Governor Rick Scott’s proposed budget for next fiscal year includes $325 million for aviation improvements, as part of a $9 billion investment in strategic transportation improvements throughout the state.
The announcement was made at Tuesday’s Florida Airports Council Meeting in Tallahassee, as part of Gov. Scott’s “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget.” Pensacola International Airport is in line for $14 million. Director Greg Donovan says the money is earmarked for expansion projects – including attempts to lure ST Aerospace.
Singapore Technologies Aerospace’s specializes in the maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft, employing 1500 people at Brookley Field in Mobile. Plans include locating a satellite operation inside Pensacola International Airport’s Commerce Park, which would create at least 300 new jobs.
In December, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward announced that he had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ST Aerospace in Mobile. The non-binding MOU capped two years of negotiations under the code name “Project Stallion.”
In November, Escambia County commissioners were asked to commit up to $10 million in Local Option Sales Tax funds toward the ST project. Tentative approval was given, if the city can identify a revenue stream to repay that money. At last check, the proposal remains in limbo.
There have been reports that the Air Force plans to cut about 22,500 personnel next fiscal year. If that happens, Donovan says it would give the Pensacola area a unique opportunity from a workforce standpoint that could benefit ST Aerospace.
Donovan says the available workforce and training programs are not only big draws for ST, but also for other companies that are seeking to locate in the region – many which would be spinoff businesses for Mobile’s Airbus plant, which is now under construction.