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:



What's the economic impact of Alabama hospitals?
Alan Alexander Reporter-Birmingham Business Journal
March 3, 2015

Between a massive hospital relocation project, a potential mega-deal that would unite two of Birmingham's largest health providers and sweeping industry changes, hospitals are clearly big business in Alabama.


A new study from the American Hospital Association shows just how big of a business it is. The state's hospitals created $19 billion in economic activity in 2013, according to the study.


The American Hospital Directory lists 93 hospitals around the state, and those hospitals directly employed more than 84,000 people and also created more than 86,000 jobs by way of other ancillary and allied health services. That combined impact accounts for nearly 9 percent of Alabama's entire workforce.




Entrepreneurs take part in 'Delta Challenge'

By Matt Cole

March 3, 2015

The Delta Regional Authority held its "Delta Challenge" Monday night at the Business Development Center in Linden.


During the event, seven entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to attend New Orleans Entrepreneur Week on March 25-27. The judges selected the top three pitches from Monday's event to become Delta Entrepreneurship Network fellows.


While at NOEW, fellows will have access to programmatic seminars, workshops and mentorship from panelists and industry experts, as well as the opportunity to showcase their company to a panel of investors.


The three entrepreneurs selected from the Linden challenge were Winfield Ezell, Jr., with Obsidian Creative Studios in Northport; Jeff Howell with Howell's Service Center in Marion Junction; and Al Barnett with Control Flo Medical Inc. in Union Springs.




[Demopolis Times]




Time-lapse: Panalpina first air cargo flight Huntsville to Brazil

on March 04, 2015 

Panalpina is expanding its controlled air freight network by adding a full-freighter service to Brazil. Panalpina will initially operate two flights per week from Huntsville to Viracopos,


 São Paulo, with dedicated scheduled charters using Atlas Air 747-400 freighters.  The first flight to Brazil took off Tuesday afternoon March 3rd. 


As the plane was loaded in the rain and the doors were closed, the sun broke through the clouds and the sun came out as the plane prepared to taxi down the runway to take off on its inaugural flight to Brazil from Huntsville International Airport. Check out the time-lapse video that compresses 90 minutes into 48 seconds.







Robert Bentley calls for fair taxes, job creation

Brian Lyman, Montgomery Advertiser

March 3, 2015

Gov. Robert Bentley Tuesday night called on the state Legislature to address a host of issues in the 2015 legislative session, ranging from business development to fixing losses in the General Fund deficit running into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The speech mixed a number of traditional Bentley points -- jobs and pre-kindergarten programs -- with new ones on prisons and taxation. The state's General Fund faces a deficit next year of approximately $290 million, with long-term deficits running potentially higher.


The governor last week proposed a $541 million tax package that would close a corporate income tax loophole; eliminate some business credits and deductions and raise taxes on automobiles and cigarettes. Republican lawmakers have said they consider the proposal.




[Montgomery Advertiser]








Southern Rail Commission to host Alabama mayors during quarterly meeting



The Southern Rail Commission (SRC) will host a roundtable discussion with three Alabama mayors during its first quarterly meeting of the year.


The meeting of the SRC is scheduled for March 9 at 9:00 am at the West Alabama Regional Commission in Northport.   As the Governor's designee, Alabama Commissioner J.W. McFarland, Jr. stated, "The Southern Rail Commission is extremely grateful to Governor Bentley along with Speaker Seth Hammett, Mr. Jon Barganier and Ms. Lyndsey Stewart of the Governor's staff for their leadership in renewing the membership dues for the state of Alabama."


The meeting will feature Mayor Walter Maddox of Tuscaloosa, Mayor Vaughn Stewart of Anniston, and Mayor William Bell of Birmingham.


"The Southern Rail Commission wants to work with local elected officials to create a strong multi-modal network across the Gulf South states," said Knox Ross, Chairman of the Commission. "These mayors can help us understand the trends that they see in their communities and that gives us an opportunity to provide tools, resources and influence that can address the critical issues these mayors are facing."


The roundtable discussion will include a range of topics, related to existing passenger rail service, marketing, facilities and will include service planning for the upcoming 2021 World games in Birmingham and it's regional impact.


"The region can benefit greatly from this world-class event," said Toby Bennington, an SRC Commissioner from Alabama. "The SRC is interested in showcasing how passenger rail can be a safe and convenient way to move people and encourage tourism to other nearby cities and towns."


Established by an act of Congress in 1982, the SRC engages and informs public and private rail interests to support and influence rail initiatives across its member states of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.


For more information about the Southern Rail Commission, click here.








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