Posts Tagged ‘Inland Port’

6th May
2009
written by JHiggins

Folks, when it comes to economic development, options in southern Arizona we are somewhat limited. Let’s face it, we aren’t in the running for the next Intel or Boeing.  We probably aren’t on the short list for a lot of jobs that require educated and skilled labor.

Why do you think TREO’s predecessor, GTEC, did such a great job with low skilled, low paying call center jobs?

What happened to us you ask?

Leadership Failures
We are running out of options because the past generations of business and elected leaders failed to act. We are at this spot today because they failed to plan, failed to put aside self interests, failed to look beyond the next election cycle.

Transportation Failures
We missed the boat on our transportation system (we shot down the RTA 5 times). Phoenix passed their RTA program 20 years ahead of us and have been spending $300m per year on infrastructure.

Education Failures
We have an out of control TUSD school district that resists reforms and has major admin issues. Parents are flocking away from their product because they aren’t a quality operation.

Too Many Service and Government Sector Employees
Southern Arizona has way to many service and government sector employees. We lack industries that make things, build and ship things (Raytheon is an exception but with 11,000 employees our of 1m population it’s not enough).  One service sector employee goes out and shops at another service sector business and the cycle continues. Add in the stress of maintaining a bloated government sector (our single largest employer class) and a couple construction booms and busts and you can see how it all happened.

Political Failures
The people elect candidates that promise greater perks and end up making promises they don’t keep. The neighborhoods are given all the power to stop any type of progress or vision.

Environmental Opposition
Mining, which has been an income generator in Arizona for generations, faces opposition at every turn.

Killing The Golden Goose
Tourism is probably our only real sustainable industry that brings in FRESH money. What are we doing to our golden goose? We are taxing their industry right out of town. What are we doing with the increased bed taxes?  How about a cool $900k in the form of a pass through to Tucson/Pima Arts Council.

Completely Ineffective Business Leadership
Go and check out the chart

Now that I set the stage…… a potential game changer:

INLAND PORT! - check out Carli Brosseau’s story in today’s Tucson Citizen. HERE.

Key components of TREO’s plan involve building an I-10 bypass, setting up a larger rail yard near Marana and improving infrastructure connecting Tucson to the seaport of Guaymas, Mexico.

The report also recommends the development of food processing plants because of the tons of Mexican agricultural products shipped daily through the city.

Most of the related development is anticipated along Valencia Road.

Smallhouse said the project is realistic despite the recession and should be the domain of business owners, not government.

The inland port is the low hanging fruit, the call centers of our generation.

We are in the right place at the right time to really change the course of Southern Arizona.  This port concept could create high paying jobs. It will spin off small businesses and light manufacturing.

The port could truly be a game changer.  I’ve studied it, met with TREO, done the background, met many of the players and I got to tell you it’s one of the most exciting things I things our region has.

What’s a little concerning is that when I speak to elected officials very few understand the full impact and need for immediate and sustained action to see this opportunity become a reality.  Our business and elected leaders are busy with bus fares and rental taxes or park fees. Who’s watching out for our future?

I tell you what, if we make this too complicated or put up too many road blocks the industry will find greener pastures.

4th January
2009
written by JHiggins

A story came out today about a major $200 million investment in the port of San Luis – HERE. You’ve read in this blog that perhaps the one bright spot in our regions economic development future is  creating an inland port. Long beach is over run, deep sea ports are being planned in Guaymas Mexico and Tucson is smack dab in the middle of what is being called the Cana-Mex logistics pipeline.

Other communities are jocking for their share. The pipeline could through mid Texas, New Mexico or head out of Yuma and bypass Tucson all together. If we can pull together a plan, roll out the welcome mat and let the world know we are serious we could enjoy warehouse jobs, light manufacturing facilities and thousands of mid level paying jobs that are much needed in our region.

For this opportunity to materialize we’ll need to court the railroads, relieve traffic on the I-10 (which may include an I-10 bypass through environmentally sensitive areas). We’ll need to fast track the building process for companies looking to set up light manufacturing. In short we’ll have to show the world that we are ready for the chance to change our future. I for one don’t want to be looking back in 10 years and see the opportunity passing us by….literally.

About San Luis HERE

From the Yuma Sun;
With more than $200 million being invested in infrastructure improvements to the area, San Luis is beginning to shine with its potential as a logistical hub for the region, said Andrea Bereznak, border area project manager for the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corp.
Those investments include construction of the new commercial San Luis 2 port of entry and area service highway, both of which are expected to be completed by next fall. Other projects include an Arizona Department of Transportation facility at the new port; the Gary Magrino Industrial Park, to be developed next to the new port; planned improvements to the existing San Luis 1 port of entry; and expansion of the city’s existing industrial park.
“Congestion at the ports is such a huge issue,” Bereznak said. “But there are only two new ports being built in the U.S. One is in Donna, Texas, and the other is San Luis 2, so there is a lot of excitement from companies doing international business.”
That includes U.S. companies that have been having goods assembled in Asia because of cheaper labor there, she said. With the rising cost of shipping the goods back to the United States, “it’s making more sense to do the assembly work in Mexico,” where the savings in transportation more than make up for the higher cost of labor there than in Asia.
That will bring more jobs to both sides of the border, Bereznak said — jobs that are badly needed in San Luis, with its high unemployment rate. Yuma County had a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 19.8 percent in November 2008, the Arizona Department of Commerce reported, compared with 13.4 percent in November 2007.
Another project with the potential to affect the San Luis area is the planned development of a port at Punta Colonet, Sonora, and a railroad to carry goods from the Mexican seaport to the United States, Bereznak said.
“That project could have an impact on the area, but it’s unknown how much,” she said. “It will depend on what route the rail takes.”
Bereznak also had praise for the “pro-business, pro-community attitude” of the San Luis City Council, calling it positive for the city’s future.
“It’s exciting to work there, with the confluence of elements that support growth and development.”
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