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The Gulf Coast Region Bands Together to Push for Tanker Contract

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 04 Nov 2010 11:16am | comments
If the Department of Defense awards EADS Tanker contract it could means thousands of jobs for Mississippi.

A new coalition is working to bring thousands of jobs to the Gulf Coast region, and as MPB’s Phoebe Judge reports their focusing on a multibillion dollar Department of Defense contract to make it happen.

The Gulf Coast region has had a difficult decade, first the Hurricane Katrina, then the oil spill and a financial recession thrown into the middle of it. The Gulf Coast Economy Ready 4 Takeoff Coalition is hoping to change that steak of bad luck. Yesterday at meeting in Gulfport, coalition members came together to discuss one of their biggest initiatives. Gaining the $40 billion dollar US Air force Supertanker contract, which they hope will be awarded to the EADS Company which plans to build the planes in Mobile. Senator Roger Wicker says getting the contract would be a game changer for Coast jobs and development,

“To get the contract right here in our backyard is just a goal that we have had, and it is worth planning for and working together on.”

Even though the tankers wouldn’t be built in Mississippi, Chris Thomas with the Mississippi Development Authority says the location is close enough to the state that the jobs and economic impact would make a difference here,

“The potential is tremendous; you are talking hundreds of millions of dollars, thousands of jobs, so yeah it is a big project.”

The coalition is hoping that banding this area together as region they’ll have more luck. Senator Wicker says that’s the way things work pretty much anyway,

“Of course we have the interstate highway, we have the intercoastal waterway, we are in it together. We basically have the makings of a very fine aerospace corridor, which runs though Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.”

Wicker says wining the tanker contract would be the centerpiece placing this Gulf Coast region on a whole other level. The Department of Defense could announce the awarding of the contract as early as January.

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If the Department of Defense awards EADS Tanker contract it could means thousands of jobs for Mississippi.


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