Your Connection to the

Ports-to-Plains Region

February 21, 2017

Volume Number 15
Issue Number 04


This week is another full newsletter, highlighting activity up and down the corridor. Just looking at my own calendar shows how much is happening in the Ports-to-Plains region. This week the Texas Department of Transportation is holding workshops in Midland and Lubbock to get public input on revisions to the Texas Freight Mobility Plan. This is a great opportunity to let TxDOT know how critical the Ports-to-Plains Corridor and the extension of Interstate 27 are to the region and the state.


At the Texas Capital in Austin, Ports-to-Plains is participating in legislative days for many of our member communities this week. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate the importance of Ports-to-Plains to state legislators by highlighting the importance it plays in their communities.


Orange barrels are an exciting sign of progress and it is great to see construction begin on the northern section of the William Crooker Relief Route in Big Spring. The southern section opened last year, and this new $67 million project will complete the route.


Next week I will be in Camrose, Alberta for the Local to Global Forum hosted by our Alliance Partners, the Eastern Alberta Trade Corridor. This is a great event that highlights the true far-reaching impact of our corridor. More than just building highways, our alliance and the corridor are truly an initiative to build partnerships and develop trade relationships and opportunities.


The following week, Ports-to-Plains staff will be in Washington, DC for meetings with congressional offices to discuss corridor activities and deliver the message that any possible infrastructure program must address the needs of rural America. 

 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.


Extension of I-27/Ports to Plains Corridor

Extending Interstate 27 in Texas is also a cost-effective option.  The Texas Department of Transportation’s Initial Assessment Report on the Extension of I-27/Ports to Plains Corridor estimated that it would cost about $7 billion to upgrade the nearly 1,000 miles of the Ports-to-Plains Corridor from the northern tip of Texas to Laredo.  To extend Interstate-27 approximately 500 miles from Lubbock to Laredo is projected to cost $5.2 billion.  Compare that to the $4.8 billion it cost to rebuild a 28 mile section of Interstate 35 east from Interstate 635 to U.S. Highway 380 in Dallas County.

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)

TxDOT Continues US 87 Relief Route
Construction of route’s Northern section due to start next week

TxDOT contractors on Monday, Feb. 20 are scheduled to begin the first phase of construction on the northern section of the US 87 truck relief route, part of the Ports to Plains Corridor in Howard County. The southern section of the route, the William B. Crooker Memorial Highway, was completed in the summer of 2016.

During the first phase of construction, contractors will be widening the shoulder of US 87 near I-20. Lanes will be restricted to one lane in each direction during this time.

This project will continue the US 87 relief route on the western end of Big Spring from I-20 for approximately eight miles, tying in to FM 700 and US 87 on the north end of Big Spring to complete the full relief route. The route will alleviate congestion issues for downtown Big Spring while facilitating safer, more efficient freight and traffic flow. Travelers will be able to access downtown Big Spring via Business US 87, or continue at speed along the relief route to their destination.

Johnson Bros. Corporation, A Southland Company, of Roanoke, TX was awarded the project in September 2016. The $68 Million northern section will include overpasses at I-20 and also at Union Pacific Rail Road, retaining walls, drainage structures, illumination, and two lanes in each direction with a wide median. An aggressive construction schedule estimates the completion date to be early 2019.

Read on… 

Ports-to-Plains Staff Visiting Washington DC the week of March 6-10, 2017

Representatives from Ports-to-Plains, Heartland Expressway and Theodore Roosevelt Expressway will provide background to Congressional Offices in preparation for the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Fly-in in April when a larger delegation will visit Congressional Offices.

Topics to be included in the discussion are:

  • Rural America and the Trump Infrastructure Concept
  • Fixing the Highway Trust Fund
  • Interstate 27 Expansion in Texas Offices
  • Ports-to-Plains Alliance Caucus
  • Ports-to-Plains Alliance Fly-in in April

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 ( 806-775-3369) for assistance with hotel information.

Texas Freight Workshops

This is an important opportunity to provide your organization and personal support of TXDOT looking at the potential of expanding Interstate 27. Several items from the Texas Freight Mobility Plan can be emphasized in your comments:

  • By 2040 over 73 percent of Texas’ population and 82 percent of the state’s employment is projected to be located within five miles of an interstate
  • The state must focus not only on improving existing facilities, but also on developing future freight corridors to move products to markets and exports
  • Give additional consideration to the extension or designation of other interstate routes. Examples include I-27 and upgrades to portions of US Highway 190 to interstate standards

Midland/Odessa, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
University of Texas of the Permian Basin, CEED Auditorium, 1310 North FM 1788, Midland, Texas 79707

Lubbock, Thursday, Feb. 23, 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Plains Cotton Coop Association, 3301 East 50th St., Lubbock, TX 79404

These workshops are an important opportunity to let TxDOT know that extending I-27 is a top priority for our region. Please register for one of the following workshops by following this link 

Trump Infrastructure Concept

Prepared by Jack Schenendorf, Federal Consultant of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance.

It is critical that the Trump Administration’s Infrastructure Initiative be modified to ensure that rural areas in Colorado and across the Nation are treated fairly.


During the campaign, President Trump promised a "trillion-dollar" program over ten years to rebuild the country’s ailing infrastructure. He said that the program would be "deficit-neutral" by relying on private sector investment fueled by tax credits. To offset the cost of the credits, U.S. corporations would be encouraged to bring home profits that they have parked overseas to avoid taxes, in exchange for a lower tax rate. There are two problems with this approach:

First, it won’t 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. This means that as a general matter projects in rural areas will not qualify because rural projects won’t be able to generate sufficient revenue to repay investors. This is a major problem for rural Colorado and rural America.

Second, it won’t fix the Highway Trust Fund. The Trump Infrastructure Initiative is on top of the FAST Act, which Congress passed last year, authorizing highway and transit programs for five years. In order to fund the FAST Act, Congress had to bail out the HTF with a general fund infusion because it was once again unable to find a long term fix. This is the time to make the HTF, which receives revenue from federal gas and diesel fuels taxes, solvent in the long run.


June 13-14, 2017, Denver, CO


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.

Fischer Highlights New Infrastructure Bill

Modeled on NE Law, Fischer’s “Build USA Infrastructure Act” Offers Solutions to Fund and Build New Projects

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the chairman of the Surface Transportation Subcommittee, today participated in a hearing on congressional oversight for modernizing our nation’s infrastructure system. During the hearing, Fischer highlighted legislation she introduced last week that would strengthen and fund infrastructure projects across the country.

Senator Fischer’s Build USA Infrastructure Act is a new initiative to fund critical transportation infrastructure projects. This legislation would help address the near-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and allow states to exchange a portion of their federal highway dollars for greater control over certain aspects of federal regulatory approval for highway projects.

This bill is modeled after Senator Fischer’s legislative success in developing innovative, sustainable transportation funding solutions in the Nebraska Unicameral.

Read on…

Globalization is Dead – Long Live Globalization

Matthew Rooney
George W. Bush Institute

The outcome of the presidential election marks the end of globalization, at least as we have known it since the Second World War. We must now determine how to preserve the prosperity that globalization has brought while addressing the legitimate social concerns that it has provoked.

During this most recent period of globalization, it was generally taken for granted that increasingly free movement of goods and services would produce economic growth, which would lead to broad prosperity and peace, which in turn would generate political support for still greater economic integration. For six decades, this consensus held and generally proved to be true.

Globalization’s decline

This virtuous circle began to break down in the late ‘90s as the internet began to expose white-collar jobs to international competition. Our persistent trade deficit began to grow again, feeding unease that we were “losing” in the global marketplace. The information revolution reduced manufacturing employment even as manufacturing output grew.

At the same time, international trade and investment increasingly brought people with it. The share of foreign-born persons in the populations of the United States and other industrialized countries increased to levels not seen in a century or more…

Preventing a new Dark Age

With the one-two punch of 9/11 and then the Great Recession, our democratic-capitalist model is on the defensive and the rise of populist leaders and movements around the world suggests that the American-led globalization era has come to an end. What must we do to prevent a 21st century Dark Age?...

Read on…

Five Ways to Think About the Trade Deficit

 From U.S. Chamber of Commerce


Over the years, Americans have read a steady stream of alarmed press accounts of the U.S. trade deficit. In today’s economic debates, it seems to lie at the center of many people’s concerns. Should it?

 In fact, the trade deficit is widely misrepresented. To get a better understanding, it helps to look at the trade balance from different perspectives:

1.   When You Put It in Personal Terms…
2.   When You Look in the Mirror…
3.   When It’s an Echo…
4.   When It Grows or Shrinks…
5.   When It Isn’t Even There…

Read on...

Economic Developers: What Are Site Selectors Saying?

Compare what Site Selectors and Industry are saying and how does that fit into your community economic assets?

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Manufacturing Location

Successful site selection requires attention to both qualitative and quantitative variables. Companies must take into consideration how the potential site’s attributes will affect ongoing costs, profits, product quality, logistics, and the supply chain.

Based on our experience, here are the 10 costliest errors that companies commonly make. These errors can severely and permanently compromise the competitiveness of an expansion or relocation and can cost tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars depending on the size of the project.

Read on…


13 Ways: Chapter 7 - Don't Cooperate

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

13 Ways: Chapter 7 - Don't Cooperate

Upcoming Events


February 22 - Texas Freight Mobility Plan Workshop, Midland, TX

February 23 - Texas Freight Mobility Plan Workshop, Lubbock, TX

March1-3 - 2017 Local to Global Forum, Camrose, AB

March 7-9 - Alliance Staff in Washington, DC

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
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

Fernando Madero
Vice President of Mexico Operations
Jazmines 123, Torreon Jardin
Torreon, Mexico
P: 011 52 (871) 120 1030

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

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

Cal Klewin
Executive Director
Theodore Roosevelt Expressway
PO Box 1306
22 E Broadway
Williston, ND 58802
P: 701-577-8110

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