Geraldine Gambale, Editor, Area Development Magazine
While much of the nation is worried about the downturn in the housing and financial markets, the citizens of El Paso can see the light at the end of the tunnel. That's because Fort Bliss was not only spared the government's axe when it recommended base closures in 2005, but will also receive an influx of some 28,000 troops over the next five years. The troop growth is part of the military's global troop repositioning that has also resulted in Fort Bliss becoming the home for Future Combat Systems testing. Developments at Fort Bliss are expected to have a $6.3 billion impact on the region's economy.
In response to this projected growth, local officials have already issued hundreds of millions of dollars in school bonds, opened the world's largest inland water desalination plant, and are attempting to lure defense contractors to the region. Bob Cook, president of El Paso Regional Economic Development Corp. (REDCO), says he is working with 32 defense contractors who are considering placing operations in the El Paso area.
Additionally, El Paso recently received some other accolades, including: #2 safest U.S. city with population over 500,000 (FBI UCR/Morgan Quitno Press, 2007) #2 large North American (population 575,000 to 1.25 million) "City of the Future" (Financial Times-London, FDI magazine, 2007) #3 among top 100 U.S. metros for five-year job growth (Forbes, January 2008) #3 in Texas/#20 in U.S. for origination of exports (USDoC, 2006)