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View the Economic Recovery Project Proposal (PDF)
On April 20, 2010, an explosion rocked the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico sending oil gushing into the water. By the time the well was sealed months later, about 5 million barrels of oil had spilled into the Gulf. This tragedy occurred only four years and eight months after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Mississippi Gulf Coast and only two years after the worst economic downturn seen by our country since the Great Depression. Any one of these factors would have been devastating, but the combined effect has left the MS Gulf Coast economically disadvantaged for the foreseeable future.
With the announcement of BP funds to be paid to help the Gulf Coast recover, officials from the coastal counties have developed projects that would initiate short-term employment opportunities, stimulate the economy and provide long term benefits through tourism and future development prospects and could lead to additional tax revenue for the State of Mississippi. Not only would these projects improve the quality of life for existing residents but would also serve to attract prospective businesses and residents, greatly enhancing long term growth opportunities.
Representatives from local municipalities of Jackson County have worked together to create a list of projects that not only showcase the uniqueness of the MS Gulf Coast but also provide a vision for a bright future for this challenged area. The projects presented herein represent a combination of development and restoration opportunities within Jackson County and the municipalities that comprise the urbanized areas of the county. The opportunities contained within this unified request include common and corridor development, industrial site rehabilitation, infrastructure expansion, improvements for inter-modal commerce, and development of tourism amenities. All of the participates in the preparation of this list support the position that the vast majority of these funds should be directed only to those entities with demonstrable and direct negative economic impacts.
Road improvements are vital to the sustained economic growth of a community and with the close proximity to Interstate 10, there are several key projects that have been identified as necessary to capitalize on current opportunities and successfully achieve future goals.
And of course, the Mississippi Gulf Coast has become a major tourist destination because of the beautiful white sand beaches and warm climate. It is of the upmost importance that these natural resources be restored and maintained for generations to come. Sand beach nourishment, habitat preservation and good water quality are all major concerns and directly affect our economy through tourism and fishing dollars, but there are also many other industries that are indirectly affected, such as service industry jobs that include restaurants, retail shops and hair salons.
Modern roads and bridges, state-of-the-art airports and shipping ports, and innovative projects to restore, protect and showcase the natural beauty of the Gulf Coast are all necessary pieces to reclaim, maintain and sustain a vibrant economy and a place for our children to call home.
The projects that have been included herein are representative of the highest and best use for the funds that we expect to receive not only to make the Mississippi Gulf Coast whole again, but also to reinvigorate and sustain a healthy economy while protecting and preserving our precious natural resource.