Mississippi-Alabama Ink Pact

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Gov. Bob Riley of Alabama and Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove signed a letter of intent this morning to work together on efforts to build industrial parks on the state line.

Riley said one purpose of the project would be to create jobs in the economically depressed Black Belt region of southwest Alabama.

Musgrove said the agreement would lead to improved quality of life for people in Alabama and Mississippi.

A letter of intent signed Thursday in Montgomery called for quote "their full and unconditional support to a coordinated, cooperative marketing effort between the two states."

"Today is an historic day for the state of Mississippi and the state of Alabama," said Musgrove. "Mississippi and Alabama are coming together to work toward a common goal, the creation of quality jobs for our citizens."

Steve Hale, Mississippi's chief economic developer did not accompany Musgrove to Meridian.

"Right now he is in New York City meeting with over 40 international site selection consultants talking about this very agreement today," Musgrove said. "People and big business people, literally around the country, realize that this is the first agreement of its kind by any states in the nation."

Gov. Musgrove said it wouldn't matter which side of the line on which a factory would be built.

"It would certainly be more ideal if it straddled the line but no, the industrial park would straddle the line and so within the park it wouldn't matter where it was located," said Musgrove. "The important part is that both western Alabama and eastern Mississippi would get benefit from a tremendous number of high quality, high paying jobs."

Musgrove quoted expert opinions saying that in the next 20 years, 150 new auto plants will be built worldwide. Forty of those would likely be located in the southeastern part of the United States.