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Here is today's summary of economic development news, a free service of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, representing Alabama's private sector investment in economic development.  If you enjoy NewsFlash, thank an EDPA Partner


In this issue:
Gadsden State segment of 'Today in America' to air Monday
BAE secures contract to build two platform supply vessels
Toyota exec predicts more cars will be built in North America
Tuscaloosa mulls tax rebate incentives package...Goal is to attract future retail developments
Snyder in governors group forming auto caucus to boost industry


Gadsden State segment of 'Today in America' to air Monday


Gadsden Times Staff Reports

Published: Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at 5:41 p.m.Last Modified: Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at 5:42 p.m.


A national broadcast featuring Gadsden State Community College will air in Alabama for the first time next week.

Gadsden State Community College will be featured on the segment "Today in America," hosted by Terry Bradshaw. A crew filmed at Gadsden State, along with Gadsden Regional Medical Center, in November.


According to a news release from the college, Gadsden State "was chosen for the feature because of their workforce development education and unique and successful partnerships with businesses and industries."


"We are pleased to be a part of this show and proud of the partnerships that are crucial to the success of our workforce development programs," Gadsden State President Raymond W. Staats said in the released statement. "This is a great opportunity to share our story with the world concerning the fantastic programs we offer, and remind others that the Alabama Community College System remains a vital economic development force in our state and throughout the nation."


The segment will air at 11:30 a.m. Monday on the Sports Southeast channel available to Charter and Comcast subscribers.




[Gadsden Times]



BAE secures contract to build two platform supply vessels


Published: Wednesday, August 08, 2012, 5:29 PM Updated: Wednesday, August 08, 2012, 5:41 PM

By Ellen Mitchell, Press-Register


MOBILE, Alabama -- BAE Systems today said the Mobile shipyard has picked up a contract from Houston, Texas-based GulfMark Americas Inc., to build two platform supply vessels, a project that will serve offshore drilling operations.

Vic Rhoades, director and general manager at BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards Alabama, said the contract also includes the option to build two additional platform supply vessels, a major step forward in the company's support to the oil and gas industry. The ships will supply offshore oil platforms and will be qualified under the U.S. Jones Act.


GulfMark's latest 10Q filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said the 288-foot-long and 62-foot-wide vessels are expected to cost $48 million each. Construction of the first ship will start in the first quarter of 2013, to be completed by mid-2014. The second ship will be completed in 2015, said BAE spokesman Neil Franz.




[Press Register]



Toyota exec predicts more cars will be built in North America

Move is hedge against strong Japanese currency, sales CEO says


Written by Tom Krisher Associated Press


TRAVERSE CITY, MICH. - Toyota's top U.S. sales executive predicts that his company will add jobs and build more models in North America as a hedge against a strong yen.


Jim Lentz, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., said Toyota already makes about 70 percent of the models sold in North America in the region. He sees that percentage continuing to grow.

"With the yen where it is today, I think it's only a matter of time," Lentz said.


Toyota Motor Corp. has been hammered by the strong yen, putting extra pressure on the automaker to stay lean and come up with innovations. A strong yen cuts into overseas earnings for all Japanese automakers, and makes it harder to offer products at cheaper prices abroad. It takes just 78 yen to buy a dollar, fewer than the 100 yen it took in 2009. It's a sign of the currency's growing strength against the greenback, and a tough trend for Japanese manufacturers.

So in the past eight months, the world's top automaker has announced it would hire 3,500 workers in North America and invest $1.6 billion its factories here.




[Associated Press]


Tuscaloosa mulls tax rebate incentives package
Goal is to attract future retail developments

By Jason Morton
Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 3:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at 11:10 p.m.

TUSCALOOSA | The City Council is leaning toward adopting a citywide economic incentive package to attract future retail developments, a move that members say is needed for Tuscaloosa to compete with other Alabama cities.


The council's Public Projects Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to have City Attorney Tim Nunnally draft a policy that would allow City Hall to engage in profit sharing with qualified developers who bring large-scale projects to the city.

"We're seeing other cities around the state that we're competing with for these retail developments having much more flexible policies," said Councilman Bob Lundell, who chairs the council's Public Projects Committee.


According to the city's latest economic incentives policy adopted in 2010, City Hall can offer some incentives up front, such as road improvements or infrastructure installation, but not much else.

Nunnally noted the policies of Hoover and Mountain Brook, both of which have used a sales tax rebate system to attract and retain millions of dollars in developments over the past decade.


In the early 2000s, the Alabama Legislature granted municipalities the size of Mountain Brook the ability to use economic incentives similar to those used by larger cities, while also relaxing rules on which kind of incentives cities can offer.







Snyder in governors group forming auto caucus to boost industry

August 7, 2012 at 6:42 pm
Detroit News

By David Shepardson

A bipartisan group of four governors, including Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, is forming an auto caucus to support policies aimed at boosting the U.S. auto industry.


Snyder will unveil the National Governors Auto Caucus Wednesday in a speech at the Center for Automotive Research's annual Management Briefing Seminars at Grand Traverse Resort.


Govs. Jay Nixon, D-Mo.; Bill Haslam, R-Tenn.; and Pat Quinn, D-Ill. are founding members of the caucus, which will be open to all governors.Its goal is to provide "a forum for governors to discuss bipartisan, non-controversial issues related to the industry and its 8 million jobs," the governors said in a statement. "The caucus will explore broad policy frameworks, initiatives and developments that impact the industry at large and are consistent with a strong auto manufacturing presence in the country."


The auto industry has been a bright spot in the economy in recent years; the automotive sector accounted for about half of U.S. economic growth in the first three months of the year and had fewer seasonal layoffs than usual in July.

The auto sector employs 789,500 people - an increase of about 68,000 over the last year. But the industry has lost more than 200,000 jobs over the last decade, as many auto nameplates - including Hummer, Mercury, Saab, Saturn and Pontiac - folded and automakers and parts suppliers closed dozens of factories.



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