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Ports-to-Plains Alliance

Thursday
May212015

Lubbock Economic Development Alliance Announces United Supermarkets’ Plans to Create 190 New Jobs 

The Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA) announced that United Supermarkets, a Lubbock-based retail grocery chain with 66 stores across Texas and New Mexico, will add 190 new jobs locally over the next couple of years. The announcement was made during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

The additional jobs include back office support and IT support, warehouse and transportation staff and more. These jobs will result in $7.2 million in annual salaries. United will also add 200,000 square feet to their current Lubbock distribution site, a $33.7 million capital investment for the community. Read on…

 

 

Wednesday
May202015

USA Today: Crumbling infrastructure gets another patch: Our view

USA Today

May 19, 2015

Photo: Bennet Goldstein, APImagine setting out on a long trip planning to buy gasoline a gallon at a time and hope it lasts until the next station.

That's pretty much how Congress has been funding road and transit projects for the past six years. Every few months, it passes a temporary measure, called a "patch." Patch No. 32 will run out at the end of this month. And the strong likelihood is that it will be followed by No. 33. The House passed its version Tuesday. It lasts all the way until July 31.

The patches are needed because not enough federal gas tax money is flowing into the Highway Trust Fund. Vehicles are more fuel efficient, and the federal gas tax hasn't been raised in 22 years. Because of inflation, the 18.4-cent-a-gallon tax enacted in 1993 buys only 11.3 cents today. Read on…

Wednesday
May202015

The Case Against Transportation Devolution: A Conservative Perspective

Jack Schenendorf, Covington & Burling

This is a critically important time for federal transportation programs. While many experts argue that we must not only maintain, but substantially increase federal investment in transportation infrastructure, some advocates are now calling for the opposite approach—“devolution” of transportation programs to the States, either in part or in full. This paper assesses those arguments from a conservative perspective and makes the case for continuing the current cooperative federal-state regime. Although devolution may seem superficially appealing, it would conflict with the nation’s long and unbroken history of federal transportation investment, balkanize the nation’s transportation networks, cause a substantial drag on the economy, and bring about a host of other serious problems. Read on…

Jack Schenendorf serves as the federal consultant for the Ports-to-Plains Alliance.  Ports-to-Plains Alliance opposes devolution of the federal transportation funding.

Friday
May152015

Western Energy Alliance poll says Americans want states to regulate oil & gas

Tim Wigley, president of Western Energy AllianceA combined 77 percent support giving states complete or shared authority with the federal government in managing and regulating activities on public lands within their borders.

On oversight of energy development on public lands, a combined 62 percent picked state and local governments, which are flexible and adaptable to local conditions, to have prime authority. Only 34 percent preferred the federal government.

American Energy News

May 15, 2015

According to a new poll from Western Energy Alliance, Americans strongly support using resources on public lands to produce energy and giving states more control over regulating those activities.

The poll from the voice of the Western oil and natural gas industry says that 60 per cent of likely voters support increasing energy production on multiple-use public lands, which do not include national parks and wilderness areas.

When asked about other issues related to the oil and natural gas industry, voters expressed overwhelming support for states taking a leading role in wildlife conservation, including endangered species. Support was strong for Congress overturning the crude oil export ban, with majorities across political parties in favor of repeal.      Read on…

Thursday
May142015

Gas tax hike safe politically, analysis says

The Hill

May 12, 2015

Almost all state lawmakers who have voted to raise gas taxes in states that increased their own fuel levies in recent years have been re-elected, according to an analysis that was released Tuesday by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).

Ninety-five percent of Republicans and 88 percent of Democrats who voted to raise gas taxes in their states in 2013 and 2014 were re-elected in last fall’s election, according to the analysis.

The road builders group said the results show lawmakers in Congress could vote to raise the 18.4 cents-per-gallon federal gas tax without facing any political recuperations. Read on…

Thursday
May142015

Nebraska gas tax to increase next year after lawmakers override Ricketts' veto

Congratulations to the Nebraska Legislature for understanding that building the house is not the end of responsibility of a homeowner.  Deferred maintenance creates long term liabilities.KENT SIEVERS / THE WORLD-HERALD... Since 1995, Nebraskans have seen only one notable gas tax increase: a 1.2-cent boost in 2008 that was about one-tenth what was needed to keep pace with inflation over the past 20 years.

State Senator Jim Smith, the bill’s sponsor has said he is not normally a supporter of tax hikes and would prefer not to be at odds with Ricketts, a fellow Republican. But he said he saw it as his responsibility to ensure that funds are sufficient to address a backlog of repairs that runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Omaha World Herald

May 14, 2015

State lawmakers succeeded Thursday in overriding Gov. Pete Ricketts' veto of a gas tax increase.

The vote on the override motion was 30-16. It takes 30 votes to override a gubernatorial veto.

Legislative Bill 610, sponsored by State Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion, will phase in a 6-cent increase in fuel taxes over four years.

State senators passed the bill last week despite weeks of veto warnings from Ricketts, setting up the new Legislature’s and the new governor’s first big clash. Read on…

Tuesday
May122015

OPINION: Responsibility … If there's a better way than fuel taxes to pay for roads, what is it?

While this article focuses on Nebraska, it certainly has applicability across the country!

“Nebraska’s gas tax has increased by only one cent in the last 22 years,” the Platte Institute report said. “Any tax increase should be heavily scrutinized by policymakers; however, this user fee approach would require all drivers to pay for infrastructure maintenance, including drivers from out of state. Roads and bridges aren’t cheap, and those who use them should be responsible for paying. General Nebraska taxpayers should not have to shoulder the entire burden.”

Scottsbluff Star Journal

May 12, 2015

Legislative Bill 610 would have phased in a 6-cent increase in Nebraska fuel taxes. The proposed tax, a boost of 1.5 cents a year over four years, was intended to generate $75 million more a year to repair failing bridges, fill potholes and repair roads.

According to the Nebraska Department of Roads, Nebraska’s gas tax rate currently is 26th in the country and is below the national average. The current tax is 25.6 cents a gallon, of which 7.7 cents goes to cities and counties. The additional tax provided under LB 610 would be shared equally by the state, cities and counties. Read on…

Monday
May042015

U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (CO): GOP senator backs plan to tax corporate profits for roads

The Hill

May 4, 2015

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) is co-sponsoring legislation to tax up to $2 trillion in corporate revenue that is currently stored in foreign banks to pay for domestic infrastructure projects.

The measure, which is sponsored by Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), would offer companies a 6.5 percent tax rate on profits they return voluntarily to the U.S. to boost federal transportation funding that is currently scheduled to expire on May 31.

Gardner said the plan, known as repatriation, is the most viable solution to preventing an interruption in the federal government's transportation spending.  Read on…

Official News Release from Senator Cory Gardner: Gardner Joins Bipartisan Highway Bill