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Ports-to-Plains Alliance

Wednesday
Jul012015

Sen. Perry appointed to Select Committee on Transportation Planning

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

June 30, 2015

AP PhotoState Senator Charles Perry has been appointed to the Select Committee on Transportation Planning.

The committee was created by House Bill 20 this past session to examine issues related to transportation planning, financing and performance, along with the Texas Department of Transportation’s collaboration with local governments, metropolitan planning organizations and elected officials, according to a news release.   Read on…

Tuesday
Jun302015

Economic Development: College Hall of Fame breaks ground on museum site, Lubbock, TX

National College Baseball Hall of Fame

June 29, 2015

As the National College Baseball Hall of Fame prepares to induct its 10th class, the dream of having a permanent home to honor the past and present greats of the game takes another step closer to reality with a ceremonial groundbreaking.

Officials from the Hall of Fame and the City of Lubbock were on hand Monday to break ground at the site of what will become the Moody National College Baseball Hall of Fame Complex, at the northeast corner of Mac Davis Lane and Avenue O.

"This is a tremendous day for our organization," said Mike Gustafson, Hall of Fame president and CEO. "While actual work on the site won't begin until this fall, we felt it was important to have this ceremony in conjunction with our annual Night of Champions event and let the men who will be enshrined in this hall be a part of the groundbreaking."

The construction of the Moody National College Baseball Hall of Fame Complex will be broken into phases, with Phase I including a regulation baseball field for use in amateur play and a portion of the Hall of Fame facility. The cost of phase one is expected to be around $5.3 million, Gustafson said.

MWM Architects of Lubbock will design the Hall of Fame museum, with construction by Lee Lewis Construction of Lubbock serving as the contractor.

For more information on the National College Baseball Hall of Fame, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.

Original News Release

Thursday
Jun252015

Why America's Truckers Want to Pay More for Gas (Hint: Look at our Roads)

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

June 22, 2015

U.S. truckers waste 141 million hours sitting in traffic every year, costing the industry $9.2 billion annually. Photo credit: Susan Goldman/Bloomberg News.America's trucking industry wants Congress to raise taxes on fuel.

No, you read that correctly. Raise, not lower.

Naturally, that begs the question: What could drive America's truckers, who spend more than $100 billion on diesel every year, including roughly $16 billion in fuel taxes, to ask lawmakers to charge them more every time they fill up their tanks?

The answer: America's busted roads.

During a visit last week to Capitol Hill, Bill Graves, president of the American Trucking Associations, pleaded with lawmakers to increase the federal gas tax to raise more money to repair the nation's crumbling roads, highways and bridges as well as build new transit infrastructure. It's urgent that they raise the tax now, he said, as the federal Highway Trust Fund - which provides capital for the majority of those types of construction projects - is currently on pace to run out of funds at the end of July.   Read on…

Wednesday
Jun242015

Inhofe, Boxer, Vitter, Carper Introduce Six-Year Surface Transportation Reauthorization

U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

June 23, 2015

U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee; Barbara Boxer (D-CA), ranking member of the Senate EPW Committee; David Vitter (R-La.), chairman of the EPW Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure; and Tom Carper (D-Del.), senior member of the EPW Committee, today introduced a six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill titled S. 1647, the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act. The legislation is scheduled for a committee business meeting on Wednesday.   Read on…

DRIVE Bill Summary

Drive Bill Full Text

Thursday
Jun182015

Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan says no to increasing federal gas tax

Washington Post

June 18, 2015

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who holds the keys to the car on transportation funding, said Wednesday that the federal tax on gasoline will not be raised to plug a gaping hole in revenue.   

“We’re not going to raise the gas tax,” Ryan (R-Wis.) said at the outset of a long-anticipated hearing on how to come to grips with a shortfall that has sapped $65 billion from the general tax fund since 2008.

With funding for the nation’s highway and transit programs about to run out again July 31, no one on the committee objected when Ryan said he expected that another transfer from the general fund — estimated at $3 billion or more — would be necessary to sustain funding through the end of fiscal 2015.  Read on…

Thursday
Jun182015

Here are the best cities to find a job in 2015: HINT: Lubbock, TX included

Lubbock, TX

Rank: 4

Population: 243,839

Unemployment Rate: 3.0%

Industries: Energy, engineering, warehousing and distribution, call centers, information technology services, software, education, and healthcare

Largest employers: Texas Tech University, Covenant Health, University Medical Center, United Supermarkets, Convergys

Fortune Magazine

June 16, 2015

Unemployment is down to 5.5% nationally. It’s good for new for job hunters, but it may have some benefits for all in the workforce. Wages seem to be on the rise, although different measures offer conflicting views on how much. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at the end of the first quarter of 2015, real hourly compensation was up 1.8% over the previous year and jumped at an annualized rate of 5.5% compared to the last quarter of 2014. And in 2014, voluntary quits were up 10.4% over 2013, which means people have been increasingly willing to leave one job for another.    Read on…

Thursday
Jun182015

Opinion: Texas needs federal road trust fund

Move Texas Forward via Star-Telegram

June 16, 2015

At the end of May, the U.S. House voted to extend federal transportation funding for two months in an attempt to prevent the interruption of the nation’s infrastructure funding that had been scheduled at end of this month.

While this is a commendable step forward, representatives in Washington must continue to press forward and find a long-term, sustainable solution to extend the Highway Trust Fund.

Unless Congress acts, funding for transportation projects will run out by the end of July.

In the final days of the 84th Texas legislative session, lawmakers made a long-overdue, multibillion-dollar commitment to the importance of transportation, with sources of road money approaching the $5 billion-per-year goal lawmakers had for roadway funding in Texas.   Read on…

Tuesday
Jun162015

Ports-to-Plains Region Draws New Renewable Energy Manufacturing Facility in Amarillo, TX

Texas Governor Greg Abbott today announced that , the industrial wind division of Spanish-based Gonvarri Steel Industries, plans to build a new manufacturing plant in Amarillo, Texas. The plant, which will manufacture renewable wind energy components, is projected to create over 300 new jobs and $41 million in capital investment in the State of Texas.  A Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) grant offer of $1.85 million has been extended to GRI.

The Amarillo EDC's proposal calls for conveying the 48 acre site to the company and providing a job creation incentive grant of $3.3 million or $10,000 per job created. The cash incentive will go toward the construction of rail to serve the facility and site improvements on the GRI property.

The proposed project is expected to employ, over time, approximately 300 people and will be sufficient in capacity to supply the US market with approximately 400 wind towers per year.

The facility is expected to be fully operational in late 2016, with the aim of providing wind towers to the US market and thereby contributing to the robust development of renewable energy in the country.

“As Governor, I am committed to making Texas the national leader in attracting foreign investment, and GRI’s decision to locate their latest manufacturing plant in the Lone Star State continues Texas’ streak of attracting job creators,” said Governor Greg Abbott. “Texas competed with multiple states to become home to this facility, and I am proud of our efforts to close this deal and inject hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars into our economy.”

According to Javier Imaz, CEO of GRI, "With this new factory in the US market, GRI will utilize its experience and know-how as a leading global supplier of wind towers. We initially considered locations in several states as a part of our business strategy to serve the US wind industry. Our decision to select Amarillo included key factors such as the probusiness environment in the state of Texas, Amarillo’s favorable geographical location and good workforce as well as a package of state and local incentives”

“The Amarillo EDC is extremely excited to have secured this investment through a very rigorous site selection process with competition from New Mexico, Oklahoma and Kansas,” said John Kritser, Amarillo EDC Board Chairman. “GRI and its family of products supports the Amarillo EDC's mission to expand our local economy and provide sustainable employment to Amarillo citizens.”

Office of Governor Greg Abbott News Release

GRI Renewable Industries News Release