Growing through the motions
BRAC 'better than car maker'
Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
Jobs generated by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission's decision to bring multiple new commands to Redstone Arsenal will bring economic development from through much of the state, Gov. Bob Riley said.
"It's not just going to bring jobs into Hartselle or Decatur but from Birmingham north," Riley said in a phone interview last week. "We're looking at 12,000, 14,000 to 18,000 jobs going to occur. It's even bigger than getting an auto plant."
The BRAC commission's decision to commands to Redstone will bring an estimated 4,000 direct jobs and up to 10,000 additional support ones, as well as other jobs through increased hiring in service industries. The influx is expected to occur in the next two to three years.
"We're about to see a dynamic change we've never seen before in Alabama," Riley said. "I don't think you're going to see more economic development anywhere in the country than you're going to see here."
Riley, who is running for his second term, said he watched the process Calhoun County went through when Ft. McClellan closed and said he knew he would work hard to make sure the state didn't lose out this cycle.
"We watched two out of every five jobs leave Calhoun County then (when Ft. McClellan closed,) he said. "I vowed we'd never go through that again."
Riley said he feels many of the jobs will come from those serving the military commands at Redstone Arsenal.
"Most of these contractors are going to want to be near the decision markers," he said. "You're going to see a transition of all that from northern Virginia to northern Alabama."
The state's challenge will be to keep up with the influx.
"We have infrastructure needs we're going to have to address," he said. "If we can keep up with this growth we're creating some of the best jobs in the nation."