October 6 - 8, 2015
Folks have been pushing for a four-lane divided US Highway 85 from Canada to Mexico ever since my dad was Williams County Commissioner. I was unaware that the organization has been meeting annually for almost 20 years. For the first time in its history, the conference will be outside of Texas, and will be held in Williston this year.
The Ports-To-Plains Alliance has a grand vision: A four-lane divided highway, or better, from the border of Canada all the way to the border of Mexico using U.S. Highway 85 as the backbone. The principals are a nine-state coalition, along with additional U.S. states and communities from Canada and Mexico, who are also supporters. The group has had an annual conference for the past 18 years with showcase cities along the route, to share ideas and continue lobbying efforts across the corridor. This time, Williston's has been chosen as the host of the gathering - a feather in the cap of the city's economic development efforts.And note this:
The 2015 Ports-to-Plains Alliance annual conference will be in North Dakota for the very first time before returning to Texas in 2016. San Angelo will host the 19th Annual Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference in September 2016.
"Ports-to-Plains was in San Angelo for its 14th Annual Conference in 2011, and it was a well-attended, informative and fun-filled event," said Duffy Hinkle, vice president of membership and marketing for the Ports-to-Plains Alliance in a news release from the city of San Angelo. "I expect the 2016 conference will be just as good, if not better.I wonder if anyone has considered a "bullet train" from Williston to Houston, built by the Chinese?
The Williston City Commission has passed a budget of about $212 million for 2016 - $38 million or so less than the previous year - but $65 million less than anticipated revenues.
City Commissioners unanimously approved a budget projecting $150,875,164 in revenue with a proposed $211,483,987 in appropriations at their Sept. 8 meeting.
The difference between those two figures is for municipal highway projects, City Commissioner Brad Bekkedahl explained. "We don't have the total funding package to facilitate that at this time," he said.
"We do have some money to draw from if the oil and gas tax comes in as expected. And there are dollars not spent this construction year that can be carried over. It may not materialize, so while it has been budgeted for expenses, they are cash-dependent at the time of bid-letting."