Extension of I-27/Ports to Plains Corridor
This section will become a regular part of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance newsletter. It will be designed to help our members and others to better understand the current status of and the opportunities presented by the Extension of the 1-27/Ports-to-Plains Corridor in Texas.
The I-27/P2P corridor is viewed as a gateway for commerce with the potential to redirect traffic from congested corridors across Texas. Planned and programmed projects aim to:
- Increase corridor capacity and enhance safety;
- Reduce congestion at ports of entry along the Texas-Mexico border by dispersing freight to multiple border crossings (in addition to the heavily-used Laredo crossings);
- Provide travel alternatives to the state’s most congested corridors located through major metropolitan areas (e.g. I-35);
- Provide alternatives to other congested north-south corridors that run through major metropolitan areas (e.g. I-25);
- Help to facilitate trade between the U.S., Mexico and Canada; and
- Provide facilities that can effectively meet the traffic volumes and vehicle types that are traversing the corridor.
From Initial Assessment Report – Extension of the I-27/Ports-to-Plains Corridor, November 2015
Nebraska Announces Funding for Expansion of the Heartland Expressway
The Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) and Governor Ricketts announced today $300 million in transportation construction investments, including U.S. 26 from Minatare to U.S. 385, as a 4-lane divided highway, as well as the design of 12 projects, including U.S. 385 from Alliance to Chadron, as a Super 2, and planning of two others. Funded through the Build Nebraska Act (BNA) and the Transportation Innovation Act (TIA), and championed by the Governor, these projects will improve safety on our highways, promote economic growth throughout the state –and fulfill the vision of former Governor Kay Orr in 1988 to expand Nebraska’s Expressway System. NDOR has committed construction on all projects will begin by 2024.
Construction U.S. 26 from Minatare to U.S. 385, as a 4-lane divided highway has an estimated project cost of $60M. This project was selected because:
- Completes a Gap in the System: Currently, there is an 18-mile stretch of two-lane highway between two sections of US 26 that are already four-lane highway or are planned to be upgraded to four-lane highway.
- Regional and Local Support: This project is part of what is commonly known as the Heartland Expressway Corridor – a project that stakeholders have long stressed the importance of completing.
- Federally Designated High Priority Corridor: The Heartland Expressway Corridor serves as the middle section of the Great Plains International Trade Corridor, which extends from Mexico to Canada. Given its significance for trade and freight transport, it’s one of four federally designated High Priority Corridors that comprise the Ports-to-Plains Alliance.
Design of U.S. 385 from Alliance to Chadron, as a Super 2 for 59 miles.
- Regional and Local Support: NDOR will begin design work for a Super 2 on this 59-mile stretch. A Super 2 is a two-lane roadway with paved shoulders and additional passing lanes. Passing lanes will improve safety where truck traffic exists and is growing.
- Federally Designated High Priority Corridor
The Heartland Expressway Association is extremely happy to learn that our priorities for the next phases of the 4-lane highway mirror those of the NE Department of Roads. Having the Minatare to U.S. Hwy 385 section listed as a construction project by 2024 assures the completion of the remaining 18 miles needed to complete the 4-lane portion from Kimball to Alliance. We are also pleased that the 59 miles from Alliance to Chadron will be added to the design list as at least a Super 2 configuration, which assures that it will be in line for funding at some point in the future. Our experience in working with the NDOR on this new prioritization process allowed us to have a direct input into that selection. We look forward to continuing that work.
HEA would like to thank not only the NDOR Director Schneweis, but also Governor Ricketts, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer and members of the NE Legislature including Senator Al Davis of the 43rd District, Senator John Stinner of the 48th district and Senator Ken Schilz of the 47th District for their long-time support of this project.
Project Announcement Handout
New BNA/TIA Projects Map & List
Fact Sheet: US 26 from Minatare to US 385
Fact Sheet: US 385 from Alliance to Chadron
The next president should make infrastructure spending a priority
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…
U.S. must recommit to federal highway program
Commentary by Henry Cisneros and Suzanne Shank
We are seeing more and more states taking proactive steps to address transportation funding challenges. In 2015 and 2016, more than a dozen states including Texas are raising additional revenue for transportation.
Sixty years ago, the United States embarked on one of the most ambitious and successful undertakings in the history of the federal government. In June 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal Highway Act, which created what we have come to know as the Interstate Highway System. A vast network made up of some 47,000 miles of roads, the system has transformed our nation economically, culturally and geographically.
The system, which took decades to build, fundamentally altered where and how Americans live. Suburbs were born, new industries were created and the shipment of goods by truck over long distances radically changed almost every sector of the economy. In 1960, with the system in its infancy, Americans drove approximately 7.19 trillion highway miles per year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation; in 2014, that number had risen to 30.25 trillion.
It was not just the potential economic boost that convinced Eisenhower to champion the federal highway program. As a former general who had led U.S. forces in Europe during World War II, President Eisenhower believed a highway system was essential for our national defense. With the threat of the Cold War, Eisenhower argued the military needed to be able to move equipment quickly over long distances and civilians might need to evacuate large areas on short notice. Read on…
Montana Governor: Shoring up state's infrastructure job one for 2017 Legislature
Like many others attending the 107th Montana Association of Counties conference in Billings on Wednesday, Gov. Steve Bullock helped himself to some of the freebies offered to attendees.
Before addressing county commissioners from around the state, Bullock held aloft a four-way screwdriver provided to attendees by Stahly Engineering & Associates, which has offices in Bozeman and Helena.
Bullock said Montana’s county commissioners are more fortunate than the nation’s 50 governors.
“We never get these at the National Governors Association,” he said.
Bullock told commissioners, who are meeting at the Billings Hotel & Convention Center, that the state’s infrastructure “needs our immediate attention.”
After falling short by one vote during the 2015 session and vetoing a Republican infrastructure bill in 2013, Bullock has proposed a 2017 bill calling for $200 million in cash and bonds to be spent on infrastructure needs across the state. Read on…
Two Years Into Oil Slump, U.S. Shale Firms Are Ready to Pump More
U.S. production began inching up in July, shortly after oil prices rebounded to $50-a-barrel territory. Producers quickly put 100 rigs back to work this summer.
When oil prices began to plunge two years ago due to a global glut of crude, experts predicted U.S. shale producers would be the losers of the resulting shakeout.
But the American companies that revolutionized the oil and gas business with hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling are surviving the carnage largely unbowed.
Though the collapse in prices caused a wave of bankruptcies, total U.S. oil production has only fallen by about 535,000 barrels a day so far this year compared with 2015, when it averaged 9.4 million barrels, according to the latest federal data.
Few predicted that in the fall of 2014, when Saudi Arabia signaled that it wouldn’t curb its output to put a floor under crude prices. Oil pundits concluded that a brutal culling would force higher-cost players known as marginal producers—a group that includes shale drillers—out of the market. Read on…
Alberta promotes investment, strengthens ties with Mexico
Alberta’s Energy Minister will sign a new agreement with Mexico’s federal government that will strengthen relations with an important trading partner and better enable the sharing of best practices.
Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd will travel to Mexico City from September 29 to October 3. While there, she will promote Alberta companies, new opportunities for investment, and will meet with businesses and the Mexican government on a variety of energy-related policies. Mexico has also requested that the Minister be the guest of honour at a renewable energy event in Mexico City.
The Minister will set the stage for the upcoming Mexico Midstream Mission that takes place October 4-5. More than 20 Alberta midstream energy companies will meet with Mexican officials and businesses to discuss opportunities in the development of energy infrastructure across North America.
“Our government is committed to opening new markets for Alberta resources and our companies. Albertans have extensive experience in responsible and sustainable energy development and I will advocate for our companies looking to expand to the south.” -- Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, Energy Minister
America needs decision makers that support energy policies that will create jobs, grow our economy, and increase America's energy security. Looking for a simple way to make your voice heard… to elected officials… even to your community. Just go to Energy Citizens’ website.
Joe Kiely, Ports-to-Plains Alliance Vice President of Operations, recently submitted the following comment to Energy Citizens with the goal of supporting energy policies that will create jobs, grow our economy, and increase America's energy security
Improved infrastructure and increased oil and gas development is key to our rural and urban economic success. It is imperative that we have access to affordable energy and a safe way to transport that energy be that roads, railways or pipelines. This focus will also help to create thousands of jobs that we desperately need to rebuild our economy. Not to mention, domestic production will decrease our dependence on foreign oil from hostile nations that do not have our best interests in mind. We need to take care of ourselves. The great news is we have the ability to do just that by supporting improved infrastructure and gas and oil development for this great nation.
Being part of Energy Citizens has been a great way to help advocate for our energy independence. It is easy to stay updated on current energy issues and allows me to easily share this information with our Ports-to-Plains Alliance membership and take action. If we are all working together towards the same goal, we can each make a difference and bring us closer to a secure energy future for America and help bring us one step closer to energy independence.