Gov. Jan Brewer today announced that former Congressman Jim Kolbe will serve as Co-Chairman of the Arizona Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance. In February, the Governor announced the formation of the panel comprised of statewide and local experts in transportation, international trade and energy.
“With more than two decades of service in the United States House of Representatives – in addition to a wealth of expertise in transatlantic relations, international development and foreign policy – Mr. Kolbe is an ideal candidate to help lead the Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance,” said Governor Brewer. “I am grateful he has agreed to provide his leadership and knowledge to fellow members and to the State of Arizona.”
Kolbe, who served Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1985 to 2007, has continued to focus on issues related to international trade since leaving office. He currently serves as a Senior Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States; Senior Adviser to McLarty Associates, a strategic consulting firm; Co-Chairman of the Transatlantic Taskforce on Development and of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN). He also serves on the boards of numerous organizations, including Freedom House, the International Republican Institute and the Southern Arizona Community Food Bank.
“Arizona is uniquely positioned as a fast growing, southwestern border state to reap the economic benefits of expanded trade and investment with Mexico, Canada and the Far East. But for that to happen, the state’s transportation system and border infrastructure must be up to the task,” said Kolbe. “It will be the mission of the Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance to help plan for the future and guide state resources so that they are used as efficiently and effectively as possible. Building such a network will expand trade and investment that in turn creates jobs and brings economic development to Arizona. I’m excited to be able to play a part in this group’s important work.”
Kolbe and ADOT Director John Halikowski will serve as Co-Chairmen of the Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance. The pair will facilitate discussions among the Alliance’s steering-committee members and stakeholders.
“The Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance is an opportunity for Arizona to more directly assess the linkage between economic development and infrastructure needs,” said Director Halikowski. “The roads and bridges we use everyday are strongly tied to the ability of businesses – and the state – to succeed in an ever-changing marketplace. Strong infrastructure connections are critical to Arizona’s ability to compete in the global economy.”
In February 2012, Governor Brewer asked that ADOT lead the Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance as part of an initiative to strengthen the State’s ability to compete for economic development and jobs. ADOT – in collaboration with the Arizona-Mexico Commission and the Arizona Commerce Authority – will bring together public and private sector partners to assess opportunities for Arizona to pursue investments in trade corridors such as the newly-designated Interstate 11, and to explore enhancements to border infrastructure.
The Alliance will help identify how best to take advantage of the state’s current resources and guide future investment in a strategic way to increase the capacity of existing corridors – all with the ultimate goal of improving Arizona’s competitiveness in a global marketplace.