May 4, 2018

Volume Number 16

 

Issue Number 08

Michael Reeves announced in April that after serving as the president for the Ports-to-Plains Trade Corridor Coalition for fourteen years, he would be pursuing new opportunities. During his years of service to our organization, he developed important relationships with local, state and federal political leaders, transportation departments and grew the organization to include a nine-state, three-country unified effort to develop the corridor.

Ports-to-Plains benefited from Michael’s leadership and initiatives, and he was instrumental in advocating and encouraging the upgrading and completion of over 46% of the corridor to be a far safer, four-lane, divided highway.

We greatly appreciate his time and dedication to the organization and wish him only the best in his future endeavors.

John Osborne, Chairman

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


Messaging to Congress was Loud and Clear

The Ports-to-Plains Alliance successfully completed its Annual Washington DC Fly-in on April 17-19, 2018. Participants included representatives from each of the High Priority Corridors on the National Highway System: Ports-to-Plains, Heartland Expressway and Theodore Roosevelt Expressway.

l-r Chairman John Osborne, John Bariou, Councilman Steve Massengale, Senator Ted Cruz,
County Judge Steve Smith, Christine Allen, Mayor Brenda Gunter, and Mayor Dan Pope

Thank you to the participants: Christine Allen, Workforce Development & Foreign Trade Zone, Lubbock Economic Development Alliance, Lubbock, TX; John Bariou, Ports-to-Plains Alliance Advisory Board; City of San Angelo Development Corporation, San Angelo, TX; Brad Bekkadahl, Secretary, Ports-to-Plains Alliance; Williston, ND City Commissioner; North Dakota State Senator, Williston, ND; Brenda Gunter, Member of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Board of Directors; Mayor, City of San Angelo, TX; Beverly Haggard, Member of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Board of Directors; City Council, Lamar, CO Duffy Hinkle, Vice President of Membership and Marketing, Ports-to-Plains Alliance, Lubbock, TX; Nathan Johnson, Member of the Heartland Expressway Association Board of Directors; City Manager, Scottsbluff, NE; Jeff Kelley, Executive Director, Panhandle Area Development District, NE; Joe Kiely, Vice President of Operations, Ports-to-Plains Alliance, Limon, CO; Cal Klewin, Executive Director, Theodore Roosevelt Expressway, Bowman, ND; Steve Massengale, City Council, Lubbock, TX; John Osborne, Chairman, Ports-to-Plains Alliance; President/CEO, Lubbock Economic Development Alliance, Lubbock, TX; Dan Pope, Member of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Board of Directors; Mayor, Lubbock, TX; Jack Schenendorf, Federal Consultant, Covington & Burling; and Steve Smith, Member of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Board of Directors; County Judge, Sutton County, Sonora, TX.

Over the three days, these fifteen (15) leaders visited with U.S.D.O.T, the Office of the Secretary; Chairman Bill Shuster, PA, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; and Chairman Sam Graves, MO, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. Within the Alliance state meetings were held in twelve (12) Senate offices and eighteen (18) House Offices.

The Alliance urged the Ports-to-Plains Congressional delegation to support the upgrading of the entire Ports-to-Plains Alliance Corridor and to advocate for transportation policies that will improve rural transportation.  In particular, the participants respectfully urged Members to work together on a bipartisan basis to take the following actions:

  • Support Increased Federal Infrastructure Investment
    • Support the increased infrastructure funding ($20 billion total) included in the recent budget agreement for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019.
    • Urge Federal and state officials to prioritize multi-state rural highway corridors.
  • Fix the Highway Trust Fund (HTF)
    • Put the HTF on a sustainable basis by increasing revenues to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.
    • Sustained investment from the HTF is the key to upgrading the NHS, especially multi-state rural highway corridors.
  • Pay For Increased Highway Investment With User Fees (Rather Than General Funds)
    • Support the recommendations of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission to raise motor fuel user fees by 25-cents per gallon over a five-year period.
    • The Alliance will publicly thank, defend and support Members of Congress who make the tough vote to increase HTF user fees.
  • Support the Administration’s Infrastructure Initiative—But Only If Modified To Remove The Bias Against Rural Highways
    • Support increased investment in infrastructure
    • The Administration’s proposal is based on public-private-partnerships (PPPs), which simply do not work on rural highways.  As proposed, rural highways would receive very little, if any, of the $1.5 trillion investment. 
    • Modify the initiative to ensure a level playing field for rural highways, especially multi-state rural highway corridors on the NHS.
  • Support the streamlining provisions in the Administration’s Infrastructure Initiative
    • Goal: reduce the time for approvals/permitting to 2 years.
    • Consider separately from the rest of the Infrastructure Initiative, if necessary.
  • Support Designation of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Corridor
    • IF Congress decides to direct some infrastructure investment to specific projects, ensure that the P-to-P Corridor is one of the projects designated.
  • Support Interstate 27 Extension Feasibility Study
    • The Texas Freight Mobility Plan approved in November, 2017, identified the Ports-to-Plains Corridor / Extension of Interstate 27 from Lubbock to Laredo as a Strategic Freight Project and recommended a full feasibility study.

Link to Cogressional Handout


What Small Businesses Think of the Infrastructure Crisis

Lawmakers heard from industry groups during a hearing Wednesday to examine how small businesses view the infrastructure crisis.

The House Small Business Committee held the hearing with lawmakers looking to address severe issues facing the national infrastructure system. The hearing explored the challenges that small businesses are facing as a result, and how they could be addressed, with a specific focus on surface transportation and access to broadband.

There has been a growing concern over the crumbling roadways, bridge collapses, and failing pipes in our national infrastructure system. The problem impacts both families and businesses across the country, but there is hope with lawmakers looking to address it.

“Our nation faces an infrastructure investment deficit of $2 trillion over the next 10 years,” Marsia Geldert-Murphey, the chief operating officer at W. James Taylor, Inc., said during the hearing. “The investment gap has led to deficient roads and bridges, water main breaks, inadequate ports and inland waterways, late flights, and so much more. Failing to close this infrastructure investment gap brings serious economic uncertainty for small businesses.”

Geldert-Murphey testified on behalf of the American Society of Civil Engineers. The hearing included speakers from several industry groups which represent small businesses in construction, engineering, and other sectors needed to improve infrastructure. Kevin Beyer spoke on behalf of The Rural Broadband Association.
“There appears to be a widespread consensus that broadband is essential infrastructure, and critical to life in modern American,” Beyer, who also works as the general manager for Farmers Mutual Telephone Company, said. “The public policy question that remains is how to best ensure that the service is available, affordable, sufficient, and sustainable in high-cost rural areas that don’t attract private investments on their own.”

Read on… 


Analysis: Raising Federal Fuel Tax Makes Economic Sense

There is a lot of talk lately about increasing the amount of spending on the nation’s infrastructure, especially for roads and bridges. Report after report details why this needs to be done – because our roads and bridges are crumbling and too congested, and there is not enough money to pay for improvements.

How to pay for it, however, is another question. Some in trucking, such as the American Trucking Associations, are calling for an increase in the fuel tax. Of course, there are opponents to this, even in trucking, an industry that relies on roads and bridges like no other. However, the simple fact is that trucking can’t afford not to pay fuel taxes for road projects.

The Infrastructure Funding Plan

To begin with, a little background: More than $1.5 trillion in infrastructure funding has been called for by the Trump administration, while the American Society of Civil Engineers says $2 trillion is needed over the next 10 years just for roads – well short of current funding levels.

Also, the way we pay for federally funded road and bridge projects hasn’t changed over the past 25 years. Yep, the nation’s gas tax is still 18.4 cents per gallon and diesel is at 24.4 cents per gallon. And like everything else in this world, from healthcare and groceries to new vehicles, (whether four wheels or 18), the cost of building and repairing roads and bridges isn’t as cheap as it was in 1993.

The state of the nation’s roads also is costing trucking a lot in terms of traffic congestion. An American Transportation Research Institute study found traffic congestion added up to an increase of more than $22,000 in operational costs for each truck that travels 100,000 miles annually. For the entire trucking industry, that’s $63.4 billion in additional operational costs.

Read on...


The Bakken Is Booming Once Again

 

The Permian has been stealing headlines and analyst attention over the past year, and rightly so, as it’s the only U.S. shale play that continued to grow even when all others suffered during the downturn.

But higher oil prices over the past few months have prompted drillers to grow production not only in the Permian, but also in the older and more developed plays such as the Bakken in North Dakota and Montana.

The Bakken crude oil production has started to grow again and is expected to beat in the first half of 2018 its own production record of 1.23 million bpd from December 2014.

The Bakken was one of the first U.S. shale basins in which drillers started to pump oil via fracking. Its advantage is that the geology is better known than that of the Permian. Its disadvantage, compared to the Permian, is that its sweetest spots may have already been pumped out. Another disadvantage is that the Bakken has higher breakevens than the top areas in the Permian, making its production more susceptible to oil price swings.

Read on...


Plainview – Hale County Business Park

New Tenant Announcement fot Plainview-Hale County Business Park

The City of Plainview, Hale County and EDC will announce their first tenant for the new Business Park.

Tuesday, May 8th
2:00 PM. – Press Conference
Plainview-Hale County EDC Building
1906 W. 5th Street
Plainview, TX

Scheduled attendees include Plainview Mayor Wendell Dunlap; Hale County Judge Bill Coleman; EDC President, V.O. Ortega as well as representatives of the tenant company.

Plainview - Hale County Business Park Groundbreaking Ceremony

The Plainview - Hale County Business Park Groundbreaking Ceremony was held on  Monday, April 23rd at 2:00 p.m. at the Business Park located on Interstate 27, north of Highway 194 (Dimmitt Highway). More than hundred people were on hand to hear remarks from Congressman Jodey Arrrington,  U.S. Economic Development Association Representative Trisha Korbas, Mayor Wendell Dunlap, Hale County Judge Bill Coleman, Hale County Commissioners, Plainview City Council and the Plainview/Hale County Economic Development Corporation. 

“I am excited about the opportunity to attract new businesses and jobs to Hale County and my hometown of Plainview,” says Congressman Jodey Arrington. “This is a great example of local, state and federal leaders working together to support rural economics, which are the backbone of this country.”

After the closure of the Cargill beef packing plant in Plainview in February 2013, community leaders met to prioritize what steps would be necessary to recover from the loss of this major employer. The City, County and EDC began discussions to develop a community-owned business park in an effort to diversify the local and regional economy. From there, a joint board was appointed that provided direction and guidance on the layout, construction, and future needs of the Park.

The Plainview - Hale County Business Park was propelled forward when the City and County jointly received a $1,000,000 grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) through the U.S. Department of Commerce to support the construction of a new Business Park.

With the assistance of EDA, the City and County will be able to complete this project sooner than expected. The City and County will be 50/50 partners for the construction and on-going maintenance expenses for the Park.
“The Business Park is an essential element to the future growth and economic well-being of our community,” says Hale County Judge Bill Coleman. “The best part is that it has been a joint effort of the City of Plainview, Hale County and the Plainview/Hale County EDC. The combined efforts of all the parties involved and the commitment of community leaders insures that this park will be a success.”

The Business Park area is zoned for commercial and industrial use and approximately half of the 140-acre industrial park will be sub-divided into five and ten acre tracts; the remaining acreage will not be sub-divided under the current phase and will be reserved for future tenant needs.

Located on the Ports-To-Plains Interstate 27 Trade Corridor which links to Interstate 40, the Business Park location is easily accessible to the East and West Coasts. Located 580 miles from the Port of Houston and 550 miles from the World Trade Port of Entry in Laredo, Texas, the Park is also situated on the BNSF Rail Line which runs adjacent to the southern boundary of the Park and is five miles from the regional airport and 45 miles from Preston Smith International Airport.

On March 1st, bids were opened for construction on the Business Park and early in April, the City Council and Hale County Commissioner’s awarded the construction bid of $3.9 million to LoneStar Dirt & Paving. Construction for the Business Park includes sewer lines, water lines, NTS lines, electrical lines, gas lines, drainage easement and paved roads. Construction timetable for the Park is nine months.

“The Ground Breaking of the Business Park is a historic event for Plainview,” says Mayor Wendell Dunlap. “The partnership between the County, EDC and the City along with a grant from EDA has made this a reality and it will be a great day to celebrate this success. Plainview is moving forward and we invite you to be a part of this celebration.”

The Plainview/Hale County Economic Development Corporation will be the lead agency for interested Business Park tenants.

“The ground breaking of this business park begins an exciting new chapter in the economic development and growth of our community,” says Mike Fox, EDC Executive Director.

For more information about the Plainview – Hale County Business Park, contact Mike Fox, EDC Executive Director at 806.293.8536 (o), 806.685.8942 (c) or michael.fox@plainviewedc.org


Access to International Trade Critical for Ranchers and Farmers

This message could be from any Commissioner of Agriculture across the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Region. Trade agreement and exports are critical to agriculture and many other economic sectors.  We cannot eat all the food we produce and cannot use all the technology we produce. Exporting is critical to our economy.

“The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is vital for the well-being of Colorado and the United States. As U.S. farm incomes decline, the export market is often what keeps our rural communities afloat.”

Let’s Not Take a Step Back

By Don Brown, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture

If you live in Colorado, or if your business is touched in any way by any aspect of the agricultural industry, the ongoing national discussion about trade agreements and import tariffs should mean a lot to you. Colorado farmers and ranchers understand that there are a lot of things like weather and market price fluctuations that we can’t control. But we can make every effort to create new market opportunities and expand the global partnerships we have worked so hard to develop for our products.

We all need to work together to protect our state’s position in international markets. The Colorado farm community can’t afford to wait quietly for Washington to put forth a comprehensive trade strategy.  While we wait, our global competitors are moving aggressively to formalize trade pacts to put them at a competitive advantage to the U.S. It’s not right to force our hard-working farmers and ranchers to stand idle while this political drama plays out.

Colorado ranchers and farmers need free and open access to international markets, as well as trade agreements that help us advance our export relationships. Over the last few years, Colorado agriculture helped lead our state out of the Great Recession, the worst recession since the Great Depression, and a big part of that was our ability to trade with over 100 countries who purchase Colorado food and agricultural products.  Exports of food and agricultural products from Colorado have quadrupled in the past 20 years.

Agriculture is one of Colorado’s top economic sectors, creating approximately 173,000 jobs in our state.  And it’s not just farm and ranch families impacted by the free trade discussion.  If our markets are shut down, it will impact the dealerships where farmers buy farm equipment, the coffee shops where they eat lunch, the gas stations where they fuel up, and the banks where they do business.  According to the U.S. International Trade Administration, every billion dollars of exports supports more than 5,220 jobs. And every dollar of exports creates an additional $1.14 of economic activity for Colorado citizens.

Read on… 


Mark Your Calendar for the Ports-to-Plains Annual Conference

Mark your calendars! The 21st Ports-to-Plains Alliance Annual Conference has been scheduled for October 30 - November 1, 2018 in Del Rio, Texas and Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico

Stay tuned! More details coming soon!

Upcoming Events

2018

 

May 10, 2018 - Public Meeting on FY 2019-2022 Rural Transportation Improvement Program for the Odessa District, Fort Stockton, TX

May 15, 2018 - Heartland Expressway Association Board Meeting, Brush, Colorado

October 30, 2018 - Ports-to-Plains Alliance Quarterly Board of Directors Meeting, Del Rio, Texas

October 30- November 1, 2018 - 21st Ports-to-Plains Annual Conference, Del Rio, Texas

Ports-to-Plains Alliance Staff

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

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