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Ports-to-Plains Alliance

Tuesday
May312011

Midwest power transmission project targets Kansas wind

Click here for complete article > St. Louis Post Dispatch

May 29, 2011

A Houston company is in the early stages of planning one of the largest energy infrastructure projects the Midwest has seen in years - a $1.7 billion high-voltage transmission line connecting Kansas wind farms with consumers in St. Louis and throughout the Ohio River Valley.

The so-called Grain Belt Express transmission line, named to evoke images of train hopper cars rolling across the Plains, would stretch 550 miles from southwestern Kansas to southeastern Missouri. It would be capable of moving 3,500 megawatts of electricity - roughly enough to power 3.5 million homes - to eastern Missouri, Southern Illinois and beyond…

Tuesday
May312011

Wishing we were elsewhere

Heavy Lift

March/April 2011

With shippers losing confidence in the US permitting system for heavy loads, industry organizations are now calling for a more structured approach across the country...

Saturday
May282011

Senate Finance Committee Weighs Several Options to Pay for Reauthorization

Click here for complete article > AASTHO Journal

May 20, 2011

The Senate Finance Committee examined numerous proposals to increase federal revenue for transportation projects during a Tuesday hearing, but no consensus appeared to come from the discussion among committee members.

Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, said in prepared remarks that the Highway Trust Fund faces significant challenges. He noted the fund relies on fuel taxes for 90% of its revenue, but high gas prices and fuel-efficient vehicles have reduced consumption and thus excise taxes collected per gallon.

"To get our budget in order, we will have to make a lot of difficult choices," Baucus said, alluding to the fact the federal government has reached its debt ceiling and the U.S. Treasury Department is now engaging in accounting measures to keep payments flowing until Congress ups the limit. "But we also need to look for ways to be creative. Because the longer we wait to address our aging infrastructure, the more it will cost in the long run. Every failed bridge and broken levee has a significant cost in terms of dollars and cents. More importantly, these tragedies can cost lives." ...

Friday
May272011

Boxer, Inhofe, Baucus, and Vitter Joint Statement on Transportation Authorization Legislation

 

U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works  

May 25, 2011

Washington, DC - Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Committee, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, and Senator David Vitter (R-LA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, issued the following joint statement today regarding draft legislation to reauthorize the nation's surface transportation programs, entitled Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21).

Senators Boxer, Inhofe, Baucus and Vitter said: "We are pleased to announce the great progress we have made on a new transportation authorization bill. Throughout the 25 transportation hearings convened by this Committee, including an unprecedented joint appearance by Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO, we heard that there is tremendous support from businesses, workers, and the American people for a transportation bill that leverages our federal dollars while maintaining a responsible fiscal path.

It is no secret that the four of us represent very different political views, but we have found common ground in the belief that building highways, bridges, and transportation systems is an important responsibility of the federal government, in cooperation with state and local governments and the private sector.

We are working to maximize states' ability to plan long term and make wise infrastructure investments. Here are some of the highlights of our legislation:

  • Funds programs at current levels to maintain and modernize our critical transportation infrastructure;
  • Eliminates earmarks;
  • Consolidates numerous programs to focus resources on key national goals and reduce duplicative and wasteful programs;
  • Consolidates numerous programs into a more focused freight program that will improve the movement of goods;
  • Creates a new section called America Fast Forward, which strengthens the TIFIA program to stretch federal dollars further than they have been stretched before; and
  • Expedites project delivery without sacrificing the environment or the rights of people to be heard.

We know there is still much work to do, but we believe this is a very important step. In cooperation with the Finance Committee, we are exploring a wide range of options to support and sustain the Highway Trust Fund. Our goal is to attain the optimum achievable authorization length depending on the resources available. It is critical that this be done in a way that does not increase the deficit and can achieve bipartisan support."

 

Friday
May272011

MBUFA Releases Fact Sheet on VMT User Fees

Mileage Based User Fee Alliance

May 20, 2011

Wednesday
May252011

WindPower 2011 … Daily Report … May 24, 2011

Ports-to-Plains Region was strongly represented in the huge trade show by companies and statewide coalitions.  High Ground Texas brought together many of our members from Texas.  They had a great location and thus lots of traffic.  Visited with North Dakota, Montana, Kansas, Wyoming, and Nebraska.

Wind is a growing sector in the all energy portfolio that drives an economy across the Ports-to-Plains region.

Tuesday
May242011

WindPower 2011 … Daily Report … May 23, 2011

Opening Session was interesting … Ted Turner ... Governor Brian Switzer (MT) … I do need to point out that while wind development and wind manufacturing is important to the Limon, eastern Colorado, Colorado and Ports-to-Plains economy, it concerns me when I hear a message that says an all-energy strategy is not acceptable … that it’s time to pick a winner through energy policy… and that winner needs to be wind.  We have a ways to go.  Cannot one support wind and wind manufacturing and still appreciate North American oil, gas and coal for their ability  to create jobs and move our economy.

Glad to meet business interests from across the nation today .. enjoyed the Colorado reception tonight. 

Colorado’s hat’s and beanies with propellers were a highlight and a major draw.  Sorry, only available to Colorado companies and prospects!  We can tell you where to order them!

Stay tuned tomorrow to see highlights from the efforts of other Ports-to-Plains states!

WIND FACTS: Did you know...?

  • In 2010 the industry reached 50 percent domestic content for U.S.-deployed turbines, and that percentage will continue to rise with stable policy signals. Fourteen more manufacturing facilities came online in 2010 to serve the industry.
  • In addition, wind farms provide lease payments to landowners – $3,000 a year per turbine is typical – providing America’s farmers and ranchers with a stable new cash crop, as well as adding tax revenue to local communities, allowing them to build hospitals, schools, town halls, and libraries.
Sunday
May222011

WindPower 2011 … Daily Report … May 22, 2011

I will be at the WindPower 2011 Conference in Anaheim, CA this week.  I will be reporting daily.  I can be reached at Booth No. 745.  Stop by for a visit.

Look whose here from the Ports-to-Plans Region: (I’ll keep adding to the list as the week goes on)

  • Amarillo Economic Development Corporation  #2233a 
  • Colorado  #745 
  • Dumas Economic Development Corporation  #2233d
  • Midland Development Corporation  #2233b
  • Montana Department of Commerce - Energy Division  #605 
  • North Dakota Department of Commerce  #2683
  • Sweetwater Enterprise for Economic Development - S.E.E.D.  #2233c 
  • Texas Tech, TSTC, and NIRE Wind Energy Initiatives  #533 
  • The High Ground of Texas  #2233 

WIND FACTS: Did you know...?

  • American wind power is a $10 billion-a-year industry.
  • A single wind turbine supplies enough electricity to power nearly 500 American homes.
  • The on-shore American wind resource alone could electrify the nation 10 times over.
  • 98% of U.S. wind turbines are on private land, such as farms and ranches (each typical wind turbine brings over $3,000 in added income each year to farmers and ranchers, while allowing continued use of their land).
  • There are 400 U.S. manufacturing facilities making wind components across 42 states.
  • Unlike nearly every other form of energy, wind uses no water - and by 2030, U.S. wind will save as much as 30 trillion bottles of water. If laid end-to-end, that's enough to go to Saturn and back - twice.
  • Ports-to-Plains Region: 9 of the top ten states in potential are in the corridor. [TX-1; KS-2; MT-3; NE-4; SD-5; ND-6; WY-8; OK-9; NM-10]