The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather

    Excerpt:

    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower

    Excerpt:

    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships

    Excerpt:

    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

2 days ago

Britt: Broadband expansion a must for rural communities and 21st century jobs

(Katie Boyd Britt/Contributed)

The American Dream is fueled by the aspiration that all Americans should have the opportunity to build a better life for themselves through work ethic, grit and the content of their character. This opportunity should not be defined by gender, race, religion, political belief – or zip code.

Unfortunately, that Dream is being shackled for many Alabamians right now.

The past 16 months have further highlighted the damaging digital divide that is holding families back in communities all across our great state. While this divide has been underscored during the pandemic, we must remember that this is not a new or temporary problem. And, while the gap is most pronounced in much of rural Alabama, the issue affects many urban and suburban communities, as well.

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Alabama ranks 47th in broadband connectivity, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. The simple reality is that expanding affordable high-speed broadband internet access to all Alabamians is absolutely critical.

Today, only 44% of Alabamians have access to what’s categorized as “affordable” broadband – and not all of that is truly high-speed. Additionally, more than one in five Alabamians lack broadband of any speed.

This challenge is no different than the expansion of farm-to-market roads or rural electricity last century.

The consequences are serious and widespread across education, health care, agriculture, small business, industry, and overall quality of life.

Like in areas throughout my native Wiregrass, moms in communities across our state have to drive their children to the local McDonald’s just so they can do their homework. In rural areas already facing a severe shortage of hospitals and primary care options, telemedicine alternatives are limited by the lack of internet access. Modern farmers using high-tech equipment and practicing precision agriculture need broadband to stay competitive and operational. Small businesses on Main Street need the connectivity to process credit and debit card transactions – and much more. Industry recruitment and expansion, and the jobs that come with it, do not happen in areas where internet is not available. And of course, much of modern life happens on the web.

The state legislature and the Ivey administration have made significant strides in recent years to implement solutions to bridge Alabama’s digital divide, from the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Act to the Connect Alabama Act. Meanwhile, reports indicate that it’s going to take a long-term, intentional investment of between $4-6 billion to get to where we need to be as a state when it comes to our broadband access. The federal government must play a leading role in meeting this vital need.

I will work tirelessly to grow good-paying jobs so that hardworking Alabamians can thrive in safe, strong communities – and broadband expansion is integral in this equation. Alabama’s ability to compete in the 21st century global economy is very much at stake. If we want to have a 21st century work force and have 21st century jobs, we must have 21st century infrastructure.

I firmly believe that – in addition to roads, bridges, waterways and airports – any federal infrastructure package must fund broadband significantly, responsibly and strategically – not the partisan wish list and Green New Deal pet projects that are being pushed by Democrats in D.C.

As Alabama’s next U.S. Senator, I will fight tirelessly to ensure opportunity is not defined by zip code and that all Alabamians have their shot at the American Dream. That is at the heart of our Alabama First movement. Working together, we will turn this dream into reality.

Katie Britt is a Republican candidate to serve as the next U.S. Senator for Alabama. An Enterprise native, Katie resides in Montgomery with her husband, Wesley, and their two children, Bennett and Ridgeway.

3 weeks ago

Katie Britt: Biden’s defense budget fails our men, women in uniform

(Maxwell Air Force Base, USAACE and Fort Rucker, Anniston Army Depot/Facebook, YHN)

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Two hundred forty-five years later, these words that powered a revolution continue to fuel America, the greatest power for good that humankind has ever known.

As we celebrate our great nation’s independence, we’re proudly celebrating the freedom, the dignity and the hope that the American Dream promises – the hope of opportunity for all – the hope that is America’s heartbeat.

This Dream lives on today not just because of our principles and our values, but because of the sacrifices of our brave men and women in uniform.

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While we celebrate what it means to be American with family and friends this weekend, we must never forget the heroes who are away from their loved ones preserving the flame of liberty and keeping us safe and free.

Growing up in the Wiregrass with the sound of helicopters constant overhead, going to school with classmates who had a parent overseas for months at a time, I know the importance of our military and extended defense community, as well as the sacrifice made by entire families.

We’re at a pivotal time in our nation’s history, as we continue our daily march to form a more perfect Union.

The past year has certainly reminded us how important our freedom is – that we must stand at the ready to fight to defend it at all times.

That’s a call that our service members and law enforcement officers choose to answer every day.

They do it not for fanfare or fortune, but for us — our freedom, our safety, our independence and our very existence.

They’re the very best of America. And America owes them our best in return.

Unfortunately, the Biden Administration’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget proposal is anything but.

By failing to even keep pace with inflation, the Biden budget is failing those who have never failed us and effectively cutting defense spending.

It’s incumbent on us to ensure our military service members remain the best equipped and trained fighting force the world has ever known. I firmly believe in the principle of peace through strength, and as China, Russia and other bad actors ramp up their military and defense spending, we cannot afford to shortchange our heroes.

As we celebrate July 4, please join me in praying for them and their families.

Our service members personify the true power and meaning of freedom for the world to see, shining a beacon of liberty that no external foe will ever be able to extinguish – unless we let them.

This weekend, let us all proudly say, “God Bless America and God Bless our heroes who keep our country safe and free.”

Katie Britt is a Republican candidate to serve as the next U.S. Senator for Alabama. An Enterprise native, Katie resides in Montgomery with her husband, Wesley, and their two children, Bennett and Ridgeway.

2 years ago

Alabama’s competitive edge in the new economy

(Pixabay, YHN)

Alabama has a proud history of fostering innovation and inspiring great ideas that have transformed how we live, work and do business. From the Saturn V rocket that took us to the moon to Shipt’s grocery delivery app that has now become a household name.

Through the leadership of Representative Bill Poole and Senator Greg Reed during this past session, the legislature passed the Alabama Incentives Modernization (AIM) Act, a transformative piece of legislation that primes Alabama for success by ensuring that entrepreneurs and technology-based companies have the tools they need to flourish in our state.

Simply put, the AIM Act is a game-changer.

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It expands Alabama’s economic development efforts by investing in tech-based jobs and removing barriers for companies that want to grow in the state. It accomplishes this by focusing on rural development, tech job recruitment and opportunity zone enhancement.

Most importantly, it serves as a launching point for prioritizing the workforce of the next generation.

Huntsville’s success as an aerospace and biotech hub continues to generate entrepreneurial and tech growth in the North Alabama region. In Mobile, the Innovation PortAL serves as a launchpad for growing startups and connecting them to the resources and funding they need to succeed. Tuscaloosa’s state-of-the-art incubator, The EDGE, supports West Alabama’s entrepreneurial community through professional development opportunities and local pitch competitions. And in Birmingham, we’ve seen smart, effective initiatives that have put Alabama on the map for growing companies, high-profile exits and emerging tech companies from San Francisco to Atlanta that are relocating their headquarters to Alabama.

With exciting momentum in all corners of our state, along with advancements in technology, infrastructure and workforce development, there’s never been a better time to connect all of these efforts at the state level so that we are all working together to move Alabama forward.

To accomplish this, we must ensure that the technology community has a seat at the table in policy and economic development discussions. Many states have already developed initiatives that have created vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems and impressive startup ventures that are making an impact in local economies. As Alabama competes with other states in attracting businesses and other economic development opportunities, we have an incredible opportunity to invest in the future of our state by supporting our startup community.

This new way of approaching economic growth will take collaboration, forward-thinking ideas and shared creative resources from all of us to fuel cutting-edge ideas and change.

At the Business Council of Alabama, we are committed to creating a pro-business climate that gives our state a competitive edge to grow the global economy. By prioritizing the startup and technology sector, I’m confident that Alabama will continue its strong tradition of fostering innovation and becoming a premier destination for businesses of all shapes and sizes to call home.

Katie Boyd Britt is the president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama.