Your Connection to the

Ports-to-Plains Region

March 14, 2017

Volume Number 15
Issue Number 05

 

This continues to be an exciting time for Ports-to-Plains. In the Texas Legislature Rep. Dustin Burrows has filed House Bill 869, and its companion bill Senate Bill 1034 filed by Sen. Charles Perry, would direct TxDOT to conduct a full feasibility study on extending Interstate 27 to Laredo. Ports-to-Plains is an active participant in the public outreach section of the Texas Freight Mobility Plan revisions that are currently underway. And our staff visit to Washington, DC shows that the excitement is carrying over to our federal delegation. The members of congress and staff that we met with were very positive about our message of improving transportation infrastructure, and supporting the trade that is vital to our region’s economic success.

Thanks to the broad support from our Ports-to-Plains members and supporters, we see momentum building for continued success. You can still continue to make your voice heard. When your legislators are in town be sure to tell them you support Ports-to-Plains and the extension on Interstate 27. You can also still sign on to our letter supporting the extension of I-27 at our website portstoplains.com.

 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.

Contents


 Extension of I-27/Ports to Plains Corridor

An additional cost saving option is associated with the primarily east-west, recently designated, Interstate 14 which includes a proposed segment that overlaps the Ports-to-Plains Corridor between Midland-Odessa and San Angelo, presenting an opportunity for that segment to be jointly designated as Interstate 14 and Interstate 27.

See more about the opportunity to support the Interstate 27 extension during the Texas Freight Workshop below.

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)


Successful Staff Visits in Washington DC

Last week five persons representating Ports-to-Plains Alliance met with eighteen (18) U.S. House of Representatives Offices and fourteen (14) U.S. Senate Offices in preparation for the April 24-28th Port-to-Plains Alliance Fly-in. Michael Reeves, President; Duffy Hinkle, Vice President of Membership and Marketing; and Joe Kiely, Vice President of Operations represented Ports-to-Plains.  Cal Klewin, Executive Director represented the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway and Deb Cottier, Director, represented the Heartland Expressway.

As you can see from the listing below and the downloadable document the emphasis was on the needs of rural transportation infrastructure.  The message to work towards solutions that address the Highway Trust Fund insolvency together with a significant infrastructure investment plan that extends beyond private dollars were well received by our federal delegations.

Additionally the importance, especially for our agriculture economies, in approaching trade agreements was equally well received.  The federal delagation in Texas also received an update on the efforts to expand Interstate 27.  Having your voice with us in April will strengthen that messaging.

Download Complete Handout

UPDATE ON STATUS OF CORRIDOR

PORTS-TO-PLAINS ALLIANCE CAUCUS

FAST ACT IMPLEMENTATION

HIGHWAY TRUST FUND INSOLVENCY

  • Highway Trust Fund is insolvent--current user revenues cannot support current spending
  • FAST ACT contained another temporary general fund bailout
  • A long-term, sustainable HTF fix is a P-to-P priority 
  • Congress should look for opportunities in 115th Congress to fix the HTF
    • Possible legislative vehicles: big tax reform bill, modest tax reform bill, infrastructure bill, any omnibus-type budget/spending bill 
  • P-to-P urges Congress to fix the HTF this year
  • P-to-P supports new highway user fees or increased user fees (e.g., gas tax increase) dedicated to HTF
  • P-to-P will speak out in support of Members who take the tough vote to fix the HTF by increasing user fee revenues

TRUMP INFRASTRUCTURE PROPOSAL

  • President Trump made infrastructure a priority before the election.
    • $1 trillion over 10 years in “core infrastructure”
    • Deficit-neutral
    • No federal funding
    • Instead, private sector financing incentivized by tax credits
  • His “state-of-the-union” address last week reaffirmed his commitment to a $1 trillion initiative to build a 21st century infrastructure 
    • One noteworthy change: the President indicated that public and private funding would be needed 
  • P-to-P supports increased investment in infrastructure
  • One major concern: as originally proposed, the Trump plan would not help rural areas
    • By relying on private sector financing, a project will need to be able to generate a revenue stream to pay back the private investors so that they can recoup their investments
    • On transportation projects, this means tolls 
    • Typically, only high-volume projects in dense urban areas will be able to generate sufficient revenue through tolling 
    • This means projects in rural areas will generally not qualify because rural projects won’t be able to generate sufficient revenue to repay investors
    • This must be fixed
  • The original Trump Infrastructure Initiative must be modified to ensure that rural areas receive their fair share of the investment
  • There should be an emphasis on multi-state corridors connecting rural America to urban centers and the 21st century national economy It will most likely take a public investment component to make this happen
    • The President’s mention of public funding in his speech is a step in right direction
  • Please urge the House/Senate leadership and the House T&I Committee/Senate EPW Committee leadership to ensure that rural areas receive a fair share of any increased infrastructure investment and that it be targeted to multi-state rural corridors

IMPORTANCE OF TRADE TO THE ECONOMY

  • Canada and Mexico were America's two top export markets
    • P-to-P states have seen an 89% increase to Mexico and 52% increase to Canada in the value of truck exports since 2004
    • $1.3 trillion worth of trade depends on Canada and Mexico
  • Agriculture relies on exports 
    • U.S. agricultural exports are projected to account for 32.6% of gross cash earnings in 2016 
    • The top three markets for U.S. agricultural exports are China, Canada, and Mexico … are expected to account for 47% of total U.S. agricultural exports in FY2016
  • As Trade and Trade Agreements come before Congress, please carefully evaluate the impact on U.S. exporters.

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


Ports-to-Plains Washington DC Fly-in scheduled for April 24-28, 2017

The Board of Directors urges each of its members to send participants to this event. With the potential of the Trump infrastructure proposal of $1 trillion in infrastructure investment moving quickly, this year will be a one-time opportunity to make our case for rural transportation projects.

The general schedule is as follows:

  • Monday, April 24th – Travel to Washington DC
  • Tuesday, April 25th – Board of Directors Meeting and possible Caucus Event
  • Wednesday, April 26th – U.S. House of Representatives Office Visits
  • Thursday, April 27th – U.S. Senate Office Visits
  • Friday, April 28th – Travel Home

If you wish to participate, please contact Jeri Strong (jeri.strong@portstoplains.com 806-775-3369) for assistance with hotel information.


Port of Wild Horse Business Case Released

The Port of Wild Horse Business Case, undertaken in collaboration with parties on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, concludes a positive case exists for making service improvements at the crossing, including extended hours of operation.

“The business case clearly demonstrates the value in making service changes at the Port of Wild Horse,” said City of Medicine Hat Mayor Ted Clugston. “I appreciate the committee’s hard work to bring this report forward for the benefit of business owners, travelers and the local economy on both sides of the border.”

The report recommends that Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP):

  • move to 13-hour per day service year-round,
  • allow commercial transport seven days a week (currently no commercial transport is allowed on weekends).

“This report confirms that the economic prosperity of Montana and Alberta are intimately connected, and that expanding the hours of operation and services provided at the Port of Wild Horse will grow our economy, add jobs and enhance an already outstanding economic partnership between our two nations,” said Tim Solomon, Mayor of Havre and Co-Chair of the Wild Horse Border Committee. “This project should be on the “must-do” list for the federal governments on both sides of the border.”

Additionally, the report recommends Canadian Port of Wild Horse operations be upgraded to offer full Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) equivalency to match the existing Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) available at the United States Port of Wild Horse.

“The report proposes simple and economically viable strategies to boost capacity for goods to be moved through the Port of Wild Horse,” said City of Medicine Hat Councillor Celina Symmonds and committee Co-Chair. “The research conducted indicates a better level of services and expanded hours of operation will lead to considerably more traffic using the border crossing.”

Read on...

PORT OF WILD HORSE: A BUSINESS CASE FOR SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS


Ports-to-Plains Alliance Urges Colorado Legislature to allow Colorado Voters to Decide on Transportation Funding

The Alliance has already contacted rural legislators in Colorado with the following messaging:

Finding a solution for a long-term funding solution during this legislative session is of significant importance to rural Colorado and the district you represent. The state highway system in rural areas of the state are the most at risk. While urban areas have significant needs in terms of congestion, these areas also have tools including Public-Private Partnerships and Regional Transportation Authorities but these tools do not provide additional funding to maintain the state highway system that extends through the rural areas of Colorado.

Without a solution, the urban areas will approach their local taxpayers to create new revenues using these tools and the opportunity to address the statewide system will be lost for years into the future.

♦♦♦

Colorado: Legislative leaders walk a fine line in proposing a tax increase for roads

Legislative leaders on Thursday called a transportation funding plan that includes a sales tax increase “courageous” given potential blowback from voters and anti-tax groups.

Senate Republican leadership stands directly in the crosshairs of conservative groups like Americans For Prosperity by backing the proposal.

House Bill 1242 calls for a 0.62 percent sales tax increase on top of the state’s 2.9 percent existing levy in order to generate about $677 million per year for transportation projects. It would take voter approval.

Senate Republicans are already divided, with Majority Leader Chris Holbert of Parker tweeting on Wednesday night, shortly after the bill was introduced, “I’ll be a ‘No’ vote.”

But Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City, is standing strong in the face of opposition. He is under no illusions. Grantham is co-sponsoring the bill with House Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver.

When asked whether he is prepared for the conservative backlash, Grantham quipped, “No.”

“This is going to be difficult for our side. There’s no secret about that, this is a difficult issue for us,” the president continued.

“There’s things in here that the speaker and I arm-wrestled over. She won, more often that not.”

House Republicans expressed disappointment that they were not brought into conversations.

“A $677 million dollar tax increase is not the solution to Colorado’s problems and I will aggressively oppose the passage of this bill,” said House Republican Leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock.

Read on...


 

June 13-14, 2017, Denver, CO

TOGETHER DRIVING CHANGE: Telling Our Story

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.


Smith: America Cannot Lose Market Share While Waiting for New Bi-Lateral Trade Agreements

(Nebraska) Third District Congressman Adrian Smith says President Trump’s dislike of multi-lateral trade agreements cannot result in America losing its share of world markets while new bi-lateral agreements are being negotiated.

Smith told KNEB News Friday other countries like Australia are ready to step in where the United States is backing off if new bi-lateral agreements are not negotiated swiftly .

Smith says countries like Japan should be a high priority. He emphasized the Trans Pacific Partnership had a 40% reduction in the Japanese tariff on U.S. beef. Smith says he is working to make sure whatever bi-lateral agreement President Trump negotiates also has a reduction in the tariff.

Smith says he has also told trade officials to be careful in their renegotiation of the NAFTA agreement because it has benefited corn producers, including an important market in Mexico.

Link to Complete Interview


13 Ways: Chapter 8 - Live in the Past

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

13 Ways: Chapter 8 - Live in the Past

Upcoming Events

2017

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
President
5401 N MLK Blvd. #395
Lubbock, TX 79403
P: 806-775-2338
F: 806-775-3981
michael.reeves@portstoplains.com

Duffy Hinkle
Vice President of Membership & Marketing
5401 N MLK Blvd. #395
Lubbock, TX 79403
P: 806-775-3373
F: 806-775-3981
duffy.hinkle@portstoplains.com

Fernando Madero
Vice President of Mexico Operations
Jazmines 123, Torreon Jardin
Torreon, Mexico
P: 011 52 (871) 120 1030
fernando.madero@portstoplains.com

Joe Kiely
Vice President of Operations
PO Box 9
Limon, CO 80828
P: 719-740-2240
F: 719-775-9073
joe.kiely@portstoplains.com

Jeri Strong
Executive Assistant
Ports-To-Plains Alliance
5401 N. MLK Blvd. Ste. 395
Lubbock, TX 79403
P: 806-775-3369
jeri.strong@portstoplains.com

Richard "Buzz" David
Economic and Business Development
5629 NE Foster Rd.
Bainbridge Island, WA  09110
P: 806-678-3160
buzz.david@portstoplains.com

Cal Klewin
Executive Director
Theodore Roosevelt Expressway
PO Box 1306
22 E Broadway
Williston, ND 58802
P: 701-523-6171
cal@trexpressway.com

Deb Cottier
Board of Directors
Heartland Expressway Association
706 West Third St.
Chadron, NE 69337
P: 308-432-4023
dcottier@gpcom.net

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