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Ports-to-Plains Alliance


Boehner may scale back highway bill amid Republican opposition

Click here for complete article > The Hill

February 24, 2012

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) may significantly scale back his signature transportation bill in the face of opposition from conservative and centrist members of his own party.

A Boehner spokesman, Michael Steel, said Thursday that GOP leaders were mulling “a revamped approach” that would shorten the length of the highway reauthorization bill from five years and scrap a proposal to remove transit funding from the highway trust fund…


OPINION: Pipe down

Click here for complete article > Scottsbluff Star Herald

February 19, 2012

For something as long and straight as the Keystone XL has attempted to be, the project took a couple of twists and turns in recent weeks.

After the Obama administration decided to postpone the project’s approval, using Nebraska’s concerns about the threat of oil spills to the Ogallala Aquifer to delay a decision until after the next election, the project’s developers announced plans to expand its investment. The pipeline will carry more oil, be more expensive to build and won’t be completed until 2015, developer TransCanada Inc. indicated last week. It now plans to spend an additional $600 million to increase the capacity of the Keystone XL to 830,000 barrels of oil a day and add a 50-mile lateral pipeline to serve refineries in Houston. The 36-inch pipeline had been projected to pump 700,000 barrels a day when the proposal was launched…


Opinion: Putting the National Interest First

Click here for complete article > National Journal Transportation Blog

February 22, 2012

By Jack Schenendorf, Counsel, Covington & Burling LLP

Jack represents the Ports-to-Plains Alliance on transportation matters.


This week’s question focuses on some of the challenges--such as partisan politics and parochial interests--facing Congress and the Administration as they attempt to enact a multi-year surface transportation bill. Also this week, we just so happen to be celebrating the birthdays of Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, two Presidents who were very much concerned that partisan politics and parochial interests could weaken America and keep it from achieving greatness…


Disappointed but not discouraged … Ports-to-Plains University Transportation Center Application

Texas Tech University, University of New Mexico and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology had submitted an application for a Tier I University Transportation Center (UTC) to USDOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) in late 2011 that was specifically focused on the Ports-to-Plains Corridor.  The UTC was designed to study the challenges regarding international logistics, trade law, ecosystem health and sustainability, and workforce development for agricultural and energy commerce along corridors of national significance.

The announcement below did not fund the application, but the concepts remain alive. “Yes, we are disappointed, but not discouraged (!).  Working on the proposal for funding helped us to recognize the extent to which our research already dovetails with issues relevant to increasing economic activity along the PTP corridor” said Donna Davis of Texas Tech University following the announcement. “The process also enabled us to integrate research efforts by identifying potential research activities that cross disciplines at TTU and reach beyond TTU to UNM and SDSM&T.”

“The support of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance, including the Heartland Expressway Association and Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association, was greatly appreciated by the universities,” said Phil Nash of Texas Tech University.  “We were also very pleased with the strong support we received from federal elected officials across the region.”

Additionally, higher education institutions throughout the region were included in successful applications. 

Tier I Participants

University of Denver, Denver, Colorado

University of Texas, El Paso,  El Paso, Texas

Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas

Regional Participants

Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas

University of Texas, Austin, Austin, Texas

University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska

Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas

University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota

Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota

University of Colorado, Denver, Denver, Colorado

University of Denver, Denver, Colorado

University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming

This is the good news.  Transportation is an important research topic within the Ports-to-Plains Region.  Texas Tech University, University of New Mexico and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology know more about the needs of the Alliance and are committed to help address those needs. Let’s open the doors to the other institutions with projects that we need to have completed.

The Ports-to-Plains Alliance wishes to thank Texas Tech University, University of New Mexico and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for their recognition of the importance of the corridor, their cooperation in developing the application and their commitment to research benefitting the economy and transportation system of the region.


U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $77 Million in Transportation Research and Education

Click here for complete release > U.S. Department of Transportation

Office of Public Affairs

January 17, 2012

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today $77 million in grants to 22 University Transportation Centers (UTCs) to advance research and education programs that address critical transportation challenges facing our nation. The UTCs, which are located throughout the United States, conduct research that directly supports the priorities of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the participating universities are a critical part of our national transportation strategy...


Updates on Transportation Reauthorization … Waiting, Waiting, Waiting…

House Puts Off Debate on Transportation Provisions until Week After Next

Click here for complete article > AASTHO

February 17, 2012

The House of Representatives began debating Wednesday a surface transportation and energy package, which was split into three parts after 300 amendments were filed with the House Rules Committee. Floor debate and amendments this week were limited to the energy provisions; work on the highway/transit and revenue sections was postponed until the week of Feb. 27 after a delay was announced Wednesday by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

During a five-hour-long House Rules Committee meeting Tuesday evening, the panel decided to move the massive bill ahead as three separate parts and spread out debate over two weeks. In addition to the transportation section, the other pieces raise revenue to pay for certain transportation projects and authorize expanded oil and gas drilling…


Senate Resumes Floor Work Feb. 27 on MAP-21

Click here for complete article > AASTHO

February 17, 2012

The Senate voted 54-42 this morning to limit debate on a package of committee-approved amendments to a two-year, $109 billion surface transportation reauthorization measure, falling six votes short of the 60 required. Work is expected to continue behind the scenes during next week's recess to reach an agreement limiting amendments, with floor consideration resuming Feb. 27.

Senators voted 85-11 last week to proceed to a full debate on the surface transportation reauthorization legislation, S 1813, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act.

Progress was slowed this week by the introduction of non-germane amendments including, for example, insurance coverage for birth control, foreign aid to Egypt, and energy development…


Ports-to-Plains Alliance Selects Medicine Hat as Site of 2012 Conference

Click here for complete release > Eastern Alberta Corridor

February 15, 2012

The Eastern Alberta Trade Corridor partners and the City of Medicine Hat are pleased to announce that the Ports-to-Plains Alliance headquartered in Lubbock, Texas has chosen Medicine Hat as the venue for its 2012 Conference and Annual General Meeting October 2‐4, 2012.


West Texas Trade Summit, San Angelo, TX, February 22-24, 2012

Please join us for the
3rd Annual West Texas Trade Summit
hosted by the
Southern Trade Task Force
City of San Angelo Development Corporation/City of San
Angelo/San Angelo Chamber of Commerce

 Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Welcome Event
Top of the Cactus
36 E. Twohig
7 PM to 10 PM
$20 Welcome event only

Thursday, February 23, 2012
Stephens Downtown Library
33 W. Beauregard
9 AM to 4 PM
$50 Registration includes welcome event

 The Southern Work Group was established by the Ports-to-Plains Alliance to promote trade relations, transportation networking, and other economic development issues of mutual interest between Texas and the Mexican states that follow the Ports-to-Plains Corridor to the coastal ports.

Full Agenda

Online Registration

Registration Form

Hotel and Other Information

Please plan to join us for this important meeting.


White House threatens veto of GOP's highway bill

Click here for complete article > Star-Telegram: Associated Press

February 14, 2012

After years of procrastination, the White House and Congress have suddenly boosted a long-term plan to improve the nation's roads, bridges and transit systems to the top of the political agenda.

This week the House and Senate are set to take up vastly different bills providing a blueprint for shoring up the nation's aging transportation system. Lawmakers are driven in part by a desire to show voters a major accomplishment in an election year when regard for Congress is at rock bottom. They are pitching the bills as jobs generators, although it may be more accurate to say they preserve jobs that might otherwise be lost if Congress doesn't find a way to keep highway and transit programs solvent.

President Barack Obama chimed in Monday with his own plan to spend nearly half a trillion dollars over six years on transportation infrastructure. But the president's plan is so much grander than anything Congress is likely to go along with that the administration has swung its weight behind the Senate bill, a bipartisan plan that more modestly proposes to spend $109 billion over less than two years…