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Statement By:
Barney Bishop III, President and CEO, Associated Industries of Florida

Regarding Gov. Crist’s Recommendations for Space Investments

January 28, 2010

“Keeping Cape Canaveral the capital for manned space flight in the United States is critical to our economy and the health of the space industry in Florida. Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) applauds Gov. Crist for his forward-looking recommendations of infrastructure investments that will keep space workers employed and maintain Florida’s position as a leader in space innovation.

As the statewide business association that has taken the lead on space issues with the Legislature over the last three years, we know these strategic investments will help Florida preserve our original ‘high-tech industry’ and remain competitive in the newly-emerging commercial space flight business.

We pledge to aggressively lobby the Legislature to fund these key investments, including $10 million for Space Florida to finance space industry job retention and business expansion which can have an immediate impact on jobs, not just at the Cape, but all across Florida through subcontractors that do work on aerospace programs. In addition, the recommended $3 million to emerging space businesses is perfect for companies like Space X, which has already made a huge investment at the Cape for private space flights. The $12.6 million designed to assist in the development and management of state-of-the-art facilities will go a long way to create highwage jobs. And, finally, the recommendation of an additional $3.2 million for workforce
training and education will help to stem the tide of looming lay-offs as the Space Shuttle program nears its end.

Together, these gubernatorial recommendations illustrate that this Governor and Lt. Governor appreciate the historical significance of Florida’s space program, the challenges rising from states like Virginia who are actively trying to replace Florida as our country’s preeminent spaceport, and the need to create jobs for Floridians now.”