ATLANTA –Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that he will lead an economic development mission to Europe from September 27 to October 3. Governor Perdue will meet with economic development prospects during the trip, as well as visiting some of the world’s top companies in transportation infrastructure and financing. ...
Governor Perdue will focus on economic development and transportation issues during the trade mission. The trip’s itinerary covers stops in Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon and Milan, where the Georgia delegation will meet with companies and government officials.
Accompanying Governor Perdue on the trip is a delegation of government and elected officials, including Commissioner Ken Stewart of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Commissioner Gena Evans of the Georgia Department of Transportation and Executive Director Dick Anderson of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority. Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Jeff Mullis and House Transportation Committee Chairman Vance Smith will also join the delegation for the transportation portions of the itinerary.
Note the transportation lean.
The Madrid portion of the trip includes a number of transportation-related meetings, including a visit with executives from Cintra, a Spanish company that is a world leader in developing transportation infrastructure. The delegation will also tour two Spanish public/private road projects and meet with SEOPAN, the Spanish Transportation Association.
Cintra is a company that has been in on privatizing road deals in Texas, Indiana and Chicago, I believe. I know they bid on some of those, but I'm not entirely sure the status of various contracts.
At any rate, this company seems likely to be involved with ongoing conversations about building privately owned toll roads in Georgia, or selling existing roads to companies. DOT Commissioner Evans, in Macon on Monday, basically told everyone to get ready for stuff like that to happen, because it's either new taxes or new tolls to fund the cash-strapped DOT.
Back to the governor's office for context on the trip:
This mission marks the 16th overall international trip and third to Europe of Governor Perdue’s sixty-eight months in office. Previous visits include: Germany and the United Kingdom (June 2003); Japan and Korea (October 2003); El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (May 2004); Brazil, Chile, and Argentina (June 2004); Mexico (September 2004); Canada (July 2005); Japan (October 2005); Israel (November 2005); Korea (March 2006); Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Belgium (June 2007); Japan and Korea (October 2007); Canada (November 2007); China (March-April 2008); and China (August 2008). The Governor also visited with United States military personnel during a Thanksgiving 2005 trip to Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.