Ports-to-Plains Investors









Ports-to-Plains Alliance

Entries in infrastructure (7)


Why Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan could wind up in a ditch


April 11, 2017

President Donald Trump is counting on his $1 trillion infrastructure proposal to produce the kind of bipartisan legislative victory that has eluded him on health care and pretty much everything else.

Instead, he’s running into familiar roadblocks: suspicious Democrats, a divided GOP and questions about the math.

Trump’s plan, expected to be released as early as May, has already faced months of skepticism from some conservative deficit hawks — even though it’s likely to call for far less direct federal spending than its eye-popping price tag implies. Meanwhile, Democrats are crying foul at suggestions that the blueprint will include hefty tax breaks for private investors and a shredding of permit requirements.

Read on...


Optimism rising for infrastructure deal

The Hill

March 29, 2017

President Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan is grabbing some of the spotlight in Washington after Republicans’ bruising defeat on healthcare.

The rebuilding package was expected to sit on the sidelines until the fall, but lawmakers on Capitol Hill think that timeline could be accelerated with more room on the legislative agenda and an administration eager to score a victory.

“This just leapfrogged,” Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), who was on Trump’s transition team, told The Hill. “This is something the president has wanted to do. But with healthcare pushed to the back burner, I believe that it’s infrastructure that gains steam.”

“It moves everything up if you take [healthcare] out,” said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee’s subcommittee on transportation and infrastructure.

Read on...



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...


GOP Senator floats new highway funding bill

The Hill

February 8, 2017

A rural Republican senator is floating a new idea to pay for federal highway aid and boost other transportation projects around the country.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), chairwoman of Senate’s surface transportation subcommittee, unveiled legislation this week that would temporarily take freight cargo and passenger revenue from Customs and Border Patrol and funnel it towards the ailing Highway Trust Fund. 

The fund is financed by the federal gasoline tax and pays for road construction, maintenance and other transportation projects throughout the nation. By 2026, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the fund will be facing a $107 billion funding gap. 

Read on...



Texas: Gravel road conversions offer wakeup call on transportation needs

In the meantime, TxDOT needs to rethink its ill-advised solution of tearing up paved roads. In fact, Sen. Glenn Hegar and I have sent a letter to TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson expressing our concerns about the agency’s plans. Even if gravel conversion is a proper solution for some paved segments, many questions remain about the safety of such conversions and the shortcomings of TxDOT’s implementation process for the entire project.

Click here for complete article > Eagle Pass Business Journal

August 9, 2013

The Texas Department of Transportation’s recently announced plan to convert some 83 miles of paved highways in West and South Texas into gravel roads should serve as a wakeup call to every Texan about the state’s unmet infrastructure needs.

Perhaps it was not a coincidence that TxDOT unveiled its plan just as state lawmakers were on the verge of passing legislation to provide the agency with additional funds for new highway construction and maintenance. It took three special sessions to get it done, but the extra money will be on the way if Texas voters approve — and they should.

Unfortunately, the constitutional amendment allowing some $1.2 billion to go to highways instead of the rainy day fund won’t be on the ballot until November of 2014. And even that amount is only about 25 percent of what TxDOT really needs to keep Texas’ transportation infrastructure on pace with the demands of an ever-growing population...


North Dakota Ports-to-Plains Expansion Project: Caution urged during North Dakota’s largest road construction season ever

Theodore Roosevelt Expressway expansion on U.S. 85 between Williston and Watford City.


Expanding U.S. Highway 85 to a four-lane highway between Williston and Watford City will make a huge difference in daily lives of residents, some who now avoid that 45-mile stretch of road completely.

Click here for complete article > Oil Patch Dispatch

May 31, 2013

I seriously considered phoning this assignment in.

I feared that driving from Williston to Watford City in heavy rain Thursday on a deadly stretch of Oil Patch highway to a press conference on road safety might make me another statistic.

But with 48 traffic fatalities so far this year — 12 of those in McKenzie County — there is no topic that deserves more news coverage in western North Dakota than highway safety.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation unveiled Thursday its $878 million construction program for 2013, the largest in the state’s history


Old tax, new fees among options for highway funding

Highly recommend this article as it outlines the pros and cons of various transportation revenue options including: raise the gasoline tax, charge drivers based on how much they drive, tap oil and natural gas drilling royalties and more transfers from the general fund.


“The debate in Washington about the next bill is not going to be about what America needs,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said at this week’s Transportation Construction Coalition fly-in, an annual event that draws many of the country’s top infrastructure advocates. “How do we pay for it? That’s what the debate will be.”

Click here for complete article > Politico

June 6, 2013

The next highway and transit bill might be more than a year away, but a string of major infrastructure failures has lawmakers and advocates already thinking about how to boost funding.

The Highway Trust Fund is set to dive deep into the red in the coming years, a problem that has gained extra attention with last month’s collapse of an Interstate 5 bridge in Washington state, the Metro-North rail crash in Connecticut and several other major recent failures…