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to the

Ports-to-Plains Region

January 30, 2018

Volume Number 16
Issue Number 03

The Ports-to-Plains Alliance Board of Directors elected John Osborne as its new chairman at their quarterly board meeting in Amarillo, Texas January 23. Osborne, President and CEO of the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance and Market Lubbock, replaces John Bertsch of Plainview, Texas who served as chairman since 2009.

John Bertsch was a chairman who facilitated great involvement from our diverse and talented board of directors to set the direction for our organization. He empowered the staff to effectively implement the plans that advanced our efforts to achieve the original and sustaining vision for our communities. Under his leadership we have seen significant investments made throughout the corridor. We have built strong momentum to extend Interstate 27. We strengthened our partnerships throughout North America as evidenced by hosting two of our most attended annual conferences in Medicine Hat, Alberta and Del Rio, Texas / Acuna, Coahuila. Although Mr. Bertsch is stepping down as chairman, we will continue to seek his input on our efforts and he will remain an important leader and dedicated champion for Ports-to-Plains.

We are fortunate to have a strong leader in John Osborne who is ready to step forward to chair Ports-to-Plains. Mr. Osborne has a strong background in economic development and truly appreciates how important the development of the corridor is to the growth of our region. His experience in managing nonprofit organizations and working for a volunteer board will provide unique insight into the day-to-day operations of the organization. The staff looks forward to working with our new chairman and continuing to bring infrastructure improvements to our region and secure a strong economic future

 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.


Ports-to-Plains Alliance Welcomes John Osborne As New Board Chairman

John Osborne is the President and CEO of the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance and Market Lubbock, two private, non-profit organizations with the common goal of increasing the economic opportunities in Lubbock. John is responsible for all operations, including business retention, business recruitment, workforce development, and foreign trade zone activities as well as the activities of Lubbock’s convention & visitors bureau: Visit Lubbock, and the Lubbock Sports Authority.

"I am very excited to begin my term as chairman of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance,” said Osborne. “It is an honor to follow a legacy of great chairmen and continue the work of those who have dedicated themselves to the vision of Ports-to-Plains over the last 20 years. This organization has seen tremendous success and it remains vital to the development of the corridor. I look forward to further growth and success over the next few years."

John has held economic development positions in communities of various sizes in three states, including most recently San Antonio. Over the past ten years, John has worked with more than one hundred companies to add more than $986 million in capital improvements and create more than 15,400 new jobs. He currently serves on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Texas Economic Development Council, on the Board of Directors for the Texas Travel Industry Association, the High Ground of Texas, and Workforce Solutions South Plains, and on the Steering Committee of Imagine Lubbock Together, a community-wide strategic planning effort.

See John Osborne's full bio HERE

 John Bertsch Resigns as Ports-to-Plains Alliance Chairman

Vice President Duffy Hinkle presents plaque to John Bertsch in appreciation of his eight years of serving as chair for the Ports-to-Plains Alliance.

A Word From John...

"I feel honored to have served as Chairman of Ports-to-Plains over the past eight years. I thank the broadly diverse members of the Board of Directors for allowing me to serve.

It has been such a privilege to have worked with the outstanding, talented and dedicated Ports-to-Plains staff. It has been personally rewarding to have encountered so many dignitaries and local volunteers up and down this 4,950-plus mile highway corridor stretching across North America. I have observed many talented state department of transportation employees and the local volunteers working hard for the cause of safer freight movement and improved transportation.

I am proud that Ports-to-Plains continues the motto: “We are about TRANSPORTATION infrastructure! We are about TRADE! We are about creating ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT opportunities in our communities!.”

I am excited to continue serving on the board and share in the progress that Mr. John Osborne will bring with his leadership as Chairman of this multi-state, international corridor."

U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Push Trump, Congress to Raise the Gas Tax to Fund Infrastructure

With President Trump and Congress turning their attention to infrastructure in the coming weeks, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is preparing for an uphill battle: a push to raise the federal gas tax by 25 cents per gallon to help pay for the initiative.

The proposal, which will be formally introduced later this week, is part of a series of principles the nation’s largest business lobby will offer in a bid to help shape the debate about upgrading U.S. roads, bridges, airports and other critical infrastructure.

Chamber President Thomas J. Donohue said his organization wants “to put our oar in the water” and acknowledged that it would be “a tough vote” to raise the gas tax for the first time since 1993. But he said that support has been building in the business community and elsewhere.

“I’ve been pushing this for a long, long time, but now gangs of people are pushing it,” Donohue said in an interview in which he also said immigration reform would be critical to ensuring that sufficient labor is available for public works projects.

Read on...

Canada is the Next Frontier For Shale Oil

The revolution in U.S. shale oil has battered Canada's energy industry in recent years, ending two decades of rapid expansion and job creation in the nation's vast oil sands.

Now Canada is looking to its own shale fields to repair the economic damage.

Canadian producers and global oil majors are increasingly exploring the Duvernay and Montney formations, which they say could rival the most prolific U.S. shale fields.

Canada is the first country outside the United States to see large-scale development of shale resources, which already account for 8 percent of total Canadian oil output. China, Russia and Argentina also have ample shale reserves but have yet to overcome the obstacles to full commercial development.

Canada, by contrast, offers many of the same advantages that allowed oil firms to launch the shale revolution in the United States: numerous private energy firms with appetite for risk; deep capital markets; infrastructure to transport oil; low population in regions that contain shale reserves; and plentiful water to pump into shale wells.

Together, the Duvernay and Montney formations in Canada hold marketable resources estimated at 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, 20 billion barrels of natural gas liquids and 4.5 billion barrels of oil, according to the National Energy Board, a Canadian regulator.

Read on...

Texas Provides a Case Study On Trade Done Right 

Everything is bigger in Texas, including its economy. According to The Heritage Foundation, Texas leads the nation in economic growth and in international trade. As the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other trade agreements are negotiated, Texas provides a case study on trade done right.

Everybody knows that exports promote economic growth, but the Heritage Foundation’s recent paper on the impact of trade on the Texas economy makes clear that, in fact, trade as a whole – exports and imports alike – promotes growth. This point is echoed by the George W. Bush Institute North America Competitiveness Scorecard, which makes clear that NAFTA has provided the opportunity for the United States, Canada, and Mexico to outperform the world’s other major regions in growth, global trade, and job creation.

NAFTA has created a dynamic economy for the North American region. What this means is a healthy flow of exports and imports and a supply chain that has been woven together to benefit all three countries.

During a conversation at the Bush Institute, Heritage Foundation Senior Research Fellow David Kreutzer said that Texas is an example of jobs being created by trade in both directions. According to his research paper, Texas is successful in securing international investment, resulting in more than a half million Texans being employed by foreign-owned companies. As a result of foreign investment, the U.S. International Trade Administration estimates that more than one million U.S. jobs are supported by exports from Texas.

Read on...

If Elected Leaders Don't Act Soon on Infrastructure, Americans Will Be on the Losing End

America’s infrastructure is being surpassed by other nations. Additionally, investment in transportation has dropped as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as population and maintenance needs and congestion impacts grow.

The American public and the business community support increased investment in infrastructure and transportation stakeholders are urging expedient policies from President Trump and Congress.

Mike Mota, Vice President of Engineering for the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (CRSI), says our infrastructure needs to be rebuilt now. CRSI is a member of the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC), which is another important player advocating for recharged federal infrastructure legislation and a better transportation system.

Sign petition HERE 

Potholes Ahead For Trump Transportation, Infrastructure Plan (UPDATE)

The Trump administration will soon release its long-anticipated public works plan, trying to fulfill a campaign pledge but set to fall short of some ambitious goals.

As a candidate, Donald Trump promised to generate at least $1 trillion in infrastructure spending. As president, he is relying on state and local governments to pony up a significant share of the total.

Trump told mayors at the White House this week that he would present his proposal after his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

“We’re also working to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure by stimulating a $1 trillion investment, and that’ll actually probably end up being about $1.7 trillion,” Trump said.

Officials said Washington’s commitment will be far smaller — and the benefits contingent in large part on state and local support.

The administration’s plan calls for $200 billion in federal spending over 10 years, according to a six-page summary reviewed by The Associated Press.

The summary, widely and unofficially disseminated in the capital, is a snapshot of the administration’s thinking. While the details may change, the broad outline is expected to remain the same, according to officials familiar with the document. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the internal document.

Half the money would go to grants for transportation, water, flood control, cleanup at some of the country’s most polluted sites and other projects.

Read on...

Extension of I-27/Ports-to-Plains Corridor

The proposed extension of Interstate 27 intersects with Interstate 40, Interstate 20 and Interstate 10 and will serve three border crossings with Mexico at Del Rio, Eagle Pass and Laredo.

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


February 5, 2018 - Presentation, Tulia Retired Teachers Association, Tulia, Texas

February 5, 2018 - Colorado Highway 71 Freight Diversion Study Technical Advisory Group Meeting, Brush, Colorado

February 6, 2018 - TCCRI Transportation Summit, Austin, Texas

February 15, 2018 - Heartland Expressway Association Board Meeting, Terrytown, Nebraska         

February 15, 2018 - SelectUSA Manufacturing Forum, Toronto, Canada

February 22, 2018 - Transportation Advocates of Texas Boardof Directors Meeting, Austin, Texas

February 26 - March 1, 2018 - Staff D.C. Fly-In, Washington, D.C.

February 28 - March 1, 2018 Heartland Expressway Capitol Meetings, Lincoln, Nebraska

March 7-9, 2018 - Presentation, Eastern Alberta Trade Corridor Local to Global Forum, Vermillion, Alberta

March 15, 2018 - Heartland Expressway Association Board Meeting, Kimball, Nebraska

March 28, 2018 - Presentation, Rotary Club of Lubbock, Lubbock, Texas

April 12, 2018 - SelectUSA Canada Conference, Calgary, Alberta

April 16 - 20, 2018 - D.C. Fly-In, Washington, D.C. 

 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