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Ports-to-Plains Alliance

Wednesday
Feb152017

Texas transportation funds will be protected, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says

Star-Telegram

February 15, 2017

Texas’ new pot of transportation funds will be protected, even though the state faces a funding shortage in many other areas, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick recently told a large gathering.

“Last session we put billions into transportation and locked it away,” Patrick told about 1,000 people during a gathering known as the Texas Transportation Forum last week in Austin.

The comments are especially interesting today, after a Texas Tribune story reports that lawmakers are now looking at dipping into the transportation funding to help with other needs.

Patrick acknowledged to the crowd that there are provisions to use some of the transportation funds — estimated to be an extra $38 billion over 10 years — for other needs, if absolutely necessary. But he also said he didn’t expect to take such steps.
Wednesday
Feb152017

With money tight, Texas budget writers eyeing billions approved by voters for roads

The Texas Tribune

February 15, 2017

More than a year after Texas voters approved routing billions in state sales taxes to roads and bridges, some lawmakers are questioning whether the first payment of $5 billion should move forward as planned.

Texans voted in 2015 to boost funding for state’s public roadways and bridges, which have strained under the state’s growing population. Proposition 7 — loudly cheered by top Texas leaders and supported by 83 percent of voters — changed the constitution to route some taxes collected on car sales to the State Highway Fund.

But in an unusually tightfisted legislative session, some Texas lawmakers are raising the prospect of reducing that initial cash infusion to the State Highway Fund scheduled for this year to free up money for other state programs.

Read on...

Thursday
Feb092017

Industry coalition asks Trump for long-term Highway Trust Fund fix

Progressive Railroading

February 9, 2017

A coalition of transportation, construction and labor organizations has asked President Donald Trump to shore up the Highway Trust Fund with a long term, dedicated user-based revenue source as part of the administration's infrastructure investment plan.

In a Feb. 1 letter to Trump, the coalition agreed with the president's position that the nation's infrastructure is insufficient to support American competitiveness. Any "responsible proposal" should call for improvements to all types of infrastructure that help businesses reduce shipping, commuting, water and energy costs, the letter stated.

Organizations that signed the letter included the American Public Transportation Association, American Association of Port Authorities, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), American Council of Engineering Companies, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO.

Read on...

Wednesday
Feb082017

GOP Senator floats new highway funding bill

The Hill

February 8, 2017

A rural Republican senator is floating a new idea to pay for federal highway aid and boost other transportation projects around the country.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), chairwoman of Senate’s surface transportation subcommittee, unveiled legislation this week that would temporarily take freight cargo and passenger revenue from Customs and Border Patrol and funnel it towards the ailing Highway Trust Fund. 

The fund is financed by the federal gasoline tax and pays for road construction, maintenance and other transportation projects throughout the nation. By 2026, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the fund will be facing a $107 billion funding gap. 

Read on...

 

Friday
Jan202017

City, county working to bring jobs to Plainview with new business park

KCBD News Channel 11

January 20, 2017

Mayor Wayne DunlapThe City of Plainview could soon be home to a new business park, a venture Hale County and the city are working on together.

One of the main goals for the project is to provide more jobs.

"Roughly three years ago, Cargill Corporation closed here in Plainview," said Wendell Dunlap, Mayor for the City of Plainview, "and that afternoon, we realized for the very first time that we were not prepared to bring in new businesses."

The closure took nearly 2,000 jobs with it.

"We've been very very fortunate," he said. "For about a year we felt it. But, we have moved on."

Mayor Dunlap tells us the city and Hale County are going into business together.

"It's a 50/50 partnership on purchasing the land and also, on the operation of the land," he explains.

With about 100 acres of land already purchased, including the old Jimmy Dean plant, the city is hoping to create more jobs for folks who live out here.

"What we want is try to bring in businesses that employ 30, 40, 50, 100 people- is what we're hoping for," Mayor Dunlap says.

The mayor tells us he hopes construction will begin by the end of the year.

Read on...

Thursday
Jan192017

Most Americans don’t want new tolls to pay for road and bridge improvements, poll says

The Washington Post

January 19, 2017

A plan to pump up to $1 trillion into infrastructure by luring private investors won’t win public support if it means new tolls on existing roads and bridges, according to a new poll.

In Washington Post-ABC News poll, 66 percent of those surveyed said they oppose a plan that would grant close to $140 billion in tax credits to investors who put their money into roads, bridges and transit in return for the right to impose tolls.

While the survey question made no mention of the incoming president, prior to the election Donald J. Trump proposed giving private investors an 82 percent tax credit to put money into projects, credits that theoretically would reduce their need to profit from the investment.

Trump said his plan would lead to up to $1 trillion worth of new projects. He said the more than $137 billion cost of the tax credit would balance out because tax revenue would be recouped by taxing the wages of people put to work on the projects and from taxes paid by contractors hired to do the work.

Read on...

Thursday
Jan122017

Donald Trump and the rising reshoring movement

TRG International

January 12, 2017

In June 2015, Donald Trump, then the Republican frontrunner, threatened to slap a 35% tariff on Ford’s cars and trucks made in Mexico if the automaker went ahead with plans to move its production of small cars from the US to Mexico. The feud between Mr. Trump and Ford was a highlight of his repeated pledges to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US. Mr. Trump also made it very clear that he opposes free trade agreements like TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and will renegotiate NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement).

Fast forward to 2017, Ford just announced on Jan 03 that it will cancel plans for the US$1.6 billion plant in Mexico and instead invest in expanding its facilities in Michigan, IL. And TPP is now dead in the water when both the White House and congressional leaders gave up on passing it. Is reshoring, the practice of bringing outsourced production back to home countries, becoming a major trend that will reshape the future of global manufacturing? And should emerging economies be concerned?

Read on...

Tuesday
Jan102017

Rep. Burrows files bill for I-27 extension study

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

January 10, 2017

State Rep. Dustin Burrows wants Texas to study the proposed extension of Interstate 27.

The day before the state’s 85th Legislature convenes, Burrows filed a bill that would direct the Texas Department of Transportation to conduct a feasibility study on extending Interstate 27 from Lubbock to Laredo along the Ports- to-Plains map.

The bill calls for a study analyzing the cost and the impact to be complete by 2019.

“The bill would direct TxDOT to examine a critically needed expansion of I-27, which currently ends in Lubbock,” Burrows said of the Amarillo to Lubbock highway. “Given the economic and population growth West Texas has experienced during the last 20 years, the continuation of the interstate to Laredo would allow for further industry and business expansion along the route.”

Read on...