Your Connection

to the

Ports-to-Plains Region

December 5, 2017

Volume Number 15
Issue Number 24

One of the key arguments for improving the Ports-to-Plains Corridor and extending Interstate 27 is to accommodate rapidly growing north-south freight movement and connecting our communities with our top trade partners in Canada and Mexico. This week’s newsletter has a link to a report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the impact a withdrawal from NAFTA would have on each state. The analysis shows that agriculture would be a big loser and many Ports-to-Plains states would be hard hit were the U.S. to pull out of the trade agreement. We also have information on two upcoming opportunities to learn more about trade opportunities with Canada. Two upcoming programs presented by the U.S. Commercial Service are a great opportunity for economic developers to meet with Canadian companies and investors looking to expand into new U.S. markets.

Last week I attended a town hall meeting with the three state legislators that represent the Lubbock area, Sen. Charles Perry, Rep. John Frullo and Rep. Dustin Burrows, who have all been great supporters of Ports-to-Plains. This was a great chance to hear about the issues the legislators see as priorities and for constituents to tell their representatives about their own priorities. Several lawmakers will be holding similar meetings throughout the region in the coming months, as well as campaign stops. I would encourage you to attend every such event that you can and be sure to let your elected officials know that Ports-to-Plains and, for those in Texas, extending Interstate 27 are top priorities. Your comments have an impact. Even if your legislator is supportive of Ports-to-Plains, it is important to remind them it is a top priority for our region and thank them for their support.

 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.


U.S. Chamber of Commerce Analyzes State-by-State Impact of NAFTA Withdrawal 

As the NAFTA negotiation continues, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a study analyzing and ranking the state-by-state impact of a U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA.  The Chamber found that many of the states that would suffer the most are agriculture states.  Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) asked President Trump for a meeting on NAFTA to discuss its impact on U.S. farmers.  Chairman Roberts has expressed his desire to work with President Trump to achieve the President’s goals in NAFTA but he has also clarified that announcing a timeline for withdrawal from NAFTA “is not the answer.”  According to Chairman Roberts, the agriculture community must demonstrate "what this truly means in terms of lost jobs, lost opportunity, especially given the rough patch we're in."  Read the study from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce here, and read more comments from Chairman Roberts here.

How to Keep NAFTA Dressed for Success

Textile and apparel executives, and their U.S. workers, are nervously eyeing the ongoing negotiations to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Concerns around possible job losses in this sector are running high and rising.

If you had read those statements in the mid-1980s, you might assume this sector was hoping trade talks would unravel, due to threats of foreign competition. Some still believe that to be the case, but they are mistaken.

The reality is that the textile and apparel industry needs NAFTA. And needs it badly.

What a difference a generation makes.

To understand why NAFTA helps the U.S. textile and apparel industry compete, you need only understand one number: 97.

That is the percentage of clothes that are purchased every year by Americans and produced offshore. We still make clothes here in the United States — primarily for fast turns, for the military, and for special programs — and we always will. But the bulk of our clothing is sewn offshore.

Asian countries own a good chunk of that 97%. Six of our top ten clothing suppliers are in Asia with China leading the way at about 40% market share. But the other four top suppliers are in the Western Hemisphere, and they include Mexico — one of our two NAFTA partners.

Read on...

Wind power blows past coal in Texas

Wind power, by one important measure, surpassed coal last week to become the second-largest electricity source in Texas, yet another milestone in the state's march toward greater reliance on renewable energy.

When a 155-megawatt wind farm in West Texas began commercial operation this month, it pushed the state's wind power capacity to more than 20,000 megawatts, surpassing 19,800 megawatts of capacity from coal-fired power plants, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which oversees 90 percent of the state's grid. One megawatt is enough to power 200 homes on a hot Texas day.

While ERCOT still gets most of its power from natural gas and coal, wind power generation now accounts for 15 percent of the power mix — up from just 2 percent a decade ago.

The imminent shutdown of three coal-fired power plants owned by Dallas-based Vistra Energy and the loss of their 4,000 megawatts of capacity will further tip the scales in wind's favor, said Joshua Rhodes, a research fellow at the University of Texas' Energy Institute in Austin. In October, Vistra announced the pending shutdowns of its Monticello, Big Brown and Sandow coal plants, triggering the loss of more than 800 jobs and the closure of two coal mines. The shutdown of the Vistra plants are the first retirements of coal-fired power plants since Texas deregulated power markets in 2002.

"We are used to seeing wind numbers add, add, add," Rhodes said. "We are not used to seeing coal plants' numbers decreasing."

Read on...

Attract Manufacturing Foreign Direct Investment 

 2018 SelectUSA Canada Conference

New Ports-to-Plains Billboard


Be sure and keep an eye out for the brand new Ports-to-Plains billboard located on Interstate 27 in Abernathy, Texas!

 Extension of I-27/Ports to Plains Corridor

The proposed extension of Interstate 27 connects major West Texas population and economic centers including Amarillo, Lubbock, Midland-Odessa and San Angelo in addition to numerous smaller communities.

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


January 23, 2018 - Quarterly Ports-to-Plains Board Meeting, Amarillo, Texas

February 15, 2018 - SelectUSA Manufacturing Forum, Toronto, Ontario

April 12, 2018 - SelectUSA Canada 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