Agreement will bring new challenges and opportunities for the industrial sector, hence the importance of consolidating the Port To Plain project, which will come to detonate the progress of Ciudad Acuña, the first step will be to improve the road infrastructure that connects the municipality with the rest of the country.

This was stated by Jose Enoch Castellano Férez, national treasurer of the National Chamber of Industry and Transformation, who said that it is precisely the lack of air, road and rail infrastructure, which has slowed Acuna's progress despite the importance it has geographically the municipality by its condition of border.

The renewal of the FTA, he said, is an opportunity to rethink the development model that Mexico has followed for exporting companies, and represents an opportunity to expand trade relations with countries such as Thailand, China, Peru, Colombia, Singapore, Malaysia and European countries.


Extension of I-27/Ports to Plains Corridor

A future Interstate designation will be a significant new economic development tool for communities along the corridor.  Site selectors for  manufacturers, warehousing and distribution recommend sites along an interstate highway and  travel services businesses such as hotels, truck stops, convenience stores and restaurants, which can have a dramatic impact on small communities will also expand.  This will create much needed new jobs and expanded tax base in rural West Texas.

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) 

Upcoming Events


 October 4 - 2017 Canadian Inland Ports Conference, Calgary, Alberta

 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

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