Supporters hope it’s a transportation development that will ultimately bring more jobs to the city and the state.
The Mid-Region Council of Governments (MRCOG) and the city of Albuquerque announced Tuesday the selection of a consultant to spearhead an extensive transportation and logistics hub study for the area. The study is to focus on evaluating the metro area’s real assets for becoming the country’s next big transloading center.
Officials awarded Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Cambridge Systematics at $100,000 contract to complete a feasibility study over the next six months. The company specializes in the development and implementation of policy, planning, analysis, and technology applications in the transportation sector.
It’s all part of an effort that MRCOG and the city have been promoting in an attempt to help offset the region’s employment slide in the manufacturing, mining, transportation, and warehousing sectors. The city’s aviation department has been working to expand the boundaries of a roughly 70-acre Foreign Trade Zone just west of the Albuquerque International Sunport. Since its inception in 1984, the FTZ has been a scarcely used tax incentive development area for transloading and manufacturing operations. The zone is within a 90-minute drive of all of MRCOG’s territory — Bernalillo, Sandoval, Valencia and Torrance counties — as well as the communities of Santa Fe, Socorro and Los Alamos.
The city is funding the study in conjunction with Bernalillo, Torrance, Sandoval and Valencia counties, as well as Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) and the McCune Foundation. Project leaders hope the study will identify gaps and targeted investment opportunities to attract more private development of international trade related manufacturing and logistics, and that it can be used to strengthen and leverage the region’s policies, incentives and infrastructure to become a significant transportation, warehousing and manufacturing hub.
“Albuquerque is not only well positioned from a national perspective, [but] we must also consider that we sit at the intersection of two of the nation’s longest interstates, connecting Mexico to Canada and the East Coast to the West Coast, all just a four-hour drive from New Mexico’s rapidly growing commercial port-of-entry with Mexico. The possibilities are endless,” said Dewey Cave, executive director of MRCOG.
Meanwhile, the Albuquerque City Council voted Monday night to authorize the aviation department to submit an application with the Foreign Trade Zones Board to extend the district’s boundaries in a 60-mile radius around its current designation, expanding it further.
By: Blake Driver (Albuquerque Business First)
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