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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:
ALDOT director says economic development put some counties at top of ATRIP funds list
State Port plans to ship cars, more freight with $412 million in projects
Forecast: Alabama economy should outpace nation for rest of year, accelerate in 2014
FreightCar America commences production in Alabama


ALDOT director says economic development put some counties at top of ATRIP funds list 

on July 31, 2013 


MONTGOMERY, Alabama --- Economic development projects put three counties on top in the state's $1 billion road and bridge program, the director of the Alabama Department of Transportation said Tuesday.


A chart compiled by AL.com showed that Cullman County, Madison County and Tuscaloosa County received more per capita than the other 20 largest counties under the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program. 


The two legislators on the ATRIP committee are from Cullman and Madison counties, and Gov. Robert Bentley is from Tuscaloosa County. But officials said favoritism was not a factor.


ALDOT Director John Cooper said the plan was to spread the money according to population in the larger counties and as equally as possible among the others. But that varied because some counties requested fewer projects because they lacked matching money or for other reasons.












State Port plans to ship cars, more freight with $412 million in projects

POINT CLEAR, Alabama - The head of the Alabama State Port Authority said $412 million in new projects and expansions are slated to help the Port handle more shipping containers, finally be capable of shipping and receiving automobiles and may even pave the way for a rail link to Birmingham.


Speaking to the Economic Development Association of Alabama's summer conference this morning, Jimmy Lyons, chief executive and director of the Alabama State Port Authority, said the success of Alabama's companies and manufacturers are boosting the fortunes of the Port.


In fiscal year 2012, Lyons said the Port took in record revenues of $144 million and handled more than 25 million tons of cargo. Direct and indirect jobs tied to the Port number 127,591, he said.








Forecast: Alabama economy should outpace nation for rest of year, accelerate in 2014 (documents)

on July 30, 2013 

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - Alabama's economy will expand at a 2.2 percent rate this year, then accelerate with 3.2 percent growth in 2014, a forecast released today by the University of Alabama indicates.


The forecast from UA's Culverhouse College of Commerce also predicts that the state will add 15,000 to 20,000 jobs this year, a slight improvement over job growth in 2012.


The rate of growth in the state's economy this year should easily outpace the national rate, forecast to be 1.6 percent.


"Transportation equipment manufacturing will continue to show strong growth. Demand for vehicles made in the state is expected to keep production at current levels for the rest of this year," a summary of the forecast states. "And the 2014 rollout of the Alabama-made C-Class is creating new jobs at Mercedes and related suppliers."







FreightCar America commences production in Alabama
Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
July 30 2013

FreightCar America, Inc. has commenced production at its new Shoals facility in Cherokee, Ala. The company sub-leased approximately 25% of the manufacturing facility from Navistar, Inc. earlier this year.

The state-of-the-art production facility is designed to efficiently build a wide variety of freight railcar types. It was originally constructed as a manufacturing plant for National Steel Car, but NSC, which is based in Ontario, Canada, abandoned its plans to manufacture freight cars in the U.S. and pulled out of the facility. Navistar, a manufacturer and marketer of medium and heavy trucks, buses, defense vehicles, and mid-range diesel engines, took over the plant in late 2011.


"This new plant is an important part of our long-term growth strategy as we continue to expand and diversify our railcar product and service offerings outside of our traditional coal car market," said FCA President and COO Joseph McNeely. "This operation, with its excellent layout and production equipment, greatly improves our flexibility and competitiveness. I would like to recognize Navistar for their part in making this opportunity possible."





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Val Walton
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