AZ Border Communities Roadmap Released

Arizona Border Communities Roadmap Released

Document outlines five game changers and a five-pronged response for border economies

PHOENIX – Governor Janice K. Brewer, together with four state agencies and several southern Arizona border communities, announces the release of the Border Communities Roadmap.

Announcing the Roadmap’s release, Governor Brewer said, “Expanding the capacity of our commercial ports of entry, strengthening our trade corridors, and developing a focused trade and transportation strategy for Arizona will foster job creation and attract new business and investment that will benefit the entire state.”

The Border Communities Roadmap is an initiative of Governor Brewer that examined and developed a strategic action plan with economic development priorities and policy direction to foster economic prosperity for Arizona’s border communities. The Roadmap process involved a collaborative effort between the Arizona-Mexico Commission, Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona Department of Transportation, and Arizona Office of Tourism working closely with the communities of Douglas, Nogales, San Luis, Somerton, and Yuma.

As gateways, the Arizona border communities enable the flow of billions of dollars of trade and millions of cross-border travelers each year.

“Focusing on border communities’ assets and positioning them as a region will allow them to build stronger economies and compete with communities in Texas and California, thus capturing and growing Arizona’s share of cross-border trade and investment,” says Margie Emmermann, Executive Director of the Arizona-Mexico Commission.

Five game-changers or significant shifts that are catalysts for new opportunities are presented:

  1. Build upon Arizona border community assets
  2. Form new strategic alliances
  3. Harness Mexican economic shifts
  4. Leverage key commercial corridors for market connectivity
  5. Support emerging business development opportunities

The document discusses each of the game-changers in depth and presents a five-pronged action response for border communities:

  1. Build a border business case. Arizona’s strategic position to Mexico’s growing economy is a major economic asset for each border community. Understanding the bi-national economy and communicating a strong business case is imperative for Arizona’s border communities to be successful.
  2. Enhance border economic viability. The Roadmap discusses building on community assets, developing the labor force needed to meet industry demand, and focusing on business sectors that align with the economic vision.
  3. Improve border community image. Marketing and communicating about the economic opportunity of Arizona’s border communities can help change the dialogue from its current focus on security to strategic positioning of the region for business development.
  4. Strengthen relationships and foster collaborations. A concerted and coordinated public/private relationship-building effort must occur at every level – local, regional, state, and national. The Roadmap calls for the establishment of a “Border Brain Trust” – state agencies in partnership with the border communities – to move the strategic action plan forward.
  5. Focus on border infrastructure that links border communities to key commerce corridors and promotes global connectivity. Enhancing competitiveness and sustainable economic growth requires an efficient multi-modal transportation system and adequate infrastructure to meet current and projected demand.

The Border Communities Roadmap can be downloaded from the website or for more information about the project contact Chris Stoller at 602-542-1287.

Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance strategic road map nears completion

Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance strategic road map nears completion

Steering Committee focuses on job growth, trade, economic development

PHOENIX — A yearlong effort to establish the Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance strategic road map is entering the final phase, as key leaders met in Phoenix on Nov. 26 to talk about the finishing touches and the goal to finalize the road map by early 2014.

The final TTCA Steering Committee meeting of 2013 brought together leaders from Arizona’s transportation, trade and commerce industries, along with international entities. This past year, the committee has been working on developing a robust business and transportation plan for Arizona that will be laid out in a road map outlining the statewide vision.

“Remember what we are doing here — tying together economic development and transportation in order to promote trade and investment,” said John Halikowski, director of the Arizona Department of Transportation. “If it was easy, everyone in the world would be doing it well. But it isn’t easy, and we are trying to lead the way in Arizona with a new way of thinking.”

Halikowski co-chairs the TTCA Steering Committee with former Arizona Congressman Jim Kolbe. TTCA leadership also includes Margie Emmermann, executive director of the Arizona-Mexico Commission; Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority; and Michael Hunter, director of policy and the special advisor on tax policy and reform for the Office of Governor Jan Brewer. Other leaders from the transportation and business communities head up the five TTCA subcommittees: Freight; Trade and Economic Development; Education and Communication; Logistics and Supply Chain Development; and Mexico and Ports of Entry.

The TTCA road map has become the guiding document for the areas where ADOT, the Arizona-Mexico Commission and the Arizona Commerce Authority come together. The agencies have one major goal: job creation and economic vitality through investment in transportation infrastructure and connections to regional and global trade corridors. It’s no small task, which requires not only a vision, but a collaboration of leaders and stakeholders who believe in that vision and work toward its reality.

“The road map provides an important tool for policy makers and implementers alike for charting Arizona’s economic future,” said Kolbe. “Used wisely, it can guide decision makers on the path toward improved infrastructure, increased trade and economic prosperity for our state.”

Capturing the road map’s vision means looking ahead to three major goals:

  • Refocusing Arizona on the core economic foundations of an export-based economy.
  • Moving Arizona toward a more globally competitive second century focused on trade, investment and infrastructure that bring new wealth and jobs to our state.
  • Ensuring that infrastructure supports and facilitates Arizona’s economic goals.

“By strengthening investment and looking at the opportunities for importing and exporting, we can work on job creation,” Halikowski said.

TTCA leaders have determined that there are four pivot points, or key actions, that can improve the Arizona economy and enhance opportunities for export-driven growth. It begins with increasing trade and investment, which leads to improving connectivity to markets, which spurs high-value production, which ensures the alignment of actions. Each of these four pivot points filters into the next, creating a flow of economic development in Arizona.

Add to that a 20-year plan for infrastructure investment that will enhance connections to major domestic markets in southern California and central Texas and improve border crossings for commerce flow with emerging markets in Mexico. Ultimately infrastructure investments will create strong north-south and east-west trade flows and secure Arizona’s position in a strong global economy.

“We are in the middle of a vibrant regional economy with southern California, Texas and Mexico all around us,” said Gail Lewis, ADOT’s director of international affairs and public-private partnership initiatives. “We’re sitting in an area that continues to grow very rapidly. We’re very well positioned and we have a solid base, but we really need to pivot toward the basket to make the best shot.”

The TTCA road map outlines eight recommendations that will set Arizona in motion for success in a globally competitive economy:

Support Key Commerce Corridors, the 20-year infrastructure investment plan

  • Focus on base industries as the core of the economy
  • Improve the links among highways, rail, air and sea as transportation connectors
  • Improve Arizona’s supply chain opportunities
  • Strengthen the Arizona brand as an investment location, particularly for foreign direct investment
  • Establish a partnership with Western Mexico to keep trade flowing into Arizona from our historic strong trading partners
  • Develop ideas for an era of reduced transportation funding
  • Double Arizona’s exports to Mexico by 2020

As Arizona sets out on the path to a vibrant economic future and global competitiveness, TTCA leaders emphasized that this is a plan that will be important to everyone who lives, works and plays in our state. Why is this relevant to the man or woman on the street? It’s all about jobs,” said Bruce Wright, associate vice president for University Research Parks at the University of Arizona and a member of the TTCA. “The end goal is to position us in the global economy so we are competitive, we are engaged.”

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