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Ports-to-Plains Alliance

Monday
Oct082018

A New NAFTA

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

After 13 months of talks, and a whole lot of ups and downs, the U.S., Mexico, and Canada have reached agreement on a successor to the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The aim of the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is to bring North American trade policy into the 21st century. Negotiators deserve a lot of credit for working through all 34 chapters and dozens of annexes and coming up with a pact that all three nations could agree on – it was no small feat!

From the beginning of the debate over the future of NAFTA, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce agreed it should be modernized. But we also made it clear that we would vigorously oppose any effort to undermine the underlying deal. NAFTA supports the $1 trillion in trade that crosses our borders with Mexico and Canada every year. And this flow of trade supports the livelihoods of 14 million American workers across our country.

The Chamber’s experts are carefully going through the new agreement with our members to assess its implications for U.S. businesses and our economy. But we already know that negotiators got the most important detail right – they kept the agreement trilateral. For a few fraught weeks it appeared possible that Canada could be left out – an outcome that would have been unacceptable to the private sector and dead on arrival in Congress.

Early indicators also show numerous wins for U.S. business including on digital trade, intellectual property, financial services, and agricultural trade. In these and other areas, the USMCA is truly a 21st century trade deal. However, the agreement appears to mark a setback on investment protections and access to government procurement opportunities, issues we will continue to work on.

Read on...

Thursday
Aug232018

Statewide Transportation Funding Solution Certified for November Ballot

The Ports-to-Plains Alliance is part of the Statewide Coalition that helped develop the initiative and bring it to the Colorado ballot in November/



Proposition 110 Dedicates Sales Tax to Roads, Bridges & Multimodal Projects to Address Congestion, Safety

The statewide coalition Let’s Go, Colorado today announced that its proposed comprehensive, bipartisan transportation funding solution was certified for the November General Election ballot by the Colorado Secretary of State as Proposition 110.

“Coloradans deserve a solution to our growing transportation crisis that is guaranteed to generate the revenue to address long-neglected projects in every corner of our state,” said Lone Tree Mayor Jackie Millet, a Republican. “Proposition 110 is the only measure on this year’s ballot that can fund the transportation safety, capacity and mobility improvements that our citizens and businesses are demanding. Plus, it empowers local communities to tackle our toughest transportation challenges. Proposition 110 is the answer Colorado needs.”

“The Western Slope has been promised transportation solutions for many years, but the reality is that the state funds aren’t there – and won’t be there without the common-sense solution that Proposition 110 offers,” said Christian Reece, Executive Director of Club 20, a non-partisan advocacy coalition for Western Colorado. “We can’t tie our economic future to more promises or proposals driven by narrow ideology. We need a solution that truly addresses transportation problems that have lingered for years, and that requires new, dedicated revenue. It’s basic math and basic common sense. Club 20 strongly supports Proposition 110.”

Friday
Aug032018

Why we’re asking all Coloradans to get behind “Let’s Go”! by Denver South Economic Partnership

Denver South Economic Partnership is backing Let’s Go Colorado campaign.  Below is their reasoning.


With the election season well underway in Colorado it can be both confusing and overwhelming trying to keep up with every ballot initiative. We here at Denver South EDP, having done the research and listened to our communities, fully back Let’s Go, Colorado, a new funding source to fix our roads.

For decades, we have lacked the resources to maintain our roads, highways and local bus routes all across Colorado. We need a statewide solution that ensures local governments have the resources to meet demands, addresses high-priority projects on state highways, and promotes multimodal transportation options that reduce congestion.

The Let’s Go, Colorado proposal will increase the state’s sales tax an additional .62% on the dollar. This revenue will address longstanding problems with funding transportation projects in the state.

We sat down with our Managing Director, Lauren Masias, to dive deep into why this topic is so important for all Coloradoans.

The first thing I see is tax increase, why would anyone want to vote for that?

LM: A sales tax allows everyone who uses our road to chip in, including tourists. When looking at the actual numbers our proposal only increases the sales tax by .62%, a little more than half a cent on the dollar.

What will the money be used for?

LM: If approved by voters, this will generate in excess of $750 MLN/year and the ballot question specifies that 45% is to be used for statewide projects by CDOT, 40% is to be distributed to Local Governments and 15% is to be used to fund ‘multi-modal’ projects anywhere in Colorado.

In essence, the money will fund critical sate projects to increase safety, make it easier to get around, support multimodal transit and fund local street and highway projects as determined by their leadership.

That seems like a lot of money, do we really need that much, I thought the gas tax already paid for that?

LM: State Gasoline Taxes don’t cover anywhere near what the needs are and CDOT has a more than $9B backlog of projects with no funding.

Click here for complete article.

Friday
Aug032018

Energy sector touts economic, charitable impact

Cathy Shull serves on the Board of Directors of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance as well as executive director of Pro 15.  Her comments make the connection between transportation and the energy sector in moving equipment and personnel to production areas in Colorado and across the North American Ports-to-Plains region.

BizWest

Cathy Shull, executive director of Pro 15, which advocates on behalf of northeastern Colorado, said that as oil and gas production increases, the industry has become more attractive to potential employees seeking the industry’s higher-paying jobs.

That’s made it difficult for other industries — including dairies and other ag producers — to find and retain workers.

Shull said that energy development — including wind farms — has brought many ancillary developments to the 15 counties that Pro 15 represents, including new hotels, communities and other amenities.

She said that the Ports to Plains Alliance, a federal transportation corridor linking Mexico to Canada and including eastern Colorado, would link the oil-and-gas regions of Texas with those of Canada.

“It will provide a huge boost to our economy in northeastern Colorado,” she said.

Colorado’s oil and gas sector contributed $31.38 billion into the state’s economy in 2015, with 232,900 jobs, according to a 2017 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers. And part of that annual economic impact is felt by donations to charitable organizations, projected at $5.2 million in 2017.

The economic impact of the energy sector — and its impact on nonprofits — was the message from two panels at the Energy Summit, Tuesday, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Greeley at Lincoln Park. The event was presented by BizWest.

“The benefits of oil and gas to Colorado communities are immense,” said Dan Haley, president and chief executive of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association, highlighting a soon-to-be-released study of charitable activities by the oil-and-gas sector that found $5.2 million in charitable donations during 2017.

“This is just what we were able to collect from our members, so you know that that number is much higher,” he said.

Haley sat on a panel titled, “In the Community,” highlighting the impact of the oil-and-gas sector on nonprofits. The panel also included Ray Tschillard, director of the Poudre Learning Center; Bob O’Connor, executive director of the Weld Food Bank; and Susan Fakharzadeh, senior manager, community relations at PDC Energy Inc. and chairwoman of the Boys and Girls Club. The panel was moderated by Craig Rasmuson, vice president, community relations, SRC Energy Inc.

Haley referenced a snapshot of charitable activities by oil-and-gas companies in May:

Read on…

Friday
Jul272018

Our American Infrastructure: America's Leaders in Their Own Words (Video)

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

Our infrastructure is the backbone of our economy. In this video, Chairman Shuster welcomes luminaries from the past who were instrumental in championing infrastructure investment. Watch Adam Smith, President Lincoln, President Eisenhower and President Reagan explain in their own words why investments in infrastructure were just as important in their time, as they are today.

 

Thursday
Jul262018

Texas, By Itself, Is Now The World’s Third Largest Oil Producer

The rise of Texas, which is also home to the Eagle Ford oilfield in the state’s south, shows how the shale oil revolution has reshaped the global energy landscape. The United States is pumping more oil than ever before, making it less reliant on the turbulent Middle East for imports.

The Hayride

That’s not a typo. It’s the truth about the world’s most dynamic energy superpower, and what the Eagle Ford and Permian Basin have done for Texas’ oil industry.

Don’t mess with Texas. It’s a global oil superpower.

The shale oil boom has brought a gold rush mentality to the Lone Star State, which is home to not one but two massive oilfields.

Plunging drilling costs have sparked an explosion of production out of the Permian Basin of West Texas. In fact, Texas is pumping so much oil that it will surpass OPEC members Iran and Iraq next year, HSBC predicted in a recent report.

If it were a country, Texas would be the world’s No. 3 oil producer, behind only Russia and Saudi Arabia, the investment bank said.

“It’s remarkable. The Permian is nothing less than a blessing for the global economy,” said Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group, a consulting firm.

The hyper growth out of Texas is needed because oil prices have risen sharply and major players like Saudi Arabia are quickly maxing out their production.

Much of the excitement in Texas centers around the Permian Basin. Some oil execs believe the amount of oil in the Permian rivals Saudi Arabia’s Ghawar Field, the world’s largest conventional oilfield.

Rapid technological advances have dramatically brought down the cost of pumping oil everywhere, especially out of the Permian. Wells there can be profitable below $40 a barrel.

Read on…

Wednesday
Jul252018

House GOP chairman introduces draft of infrastructure plan

“This discussion draft does not represent a complete and final infrastructure bill. It is meant to reignite discussions amongst my colleagues, and I urge all Members to be open-minded and willing to work together in considering real solutions that will give America the modern day infrastructure it needs," Shuster said.

The Hill

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, released a draft of a long-awaited infrastructure plan on Monday that addresses possible funding sources for a number of potential projects, and levies taxes on multiple fuel sources.

The bill calls for significant federal investment in infrastructure projects and grant programs through at least 2021. It includes billions of dollars in grant funding, as well as trillions in appropriations for projects of national significance, though the numbers — along with the rest of the proposal — are subject to change.

To provide at least partial funding, the draft calls for a 15-cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline and a 20-cent-per-gallon tax on diesel. The increases would be phased in over a 3-year period. At that point, the fees would be indexed to inflation before they are ultimately eliminated in September 2028.

Shuster's plan includes "corresponding increases in similar user fees on alternative fuels," such as a 10 percent tax on the wholesale price of bicycle tires on adult bikes, as well as a 10 percent tax on the price of electric car batteries.

Read on…

Friday
Jul202018

Amazon Transportation and Logistics Executive Shares View of the Future

Katie Thomson, a former Obama-administration U.S. Department of Transportation official who now serves as vice president and general counsel for Amazon's transportation and logistics operations, offered her perspective on some of the future transportation challenges and opportunities facing America during a speech at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 2018 Joint Policy Committee meeting in Spokane, Washington, on July 18.

"Safe and reliable transportation is the lifeblood of our nation; it is critical to our economic prosperity," she noted. "Well-planned transportation provides connections to our urban, suburban and rural communities. That includes passenger and freight rail, airplanes, roads, bicycles and pedestrian modes of transport."

The challenges facing the U.S. transportation, however, are coming from different angles and all at once, Thomson noted.

For example, she pointed to USDOT research conducted in 2017 that found commuters waste one week per year just sitting in traffic. She also highlighted a report by the American Transportation Research Institute that the cost of traffic congestion to commercial trucking operations tops $63 billion. Thomson also noted that traffic fatalities have sharply increased over the last several years, while the quality of U.S. transportation infrastructure continues to decline.

"We will need to invest over $1.2 trillion in our nation's infrastructure over the next decade just to catch up to where we should be," she emphasized.

Yet demands upon the transportation system will only increase as it is expected to be moving 70 million more people by 2045, with freight volumes increasing 40 percent and air traffic passenger volume going up 50 percent by that year as well, Thomson pointed out.

Read on…