Greater Gallup has Strategies and Support to Recover from Covid-19’s Setbacks
19 Jan 2021
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded a $600,000 grant to the City of Gallup, New Mexico, to support regional economic recovery strategies for healthcare and transportation industries. The project will be matched with $150,000 in local funds. The grant was funded by the CARES Act, which provided $1.5 billion to EDA for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.
“This investment comes at a crucial time to help New Mexico and our nation’s economy come roaring back and provide a roadmap for hard-working Americans to access new opportunities,” says Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This project will support regionally-developed, comprehensive plans in key industries to promote economic diversification in Gallup, and the Opportunity Zone designation will attract additional investment to the area.”
Michael Sage, Deputy Director of the Greater Gallup Economic Development Corporation (GGEDC) elaborated, “The mission of the GGEDC is to recruit economic base employers. We accomplish our mission by leveraging our transportation assets.”
Those transportation assets include roads, particularly I-40, rail via the 2,000 acre Gallup Energy Logistics Park, the first facility of its kind in New Mexico to anchor an Energy Logistics Park on the BNSF Railway Southern Transcontinental corridor. Now, thanks to new investment in the Gallup municipal airport, GGEDC is working to restore passenger air service to build a solid transportation asset.
Some of the transportation money in the new EDA grant must be specifically allocated to address Covid-19 and air service. In Gallup that’s important because thanks to airline restructuring and economic challenges, the Gallup Municipal Airport hasn’t had passenger service since 2010. Though that limitation has hampered business and inconvenienced leisure travelers, it presented a far more formidable obstacle during the pandemic by slowing the arrival and deployment of health care professionals, first responders, and critical supplies.
The recovery plan will also support the re-shoring of health care manufacturing. The ability for a Foreign Investor to fly directly into Gallup could be a deciding factor when an international company is choosing whether to locate a project in Gallup
The grant will fund a comprehensive airport master plan that will include a feasibility study for restoring passenger service.
Another feasibility study will be conducted on autonomous mobility (The Autonomy Plan) for testing and developing driverless vehicles. The proactive approach detailed in the grant proposal is an important step in establishing goals and determining the strategies and infrastructure that will be required to ensure a safe and efficient transition to the new technologies.
“The autonomous and mobility sector is a growth sector in the larger transportation sector, so it's a natural fit for Gallup,” Sage adds. “Gallup was founded as a transportation town, due to the railroad, and this grant will allow GGEDC to create the next chapter of mobility for Gallup.”
This project was made possible by regional planning efforts led by Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments (NWNMCOG), which EDA funds to help the public and private sectors collaborate to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.