By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Congressman Jo Bonner (R) from Mobile said in his monthly column that the, “Announcement that Airbus will be locating a major manufacturing plant in Mobile” and “Congress’s final passage of the RESTORE Act” were equally big stories.
Representative Jo Bonner said, “The combination of Airbus and RESTORE was enough to lift the Gulf Coast into the clouds. For a region that suffered an unprecedented environmental disaster after winning a major military aircraft contract only to see it taken away from us, we were overdue a celebration or two.”
Rep. Bonner said, “Airbus landing in Mobile was a regional victory without question. The official press conference at the Mobile Convention Center was attended by local leaders from throughout Southwest Alabama. We can all cheer for the 1,000 direct jobs and the 2,500 construction jobs that will come to Mobile because following them will be even more job openings throughout our area as Airbus suppliers seek business-friendly communities to set up shop.”
The Mobile Congressman said, “Just as Mercedes transformed Alabama and our role in automotive manufacturing 15 years ago, Airbus will now help transform the entire Gulf Coast into a new corridor of aviation excellence.”
On the final passage of the RESTORE ACT Rep. Bonner said, “The RESTORE Act is now the law of the land, directing the lion’s share of future Clean Water Act fine money from the BP spill to the Gulf Coast states for local economic and environmental restoration. The approval of RESTORE has the potential to positively impact our coastal communities in ways not seen in a lifetime. While the total amount of funds to be collected from BP and other responsible parties is yet to be determined, the general view is the final settlement could be in the billions of dollars. Eighty percent of what BP and others pay under the Clean Water Act will be funneled to the five Gulf Coast states, including Alabama.”
Rep. Bonner said, “It has taken a year of hard work to pass the RESTORE Act. Given the amount of gridlock on Capitol Hill these days, RESTORE’s enactment is a tremendous accomplishment and another reason to celebrate.”
On the Airbus announcement Rep. Bonner said that EADS (the parent company of Airbus) began the process of its American expansion in, “January, 2005, when EADS issued a ‘Request for Information’ for a manufacturing site in the United States. They were very careful—as we know they are—and looked at 70 sites in 32 states. Finally, in June, 2005 they selected our home, Mobile to become their home in the United States. We all know the purpose of the initial selection process was to find a site to build a new tanker for the Air Force. But EADS went an extra step and said they would build an Airbus Engineering Center right away. They wanted to plant their flag deeply into American soil.” The Air Force tanker project ultimately was derailed by Boeing and their political allies, but Airbus and Mobile were not deterred by that setback and proceeded with their plans to build commercial airliners in Mobile.