On Thursday, September 27th, the GAIN Coalition sponsored a Washington Examiner event hosted at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio. The event highlighted the region’s important and growing role as a hub of innovative manufacturing, infrastructure, economic development, and educational opportunities. Multiple panel discussions featured industry experts as well as local and organizational leaders. An important theme of the event was concisely stated by panelist and former Ohio State Senator Capri Cafaro in her statement: “Infrastructure is a key element in economic development.”
GAIN Strategic Advisor Brigham McCown participated in one of the panels, emphasizing the need for and critical role of modern infrastructure development in the region and across the country. McCown spoke about infrastructure funding, from recent highway grants the state received, to the importance of public-private partnerships to strengthen pipeline networks. Specifically, he highlighted the booming Marcellus and Utica shale formations, and their contributions to the energy industry and role in bringing natural gas prices to the lowest they have been in decades. McCown stresses that this is largely because we “not only have the natural gas [in the region], but we also have the infrastructure to move it from point A to point B.”
For example, the Rover Pipeline, which passes through Michigan, Ohio, and West Virginia, has consisted of $1.3 billion in procurement and has produced more than $147 million in tax revenue to the state and local municipalities. This revenue can then in turn be utilized to fund schools, road and bridge projects, police and fire departments, and other important infrastructure projects that benefit residents.
The positive impact of the U.S. shale boom can be observed across the board. As underlined by Judson Wallace, President of Vallourec Star, a Youngstown-based seamless pipe manufacturer that serves the oil and gas industry, the United States’ decreasing reliance on foreign oil is helping manufacturing businesses throughout the region. This trend is not unique to the region though, as it is undoubtedly benefiting industry across the country. A strong American energy market starts with investment in our critical infrastructure and the ability to safely and efficiently transport product to consumer markets. A reliable, effective energy industry will continue to foster economic growth, job creation, and market stability.
To view a full video of the event, click here.