Montgomery– Governor Kay Ivey hosted a meeting at her office in the State Capitol with State Senator Andrew Jones (R- Centre) to discuss several matters related to Etowah County. First on the agenda was the Goodyear Plant situation, which included discussion of the recent layoffs, buyouts, and lack of capital investment in the Gadsden plant, as well as potential ways to protect the plant in the future.
“I’m grateful to Governor Ivey for granting me this important meeting on behalf of the citizens of Etowah County,” said Jones. “The Governor was very sympathetic to the plight of affected Goodyear workers. We discussed a letter of support for Goodyear, and I will be sending a draft to her office soon. Along with the Governor, Congressman Robert Aderholt and Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield have been in close communication with me about Goodyear since last spring. We are all working together and I know that they will help us pursue all available options.”
In addition to protecting Goodyear, Jones’ discussion with the Governor turned toward diversifying the economy in Etowah County with new jobs and industry, particularly through the Little Canoe Creek Industrial Advantage Megasite. “The Governor has shown tremendous leadership in bringing jobs and investment to our state, and as a result, Alabama’s economy is booming and unemployment is at a record low,” Jones continued. “There is no better time than now to let everyone know that Etowah County is open for business. We must continue to diversify our local economy and ensure that all of our eggs are not in one basket.”
Jones said that Governor Ivey was very interested in the potential of the Little Canoe Creek Megasite. “The Governor was on hand in July of 2018 to christen the megasite, so she knows firsthand the potential of the site with its combined rail and interstate access,” Jones noted.
The latter half of Senator Jones’ meeting with the Governor focused on infrastructure needs in Gadsden and Southside, namely I-759 and the Southside Bridge. “We discussed both of these projects not only through the lens of traffic congestion, but also through the lens of economic development,” said Jones. “For the continued growth of Etowah County and the recruitment of industry, the I-759 eastern connector and a new northbound bridge in Southside are essential.”
“Governor Ivey suggested that I develop a white paper on the I-759 project,” Jones continued. She was particularly interested in how the I-759 eastern connector might benefit the Megasite. Certainly having that project completed would allow for even better access between the site and US 278 and 431 in East Gadsden. I look forward to putting the white paper together and sitting down with Transportation Director John Cooper in the new year.”