March 27, 2018

Volume Number 16


Issue Number 07

In a time when our political discourse is becoming more polarized and tribal, infrastructure is one issue where deep partisan battle lines have not been drawn.   This newsletter includes an article about North Dakota’s transportation funding gap.  However, there could likely be the same article written about every state’s transportation funding gap whether it is a red, blue, urban or rural state.  This newsletter also features a piece from House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Schuster about the need for Congress to work across party lines and bring much needed investment in our country’s infrastructure.  And while the political climate in an election year makes passing significant legislation a challenge, transportation is an issue that could get bipartisan support.  You can help make this happen.  Congress is in recess the next two weeks, meaning that your representatives and senators will be home in their districts.  Many will be making appearances, which gives you a perfect opportunity to let them know that funding for transportation is a top priority.  Furthermore, let them know that the Ports-to-Plains Corridor is a top transportation priority.
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.


Infrastructure Is Not a Republican or Democratic Issue — It’s An American Issue

Now that the president has released his principles on infrastructure, it is up to him, as a builder who understands the role of infrastructure in our economy, to continue to lead on this issue and make it clear to the American people why such investments are so important.

Congress has the responsibility of drafting legislation that will make these real and meaningful investments for the nation. The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will spearhead legislative efforts in the House, in coordination with the work of other committees. Our work on this critical legislation is already underway, guided by three core principles: An infrastructure plan must be bipartisan, it must be fiscally responsible and it must be forward leaning.

First of all, we have to work together. Only a bipartisan bill can clear the Senate and get to the president’s desk. Fortunately, we have already proven this is possible. Transportation and Infrastructure Committee members have provided an example of bipartisanship since I became chairman five years ago, and I look forward to working with my colleagues, including Ranking Member Peter DeFazio, on this critical effort.

Beyond the political math, infrastructure shouldn’t be viewed through a partisan lens. There are no Republican roads or Democratic airports. Personal ideology has no bearing on whether your train is on time or if the milk makes it to the shelf at your local grocery store. A modern, efficient transportation system benefits urban and rural America and addresses regional concerns while having a national impact.

We must also balance our needs with being fiscally responsible. An infrastructure plan must be paid for. It will take involvement at all levels of government, leveraging nonfederal dollars, tapping into more private-sector resources, streamlining project approvals and more. But as always, the federal government must play a vital role in investing in our transportation network.

Read on... 

Deere is Concerned About Retaliation Against U.S. Agriculture

Deere & Co., the world’s largest maker of agricultural equipment, is concerned that rising trade tensions between the U.S. and other countries could affect sales of its signature green-and-yellow machinery.

While U.S. tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum will have a financial impact on the company, Deere is “much more worried” about possible trade retaliation targeting American agricultural products, Chief Executive Officer Sam Allen said.

“If China no longer buys U.S. soybeans or Mexico no longer buys U.S. corn, that would be really bad for our customers and that would be much more impactful on us,” he said Tuesday in an interview at a company factory in Indaiatuba in Sao Paulo state, Brazil.

About one-third of U.S. agriculture is exported, Allen said. That trade flow could be in jeopardy if President Donald Trump follows through on repeated threats to quit the North American Free Trade Agreement, or if China imposes tariffs or quotas. 

Emerging Recovery 

Any curbs on U.S. export earnings risk stifling a rebound in farmers’ incomes just as signs emerge of a recovery in agricultural commodity prices.

“After four years of record harvests, for the first time we’re seeing a potential reduction” in supply as a result of Argentina’s drought,” Allen said. “We can already see global grain reserves going down and they don’t have to go down much further for commodity prices to go up.”

Read on... 

 ND DOT Director: 'Funding Gap' For The State's Highways

North Dakota’s Transportation Director is concerned about what he called a “funding gap” for North Dakota’s highway system.

"As we look at our data, and we look at the condition of our transportation system, and the revenue we have coming in -- in the future, there is a funding gap," said Tom Sorel. "There's a funding gap even in the system as it is today."

DOT brought together a group of Legislators, transportation companies and others to start looking at the issue.

Sorel said a number of options are now on the table.

"The gas tax is one option," Sorel said. "But others are on the table as well, because there's no silver bullet."

North Dakota hasn't raised its gas tax since 2005.

The director of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials said states throughout the country are looking for new ways to help fund roads and bridges.

"Since 2012, 31 states have passed revenue initiatives," said Jennifer Brickett. "May have raised their gas taxes."

Brickett said some states have raised fees on truck registrations, and other things.

Read on...

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


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

Stay tuned! More details coming soon!

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

The proposed extension of Interstate 27 will also serve the agriculture industry including many of Texas top counties for the production of cotton, cattle, sheep and goats and other commodities.

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



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

March 29, 2018 - Transportation Advocates of Texas, Austin, Texas

April 4, 2018 - MoveColorado Board of Directors Meeting, Denver, Colorado

April 9, 2018 - Eastern Colorado Transportation Planning Region Meeting, Limon, Colorado

April 9-13, 2018 - Ports-to-Plains Alliance Washington DC Call-in

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

April 13, 2018 - Pro 15 Transportation Summit, Limon, Colorado

April 16, 2018 - Ports-to-Plains Alliance Quarterly Board of Directors Meeting, Washington D.C.

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

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

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

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