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Top States for Doing Business: Permitting, Infrastructure, and Shovel-Ready

Area Development magazine asked a selected group of highly respected industry consultants to respond to a "flash survey" on their picks for the best states for business. The respondents considered eight site selection criteria: business costs, business friendliness, corporate taxes, overall labor climate, work force development programs, fast-track permitting, rail and highway accessibility, and shovel-ready sites.

Area Development Online Research Desk (September 2010)

Top States for Business: Permitting, Infrastructure, and Shovel-Ready (1/8)


The ability of states to efficiently secure permitting for projects, to have the necessary infrastructure in place, as well as to provide an inventory of "pre-certified" or "shovel-ready" sites, are critical components of attracting business. The top five states selected by Area Development consultants performed the best in these areas.

Next: Permitting, Infrastructure, and Shovel-Ready

Permitting, Infrastructure, and Shovel-Ready (2/8)


Tennessee led the surveyed consultants' list when it came to permitting, infrastructure, and availability of shovel-ready sites.

Next: Tennesee

1. Tennessee (3/8)


Tennessee took top honors for its speed of permitting projects, providing businesses with the infrastructure they need to establish operations in the state, and its inventory of pre-certified sites. A combination of these advantages attracted companies including SMW Automotive, Whirlpool, and IB-Tech. In September, appliance giant Whirlpool selected Cleveland, Tennessee, as the site of a new $120 million facility.

Next: Mississippi

2. Mississippi (4/8)


Mississippi closely followed Tennessee in the consultants' choices. The state drew some impressive investments this year. Australian company CQMS Razer, BorgWarner Drivetrain Systems, and furniture company Southern Motion all selected the state for new and expanded operations.

Next: Alabama

3. Alabama (5/8)


Alabama's permitting/infrastructure qualities attracted a number of companies to the state. Both GE Aviation and Lakeside Steel decided to locate in Alabama this year. GE will build a $40 million for coatings for military jet engines, while Lakeside Steel will invest the same amount in its Thomasville facility that produces tubing and casings.

Next: Indiana

4. Indiana (6/8)


Representing the Midwest, the consultants recognized Indiana for its business-friendly policies with regard to permitting, its high-quality infrastructure, and inventory of shovel-ready sites. Over the past year, companies including Beck's Superior Hybrids, Ohio Rod Products, and Biomet chose to expand operations in the state.

Next: South Carolina

5. South Carolina (7/8)


South Carolina's permitting and infrastructure policies helped attracted some high profile investments this year. Boeing selected the Palmetto State for a new $750 million facility. Germany's ZF Group chose South Carolina for a $350 million manufacturing site. And Pulcra Chemicals chose it for a new company headquarters.

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