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Ports-to-Plains Alliance

Wednesday
May092018

Heartland Expressway Association Board Meeting - May 15, 2018, Brush, CO

Update on Colorado Highway 71 Truck Diversion Study

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Brush Municipal Building, 600 Edison St., Brush, CO

Open to All Interested Parties

For information call: Joe Kiely, Vice President of Operations

Ports-to-Plains Alliance

719-740-2240 ● joe.kiely@portstoplains.com

Wednesday
May092018

Colorado Senate sends transportation funding bill to the governor

by Colorado Politics

None of the Republicans in the state House supported it earlier in the day, but Senate Republicans collected a unanimous vote Thursday night to send a bill to the governor that will eventually put almost $3 billion into the state’s beleaguered transportation system.

Senate Bill 1 puts $495 million into roads, bridges and alternative transportation this year, $150 million next year then allows the state to borrow $2.3 billion to be repaid over the next 20 years, tapping the state general fund for $122.6 million a year. Granted, only about $50 million a year is new money, with the rest coming from previous legislation and existing tax dollars that go to the state highway department.

But it sounds good to advocates to finally see a legislative commitment to quick cash and ongoing money to a state transportation system the Colorado Department of Transportation says is in need of $9 billion in the next decade and $20 billion over the next 20 years.

”While the funding provided to transportation is short of where we could have been, politics is the art of the possible,” said Sandra Hagen Solin, who represents Fix Colorado Roads, the coalition driving the funding discussion for years. “Since the beginning, we’ve advocated from that point of view. Today, Senate Bill 1 passed a split legislature and is what was possible this year.

“And for that, we are grateful.”

Negotiations haven’t been this fruitful in recent memory, however you add up the money.

Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City, has been at the forefront of negotiations for the past two sessions, Last year, Republicans on a Senate committee killed House Bill 1242, which Grantham co-sponsored, that would have asked Colorado votes to pass a half-cent sales tax. The compromise was announced to reporters in his office on Monday, with House Speaker Crisanta Duran at his side.

Read on…

Tuesday
May082018

Draft Environmental Impact Statement Available for US 85 on the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway in North Dakota

The DRAFT EIS is available for download here.  Public comment is open until June 25.

Preferred Alternative at U.S. Highway 85 and ND 200

Historic Long X Bridge up for adoption as part of Highway 85 expansion

by Bismarck Tribune

The North Dakota Department of Transportation is proposing to remove the historic Long X Bridge and is seeking a public or private agency to adopt one or more segments of the structure.

The announcement Monday came as the agency published the draft environmental impact statement for the proposed expansion of U.S. Highway 85 in western North Dakota.

Proponents of the highway expansion say a four-lane highway is needed to improve safety due to increased oil traffic, but others have raised concerns about impacts to the 7-mile stretch through the Badlands and the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

The Department of Transportation’s preferred alternative is to expand Highway 85 between Interstate 94 and Watford City to a divided, four-lane highway with a depressed center median.

The roadway footprint through the Badlands segment would be reduced as much as possible and three wildlife crossings are proposed to minimize impacts, the agency said in documents now available for public comment.

The agency studied three options for the Long X Bridge that crosses the Little Missouri River near the entrance of the national park.

One option was to retain the Long X Bridge for an alternate use and construct a new four-lane bridge adjacent to it. The agency also studied rehabilitating the Long X Bridge, including increasing its clearance, and building a new two-lane bridge next to it.

Read on...

Monday
May072018

Hale County sees more economic development with Xcel wind farm

From Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

PLAINVIEW - Xcel Energy is bringing more jobs to Hale County with the development of the Hale Wind Project, which received verbal approval from the Public Utility Commission of Texas last week.

Construction on the 478-megawatt project is scheduled to begin in June, according to a news release from Xcel Energy. The wind farm will create 300 jobs during development and between 17 and 22 full-time positions once the facility is operational.

Wanzek Construction, the builder of the wind farm, held a job fair at the offices of the Texas Workforce Commission in Plainview Wednesday to begin hiring workers for the project.

Wes Reeves, a spokesman for Xcel Energy in Texas and New Mexico, said the company expects to receive written approval for the project from the commission next week, at which point further plans to hire and move forward with construction will be announced.

Executive Director of the Plainview and Hale County Economic Development Corporation Mike Fox said a wind power distribution and logistics facility owned by BNSF Logistics opened in the county in 2015, but there were other opportunities for the area to enter the wind energy market.

“Yet in Hale County proper, we don’t have a wind farm,” Fox said. “All of that is about to change with this project.

“Finally we’re going to get some activity that will directly benefit the citizens of Hale County. We’re tickled to death.”

Read on…

Wednesday
May022018

Colo. House Democrats eye late overhaul on transportation

"It is time to solve Colorado’s transportation crisis. For too long, the issue has been avoided or ignored, while our state has seen massive population growth. Due to our growth without action, we are seeing more traffic accidents, more congestion and growing costs to doing business in our state. That’s why we are writing you to urge you to pass Senate Bill 1 – the compromise transportation funding measure that passed the State Senate with a unanimous 35-0 vote." from letter sent by two dozen business groups House and Senate leaders Tuesday

by Colorado Politics

With a week left in the legislative session, Colorado House Democrats are poised to introduce a major overhaul to a transportation bill that passed the state Senate unanimously more than a month ago.

The change is significant. Rather than asking for permission to borrow $3.5 billion and repay it with $250 million a year from the state budget, as the Senate agreed to, House Democrats want a pay-as-they-go proposal that doesn’t threaten money for education.

Democrats are concerned that locking in that amount of money to repay bonds each year would mean less money for schools and social services in an economic downturn.

“We felt that Senate Bill 1, as it currently is, is like buying a new house without getting a new job first and saving for it,” said Rep. Faith Winter, D-Thornton, chair of the House Transportation Committee. “We’re mortgaging our future.

“This (amendment) is a responsible way to show the voters in the state of Colorado and everyone else involved that we care about transportation.”

The Democrats’ amendment would use $495 million already set aside in this year’s budget, then pledge $166 million from the budget for each of the next five years. But lawmakers would not be bound by the agreement.

The state also wouldn’t borrow any money under the proposal.

Sandra Hagen Solin, a government relations strategist at law firm Kutak Rock who leads the statewide business coalition called Fix Our Roads, said the proposal means the state can’t invest in major projects such as widening interstates, which is a priority for those stuck in traffic jams on interstates 25 and 70.

“With growth in the economy this year, we’ve got the necessary funds to have an aggressive strategy for transportation,” she said.

Read on…

Wednesday
May022018

Colo. House Democrats eye late overhaul on transportation

"It is time to solve Colorado’s transportation crisis. For too long, the issue has been avoided or ignored, while our state has seen massive population growth. Due to our growth without action, we are seeing more traffic accidents, more congestion and growing costs to doing business in our state. That’s why we are writing you to urge you to pass Senate Bill 1 – the compromise transportation funding measure that passed the State Senate with a unanimous 35-0 vote." from letter sent by two dozen business groups to legislative leaders to House and Senate leaders Tuesday

by Colorado Politics

With a week left in the legislative session, Colorado House Democrats are poised to introduce a major overhaul to a transportation bill that passed the state Senate unanimously more than a month ago.

The change is significant. Rather than asking for permission to borrow $3.5 billion and repay it with $250 million a year from the state budget, as the Senate agreed to, House Democrats want a pay-as-they-go proposal that doesn’t threaten money for education.

Democrats are concerned that locking in that amount of money to repay bonds each year would mean less money for schools and social services in an economic downturn.

“We felt that Senate Bill 1, as it currently is, is like buying a new house without getting a new job first and saving for it,” said Rep. Faith Winter, D-Thornton, chair of the House Transportation Committee. “We’re mortgaging our future.

“This (amendment) is a responsible way to show the voters in the state of Colorado and everyone else involved that we care about transportation.”

The Democrats’ amendment would use $495 million already set aside in this year’s budget, then pledge $166 million from the budget for each of the next five years. But lawmakers would not be bound by the agreement.

The state also wouldn’t borrow any money under the proposal.

Sandra Hagen Solin, a government relations strategist at law firm Kutak Rock who leads the statewide business coalition called Fix Our Roads, said the proposal means the state can’t invest in major projects such as widening interstates, which is a priority for those stuck in traffic jams on interstates 25 and 70.

“With growth in the economy this year, we’ve got the necessary funds to have an aggressive strategy for transportation,” she said.

Read on…

Wednesday
May022018

Plainview-Hale County Business Park Announcement

The City of Plainview, Hale County and Plainview-Hale County EDC will announce their first tenant for the new Business Park.

Tuesday, May 8th
2:00 PM. – Press Conference
Plainview-Hale County EDC Building
1906 W. 5th Street
Plainview, TX

Scheduled attendees include Plainview Mayor Wendell Dunlap; Hale County Judge Bill Coleman; EDC President, V.O. Ortega as well as representatives of the tenant company.

Tuesday
May012018

Public Meeting on FY 2019-2022 Rural Transportation Improvement Program for the Odessa District

Where:

James Rooney Memorial Park
Small Community Hall
State Highway 285
Fort Stockton, TX 79735

When:

Thursday, May 10, 2018
5-7 p.m.

Purpose:

The purpose of the public meeting is to receive comments on the FY 2019-2022 Rural Transportation Improvement Program for the Odessa District. The district includes Andrews, Crane, Ector, Loving, Martin, Midland, Pecos, Reeves, Terrell, Upton, Ward and Winkler counties.

Description:

The TIP is a mechanism used by TxDOT and FHWA to fund projects for the next four years and includes all federally funded projects. This meeting is being held pursuant to Title 43, Texas Administrative Code, Section 16.102, which calls for an opportunity for public comment concerning the program.

Persons with disabilities who plan to attend this meeting and who may need auxiliary aides or services such as interpreters for persons who are deaf or hearing impaired, readers, large print or Braille are requested to call (432) 498-4746 so that appropriate arrangements can be made. For those who can’t attend the meeting, the exhibits will be available for review 15 days before and after the meeting. The exhibits are available online and at the following locations:

Andrews Maintenance Office, 1000 S. Main, Andrews
McCamey Maintenance Office, 830 W. 5th St., McCamey
Monahans Maintenance Office, 3411 S. Stockton, Monahans
Odessa District Office, 3901 E. Highway 80, Odessa
Pecos Maintenance Office, 197 South Frontage Road I-20 West, Pecos
Sanderson Maintenance Office, 53 N. US Highway 285 Sanderson

Public comments, both verbal and written, may be submitted at the meeting. Written comments may also be mailed to the Texas Department of Transportation, Attention: Robert Ornelas, P.E., 3901 East Highway 80, Odessa, Texas, 79761. To be considered, a 15 day public comment period to submit written comments will close at 5:00 p.m. on May 25, 2016.

Contact:

TxDOT Odessa District
3901 East Highway 80
Odessa, TX 79761
(432) 498-4746