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Tuesday
Mar282017

Scoop: Trump wants to do tax reform and infrastructure at the same time

Axios

March 28, 2017

The Trump administration is looking at driving tax reform and infrastructure concurrently, according to a White House source with direct knowledge.

It's a major strategic shift - infrastructure was likely going to be parked until next year - and is only possible because of last week's healthcare debacle.

President Trump feels burned by the ultra conservative House Freedom Caucus and is ready to deal with Democrats. Dangling infrastructure spending is an obvious way to buy the support of potentially dozens of Dems, meaning he wouldn't have to bargain with the hardliners.

Bill Shuster, the guy who would steer Trump's infrastructure package through the House, tells me he's optimistic Trump could get it done this year.

"It certainly changes the calculus of the timing with the defeat of healthcare," says Shuster, the chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, in an interview in his Capitol Hill office Monday.

Read on...

Friday
Mar242017

Trump team issues permit for long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline

Omaha World-Herald

March 24, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration issued a permit Friday to build the Keystone XL pipeline, reversing the conclusion of the Obama administration and clearing the way for the $8 billion project to finally be completed.

The decision caps a years-long fight between environmental groups and energy industry advocates over the pipeline’s fate that became a proxy battle over global warming. It marks one of the biggest steps taken to date by the Trump administration to prioritize economic development over environmental concerns.

The 1,700-mile pipeline, as envisioned, would carry oil from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast, passing through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.

Read on...

Thursday
Mar232017

Xcel announces $1.6 billion investment in wind energy from South Plains, New Mexico

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

March 23, 2017

AMARILLO — Xcel Energy on Tuesday filed to build two new wind energy developments, as well as entering a long-term contract with two existing sites on the South Plains and Eastern New Mexico, adding 1,230 megawatts — enough energy to power 440,000 homes — to its regional system.

The new investment in wind energy comes at a cost of $1.6 billion.

The company plans to build the Sagamore Wind Project in Roosevelt County, New Mexico, by 2020 and the Hale Wind Project in Hale County, south of Plainview, by 2019. Two prospective wind fields in Cochran County and Crosby County near Lubbock, owned by NextEra Energy Resources and known collectively as Bonita Wind Project, will generate an additional 230 megawatts from 2019 to 2049.

Read on...


Thursday
Mar232017

Xcel Energy to invest billions in new wind farms in Colorado, elsewhere

Denver Business Journal

March 23, 2017

Xcel Energy Inc. is making a multibillion-dollar investment in wind power across seven states, from Minnesota to New Mexico — and using Colorado-made turbines from Vestas Wind Systems for a large chunk of it.

The Minneapolis-based company (NYSE: XEL) is proposing to build or buy power from 11 new wind farms in the seven states that would generate up to 3,380 megawatts worth of renewable energy — enough to meet the power demand of about 1,014,000 homes.

The company expects to spend between $3.5 billion and $4.4 billion on the wind farms, if all the projects are approved by regulators, according to a spokeswoman.

Read on...

Tuesday
Mar212017

Don’t End NAFTA. Fix It.

Politico Magazine

March 21, 2017

When looking for a model economy, Washington would be wise to look no further than Texas. The “great American jobs machine,” as we're affectionately known, has been the economic engine that pulled our country out of the recent recession, singlehandedly adding more than one million jobs to the American economy. In fact, if Texas were its own country, we would be the 10th largest economy in the world.

Now, with pro-growth Republicans in control of Congress and the White House, leaders are beginning to consider proposals to lift our economy out of a sluggish recovery. But as we work together to jumpstart our factories and farms across the country, let’s keep in mind what my state has gotten right.

Trade has been a cornerstone of the Texas economy, with no partner more important than Mexico.

As our largest export market, Mexico has an extraordinary economic relationship with Texas. Trade with our southern neighbor supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in my state and provides more goods at a better price for Texas families. More than a third of all Texas merchandise is exported to Mexico – meaning our farmers, ranchers and small businesses have found no shortage of customers south of the border too.

Read on...

Friday
Mar102017

America's Infrastructure Was Just Graded A D+ — Here’s What We Should Do About It

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

March 10, 2017

Today, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released its latest Infrastructure Report Card, a periodic assessment of the condition of our nation’s infrastructure system, including roads, bridges, waterways, railways, public transit, and more.

The latest findings are a striking confirmation of what we already know: America’s infrastructure is in desperate need of repair.

The report card grades our nation’s infrastructure as a D+ overall, and the study’s scores by category echo the same troubling refrain: America is barely passing. Some elements of the system were found to have made slight progress, including the rail sector, which was rated a B thanks to a marked increase in private sector investment by the rail industry. This is heartening, but still, a few key categories experienced decline, and several remained unchanged from the last analysis four years ago. 

Simply put, these aren’t the kind of marks anyone is going to be posting on the refrigerator.

Read on...

Tuesday
Mar072017

More money for Loop 335 project

News Channel 10

March 7, 2017

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) -

Mayor Paul HarpoleWhen it comes to the Loop project, Mayor Paul Harpole isn't hiding the fact there's a lot to be done. 

"We're talking about a 43 mile Loop that we must have to move traffic through this region, not just Amarillo," said Mayor Harpole. "So, it is critical to the growth of our city." 

It's going to take awhile but TxDOT just made it a bit easier. 

"We hoped, we begged, we pleaded, we prodded, we got it," said Harpole. 

The City of Amarillo recently received $65 Million in TxDOT money to extend the Loop. Mayor Harpole says without this money it would have taken another 30 years to expand Loop 335.

Read on...

Monday
Mar062017

Chao Tells Conference ‘Time Has Come’ to Rebuild U.S. Transportation Infrastructure

AASHTO Journal

March 6, 2017

U.S. Transportation Secretary, Elaine Chao"The time has come for a new program of national rebuilding," U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told leaders of state departments of transportation at an annual Washington, D.C., conference of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

In her prepared remarks as posted on a USDOT website, Chao echoed a signature statement issued the night before by President Trump as he said he would ask Congress for a major new infrastructure investment program.

Trump in his Feb. 28 speech to a joint session of Congress highlighted improvements he wants to make in transportation systems. Chao, in her March 1 keynote remarks at the AASHTO "Washington Briefing," told the state agency CEOs that "already, numerous meetings have been held – at the White House and at the Department of Transportation – with key infrastructure stakeholders from all over the country."

Read on...