Your Connection

to the

Ports-to-Plains Region

September 12, 2017

Volume Number 15
Issue Number 18

Today we begin our 20th annual conference in Lubbock, Texas.  The annual conference is always a great time to come together with our members and supporters, celebrate accomplishments and learn information that will help us progress as we move forward.  It is special that this is our 20th conference.  As someone who attended our first conference in Amarillo it is exciting to see that our members have maintained their commitment to the vision of Ports-to-Plains founders, and are working just as hard today as we did in the earliest days of the organization.  I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has contributed to the success of this organization over the past 20 years – board members, staff, sponsors, members, legislators and all of our supporters.  The key to Ports-to-Plains progress has been the strong unified support of all of you. 

 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.



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


Begins Tonight at 5:00pm with a 20th Anniversary Ribbon Cutting

and Opening Reception at the Overton Hotel & Conference Center!

Registration available at the door for $150   

 President Trump’s visit may give boost to Port to Plains

A four-lane corridor that runs from Canada through Williston and Watford City on down to Laredo, Texas, would be a game changer not just for the Bakken but the nation, serving eight of the top 15 oil-producing states and three of the top seven farm states.

The idea has attracted some attention at the federal level, resulting in an invitation for the Ports to Plains Alliance to make the case for putting the rural America project on the short list for one of President Donald Trump’s large infrastructure packages.

Cal Klewin, executive director of the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association, told the Williams County Commission Tuesday that the invitation came as a result of meeting with staff of the House Transportation Committee and Senate Environment Workforce.

“They are very aware of the Ports to Plains alliance and what the alliance has been doing,” Klewin said. “We have been invited to send a letter to the Trump administration suggesting that the Ports to Plains Alliance states should be considered for one of the larger packages in the infrastructure package. That was kind of exciting.”

The letter is already being drafted and will be sent both to the federal administration and Trump. “We are staying on top of that,” Klewin said.

Read on... 

Highway Trust Fund’s Tax Receipts Flatten in Fiscal 2017 While Traffic Sets Record Highs

Total collections of federal excise taxes for the Highway Trust Fund flattened in the first 10 months of the latest fiscal year, the Treasury Department has reported, even as traffic volume on U.S. roads continues to climb to ever-higher record levels.

The trends suggest what transportation investment advocates have long warned against – that the current structure of various highway user taxes in the trust fund cannot be counted on to keep up with steadily growing demand on the nation's roadway infrastructure.

In its July monthly budget statement, the Treasury said HTF excise tax collections net of refunds reached $31.712 billion for October through July, slightly below the $31.830 collected at the same point a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the Federal Highway Administration reported that vehicle miles traveled on all the nation's roads increased by 1.6 percent for the first six months of the 2017 calendar, for another all-time high after another annual record high in 2016.

It has long been clear that the HTF excise tax receipts fall far short of what Congress authorizes to spend from that fund each year on federal highway and transit programs, an imbalance that has prompted lawmakers to repeatedly bridge the structural gap with general funds.

The current five-year surface transportation law, for instance, transferred $70 billion into the trust fund from general resources, paid for partly by drawing on an unrelated capital surplus at the Federal Reserve.

Because of that trend, transportation industry groups have been calling for Congress and the Trump administration to address the long-term solvency risks to the government's largest infrastructure fund by finding additional dedicated funding that would put the HTF back on solid financial footing.

Read on...

NAFTA's Impact On Cattle, Protein Trade


Trade representatives of the United States, Mexico and Canada declared “progress” but unveiled no breakthroughs at the most recent second round of talks to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Warnings have been expressed from U.S. agricultural producer organizations about the harm that would come from blowing up the decades-old trade arrangement.

When it comes to cattle imported into the U.S. from Mexico and Canada, combined is just over a million head per year, or about two weeks of cattle slaughter. When looking at all proteins -- beef, pork and poultry -- to stop all trade with Canada and Mexico would put 250 million pounds back on the U.S. market net. Yet it could have a significant impact on the market individually, such as poultry as we export significant amounts to Mexico.

The NAFTA talks are expected to last at least through the end of this year, with venues rotating among the three nations. The just-concluded five-day session in Mexico City followed an initial round last month in Washington. 

ND highway department's biggest project ever opens to traffic

WILLISTON, N.D.—The new $80 million Lewis and Clark Bridge, the single largest infrastructure project bid in North Dakota Department of Transportation history, opened to traffic on Thursday.

The bridge is on U.S. Highway 85 south of Williston and crosses the Missouri River.

"Opening of the Lewis and Clark Bridge marks a major milestone in the history of North Dakota's transportation system," Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford said. "This bridge is a big part of the state's investment in western North Dakota to provide essential transportation for the safety of the traveling public and for the state's economy."

The bridge is part of the U.S. Highway 85 four-lane expansion, which included more than $340 million of state money invested into the bridge, two bypasses and 60 miles of highway from Watford City to Williston.

"U.S. Highway 85 is an essential highway in western North Dakota for the energy industry," says Tom Sorel, director of the NDDOT. "This bridge is a major thoroughfare for traffic with approximately 10,000 vehicles a day utilizing the Lewis and Clark Bridge."

Read on...


Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference Brings Civic Officials, Economic Developers Across North America to Lubbock



The Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA) will welcome 150 civic leaders from across North America for the 20th Annual Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference from Tuesday, Sept. 12 to Thursday, Sept. 14 at the Overton Hotel & Conference Center, 2322 Mac Davis Lane.

During the conference, elected officials, community leaders and economic developers from across the Ports-to-Plains region — which includes nine states, as well as Alberta, Canada, and three Mexican states — will discuss improving economic security and prosperity in the 4,950-plus mile corridor.

“We are excited to celebrate 20 years of progress for the Ports-to-Plains Corridor,” said Michael Reeves, president of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance. “Since we began Ports-to-Plains, we have seen more than $2 billion invested in the corridor, and we are looking forward to great achievements, including the vital extension of I-27.”

During the conference, attendees will have the opportunity to learn from speakers like founding chair of Ports-to-Plains and former U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert Duncan and current State Rep. Dustin Burrows and Sen. Charles Perry.

Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope, Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson, San Angelo Mayor Brenda Gunter and Big Spring Mayor Larry McLellan also will discuss the ongoing I-27 extension efforts. Other topics include recent milestones of international trade and the impact of corridor development to communities.

Since its inception in 2004, LEDA has assisted 140 companies with their expansion or relocation to Lubbock. These companies committed to creating 6,283 jobs and investing more than $531 million in new capital improvements that have resulted in $1.2 billion in cumulative economic impact to the Lubbock area.


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

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


September 12 - Quarterly Ports-to-Plains Board Meeting, Lubbock, TX

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

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