Lake Charles, Alexandria, La. see major GDP growth

A new report measuring the value of economic activity in U.S. metro areas found that two Louisiana cities saw the biggest percentage increases in the country during 2016 and two others were among the largest decreases. The value of the gross domestic product produced in Lake Charles increased by 8.1 percent from 2015 to 2016, the largest percentage increase in the nation, according to a study released Wednesday by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. Baton Rouge Advocate

American Cities Are Embarrassingly Thirsty for Amazon’s Next Headquarters

Earlier this month, Amazon announced that it might build a second, sprawling “campus” (tech for “office park”) for thousands of employees … somewhere. Where would the campus go? Which city would receive thousands of new jobs and a global corporate presence? Where would Jeff Bezos next be showing off his new, jacked-up biceps? The answers were not forthcoming: All the company announced was that it would be walking around the country and kicking the tires on several different cities. And almost immediately, every city in America began bending over backwards to woo Amazon to their great state.

Nymag.com

South Florida wants to be Amazon.com’s second home

South Florida, the land of second homes for winter-weary northerners, hopes to persuade Seattle-based Amazon that it is the perfect location for the online shipping giant’s second North American headquarters.

Economic development leaders say landing the $5 billion development would be transformational for South Florida, creating an “international technology hub” with all the ancillary businesses that would follow the company to the region.

Sun-Sentinel

Florida must invest in infrastructure

As the mayor of a coastal city, I have seen what good government can do to identify and invest in innovative solutions to address environmental and infrastructural deficiencies. Through strategic and decisive action, Miami Beach is implementing a plan to make the city more resilient against sea-level rise. However, let’s be clear — most cities cannot afford to do it on their own, nor should they. To better safeguard our environment, real estate market, and tourism-based economy, state leaders must do their part, and:

▪ Create a resiliency commission, to be chaired by a chief resiliency officer, appointed by the governor. Made up of leaders and experts from across the state, this commission could coordinate with existing regional planning councils, providing expertise and a tailored blueprint — city by city, town by town — on how to make our local communities more resilient against environmental threats, whether they are hurricanes, sea-level rise, diminshed water quality, infectious diseases, agricultural pests, or any other natural disaster.

Miami Herald

Greensboro planners ask for future transportation needs: $565 million

GREENSBORO — The transportation board that oversees the Greensboro area approved $565 million in local projects Wednesday for consideration in state government’s next round of construction budgeting.

The Metropolitan Planning Organization voted unanimously for the package of potential improvements to the area’s highway, rail, aviation, bike and pedestrian assets between budget years 2020 and 2029.

Among $524 million in major road projects in this long-range package the granddaddy was $225 million in widening work along U.S. 158 in northern Guilford County.

 Greensboro.com

The future of transportation was once a personal podcar system in West Virginia

Nestled in the green foothills of the Allegheny Mountains in West Virginia is a college town, Morgantown, pop. 31,000, that is home to what was once hailed as the future of public transportation in the United States.

The system would not look out of place in a sketch from the Jetsons or the desk of Buckminster Fuller: driverless podcars that glide mindlessly across an elevated guideway running between five stations through the town. This is the PRT, short for personal rapid transit, a federally funded project that was once believed to be the answer for traffic clogged towns and cities around the country.

Curbed.com

Alabama Ranked Among Top Business-Friendly States

Area Development, a national publication focused on economic development, has once again ranked Alabama as one of the top states for doing business. The Yellowhammer State ranks sixth overall in the magazine’s 2017 “Top States for Doing Business” analysis. It is the second year in a row the state has been ranked No. 6 and the eighth year it has been included in the top ten.

Yellowhammernews.comi

101 ways to improve transportation in your city

Whether you live in the farthest suburb or in the heart of downtown, how you move around your city shapes your social interactions, your job, and even your family dynamics. Peruse the news, however, and you’ll find a laundry list of transportation nightmares: subway systems in a state of emergency, declining ridership in our biggest metro areas, and unreliable bus systems plaguing commuters.

What’s a transit-loving urbanite to do? In an effort to parse through the doom and gloom—and in honor of Curbed’s first-ever Transportation Week—we want to share 101 smart transportation solutions that can make our cities better.

 Curbed.com

Metalsa Structural Products Expands Production in Owensboro, Kentucky

Automotive frame manufacturer Metalsa Structural Products Inc. will add 113 jobs at its facility in Owensboro, Kentucky. The company will invest $36.5 million to produce a new line of stamped and welded components.

The $36.5 million will include investment in robotic welding cells, assembly line robots, infrastructure and building expansions to increase the facility’s square footage to accommodate the new production line and additional warehouse space.

Area Development

Let’s Stop Government Giveaways to Corporations

Amazon recently sent state and city officials across the country scrambling to respond to its announcement that it was seeking enticements to build a second headquarters, promising 50,000 new jobs and $5 billion in investment to the winning location. Governments are mobilizing to devise lucrative incentive packages. I know how this works, because I spent eight years supporting these types of incentives as the governor of Delaware.

New York Times