Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, delivered his first State of the State address on Thursday. Like other governors who have already delivered their speeches to legislatures, Deal made no specific reference to “manufacturing” or “industry.” The budget crises affecting many states have pushed manufacturing qua manufacturing off the agenda.
Still, Deal made comments of keen interest to manufacturers, most directly in his discussion of infrastructure investment as necessary for economic growth.
There is no more important public works project for the competitiveness of our entire region than the Savannah harbor deepening project. When the enlarged Panama Canal comes online in 2014, we will be ready to receive the Post-Panamax ships heading north. These larger ships improve cargo rates for shippers and receiving these ships in Savannah will have a ripple effect throughout the state.
Also, as we prepare to deepen the Savannah Harbor, we must work to ensure that we have last mile connectivity with the Port and statewide East-West connectivity to guarantee the efficient movement of people and goods throughout our state.
Infrastructure is key to economic competitiveness and Georgia’s transportation network has always been our strength. Georgia is already home to the most capable airport in the world, an extensive network of regional airports, the fastest growing ports in the nation and two Class One rail lines. 99 percent of Georgians live within 20 miles of a four-lane road.
Deal, a former Congressman, also discussed the regional and commuter needs in the context of infrastructure.
We must think innovatively to find alternative funding sources. In particular, because Georgia is an attractive destination for investment with a strong balance sheet and good demographics, public-private partnerships hold incredible potential.
A governor who spends a good part of his early Administration’s most important speech discussing a major port, the Panama Canal, and public-private partnership is definitely attentive to conditions that encourage investment in industry, even if he doesn’t mention the word “manufacturing.”
More coverage of governors’ State of the State speeches here.
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