Ports-to-Plains Investors









Ports-to-Plains Alliance

Entries in Colorado (16)


Colorado lawmakers’ grand bargain on transportation appears doomed

The Denver Post

April 20, 2017

The Colorado legislative session’s top priority, a major transportation bill that seeks a tax hike to improve and expand highways, is unlikely to win approval this term.

Senate President Kevin Grantham, a Cañon City Republican and one of the prime sponsors, announced Thursday morning that he does not have the votes to move it through the GOP-led chamber.

“At this point, we can’t count to three,” he said, describing the number of votes he needs to advance it through the Senate Finance Committee next week.

The bill sponsors continue to work to secure support, but Grantham did not express optimism that the vote total would shift. House Bill 1242 won approval in the Democratic-led House earlier this year but faced tougher obstacles in the Senate because it would ask voters for a 0.5 percent sales tax hike to generate money for a $3.5 billion bond package for roads.

Read on...


Colorado Senate president trims proposed transportation tax hike as it advances

Denver Business Journal

April 13, 2017

Seeking the support of enough Republicans in the Colorado state Senate to push through a transportation tax-hike proposal, Senate President Kevin Granthammade several major changes to the bill during a committee hearing Tuesday, including the reduction of the proposed tax increase from 0.62 cents to 0.5.

Grantham, R-Cañon City, also committed $100 million per year from the state’s general fund to a new 20-year stream of revenue that would be used to cover roughly $3.5 billion a year in highway expansion projects, as well as generating additional funding for local roads and creating a new multi-billion-dollar multi-modal transportation grant fund.

Read on...


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...


Colorado’s bad roads are costing drivers more than frustration and stress

The Denver Post

March 2, 2017

Deteriorating, congested and unsafe roads and bridges are costing Colorado drivers a total of $6.8 billion annually in additional vehicle maintenance, fuel and accelerated vehicle depreciation overall.

According to a report released Wednesday by TRIP, a national transportation research group based in Washington, D.C., each Denver driver spends 49 hours stuck in traffic and $2,162 each year on additional vehicle operating costs with other Colorado motorists falling shortly behind.

“These additional operating costs could be the extra maintenance that goes into when a driver hits a pothole and has to get something like an axle repaired,” said Carolyn Bonifas Kelly, TRIP’s associate director of research and communication. “But it could also mean things like tire wear, additional fuel costs of driving on damaged roads and even the accelerated rate of vehicle depreciation when drivers trade their vehicles in.”

Read on...


Toward a More Competitive Colorado report released: Annual benchmark study examines competitive factors related to economic growth

This report, released by Ports-to-Plains Alliance member Metro Denver EDC, is a wealth of data that allows comparisons with every state and with just a little work with each state and other countries.  It is a wealth of economic benchmarks.  Clearly worth your time to review.


"The good news again is that Colorado continues to rank among the most economically competitive states in the United States in key measures such as job growth, innovation, and technology concentration," said Tom Clark, CEO of the Metro Denver EDC.

Click here for complete release > Denver Metro Economic Development Corporation

November 18, 2013

The Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (Metro Denver EDC) released on Nov. 18, 2013, the ninth edition of Toward a More Competitive Colorado (TMCC), an annual benchmark report of Colorado's strengths, challenges, and opportunities for future job growth and economic expansion.

First published in 2005, TMCC is the foremost effort to compare Colorado's competitive position against the other 49 states. The study is researched and developed by the Metro Denver EDC's Chief Economist, Patty Silverstein of Development Research Partners, and is presented in cooperation with Wells Fargo…

Executive Summary

Complete Report


CDOT Asking Input for State Transportation Plan

The Ports-to-Plains Alliance hope you will take a few moments to support the importance of a statewide transportation system for moving people and goods and the Colorado economy.

The survey is available online by clicking here.


CDOT News Release

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is asking citizens to get involved in planning the future of the state’s transportation system.  

With the unveiling of the Statewide Plan website at www.coloradotransportationmatters.com, CDOT is inviting the public to play a major role developing the Statewide Transportation Plan (SWP), set for release in mid-2014. 

“We really want to hear from people throughout Colorado because this plan guides us on how limited dollars will be invested in the transportation system and how projects will be selected and scheduled in the future,” said CDOT Executive Director Don Hunt.  “Public participation is crucial for its development since it’ll reflect the priorities and needs of our citizens.”

The website serves as a central point of contact for CDOT, its planning partners and the public at large.

Website visitors will discover what opportunities and challenges are facing Colorado’s transportation system.  It allows the public to provide comments and take on-line surveys and examine the financial practices and organizational policies used by CDOT to stretch resources and meet statewide needs.  In addition, local planning processes, upcoming events and data on the state’s economy, environment and transportation system is available on the site.

Coloradans are encouraged to check the website often to learn about new developments and provide input on the direction of the SWP. 


Guest Editorial: What About Blue Collar Jobs?

Greg Fulton is the President of the Colorado Motor Carriers Association, which includes over 600 companies involved in the trucking industry in Colorado. Colorado Motor Carriers is a member of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance.  As the Ports-to-Plains corridor grows communities are seeing the benefits of a growing economic base.  Springfield, CO was recently able to see a truck stop re-opened.  Greg’s comments about trucks and the jobs they create are benefiting communities across the entire region.

One can’t almost open a news web site or newspaper without reading about a public official indicating a need to attract "green industries" and high-tech companies to their state.  In general, the green industry tends to be those in the renewable energy area or those developing products which benefit the environment.  The high tech companies tend to be software or computer hardware businesses, service companies, bio-tech businesses and the like. There is a glamour and attractiveness associated with these industries because they are new, innovative and futuristic.  In addition to the media, our schools, colleges, and general society espouse the benefits and importance of these industries. 

In recent years this fascination with these newer industries has led to countless high-profile efforts by various states and cities to compete for these businesses in these "glamour" sectors.  State and local policymakers fall over themselves in trying to outdo each other in offering the greatest economic incentives to attract those companies hoping that they may obtain the next Microsoft or Evergreen Solar.  

At the same time, the results of some of the high-tech and green industry initiatives should offer a cautionary tale for public agencies.  Amidst a great deal of fanfare, communities, states and the federal government offered tremendous incentives, loans and grants to companies such as Solyndra and Solar Abound for the manufacture of solar panels several years ago.  While these efforts were well-intentioned, it resulted in taxpayers losing millions of dollars when these companies filed bankruptcy after a short period of time.  A further point of irony was that while these companies might have been glamorous, for the most part, the pay and benefits for most of the workers  was not impressive.

Several years ago I had the opportunity to speak in a small rural community on Colorado's eastern plains.   It had been years since I had been in the community which at that time had a small but vital downtown area.  Prior to my meeting, I decided to take a drive through the downtown area. I was saddened to see a number of the businesses closed due to a lack of business and depressed economy. This unfortunately is an all too common story for many of our rural communities. 

I was struck by the change and it helped me appreciate the economic challenges that our rural communities in Colorado face.  What was particularly difficult for me was knowing  that there were  similar rural communities within 150 miles of the town, located in an adjacent state, that were thriving.  The people in those communities were no more industrious nor more committed to their town than the folks in this rural Colorado town.  The difference was that in each case the community was the home to a major trucking company that served not only their own states but Colorado and the nation. 

Why Sydney, or Crete, Nebraska, versus Akron or Springfield?   Well, it isn't too complicated.  The difference is that states like Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Utah have made a concerted effort to attract and retain trucking and distribution companies because they recognize the importance of these base industries to their economy and their value from a jobs perspective.  Those states realize that these businesses provide long-term stability and tend to weather economic downturns better than most . They also recognize that the wages  in the trucking industry tend to be significantly greater than the median pay for other jobs  in the country and that these jobs generally have good benefits associated with them.  In addition in a day and age when job security is a passing ideal, the ongoing need for truckdrivers and mechanics ensures that those individuals will never need to worry about a job.   Finally,  trucking and similar businesses beget other businesses who serve them with goods and services which creates even more jobs in the community which in many cases  may be located in rural areas or economically disadvantaged, small communities.

Unfortunately, over the years I have sat in a number of meetings where some state and local policymakers have questioned making any effort to retain or recruit logistics companies.  Some view these as "dirty businesses" that could detract from the state or local community's image.   They contend that we should be focusing on attracting only those businesses that fit the mold of being a "green or high tech industry".   I was astounded how little people knew about the trucking industry and its impact on our economy and the fact that this  industry has moved faster and gone farther than almost any other in regard to  environment improvements. 

The point isn't that states and cities should not seek to attract companies in these green, high-tech and bio-tech sectors.  Rather it is that policymakers should value and respect the many benefits offered by blue collar industries such as trucking and spend equally as much time and effort in retaining and attracting companies in this sector.

Our state has a diverse population and a variety of needs.  Let's not have our state and local governments hamstring themselves by only seeking those companies which fit into someone's definition of "green collar" or "high-tech"  jobs.  This not only adversely affects their economies but also limits the opportunities for good-paying jobs for many of their citizens.


Oil and Natural Gas Fiscal Best Practices: Lessons for State and Local Governments

Headwater Economics

November, 2012

How oil and gas resources are taxed and how the revenue is distributed and invested are the cornerstones of balancing positive and negative impacts of energy development. Across the country, there are various approaches to taxing oil and natural gas activity, and to spending, sharing, and saving these revenues. In no case has any single state put together a complete package of fiscal “best practices.” Yet each state employs part of a viable fiscal solution and can learn from what others are doing.