SLC Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee

The topics explored by the Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee include a number of critical issues relevant to the progress and advancement of the Southern region. As the Southern states continue to diversify their economies, the Committee has studied a number of issues to further its understanding of this diversification process. In addition, the Committee has focused on exploring the role of the arts as a catalyst for economic growth and the fact that a thriving cultural scenario is an important consideration in the relocation and expansion plans of corporations. Such issues as federal transportation plans and their implications for Southern states; competition among states to attract economic investment; attracting and retaining high-tech investment; promoting Southern state exports; high speed rail in the South; promoting biotechnology are recurring topics.


Jeanie Lauer


Vice Chair

Manly Barton


Past Chair

Jeff Mullis



Recent Research

SLC Special Series Report | January 8, 2018

Blown Away: Wind Energy in the Southern States (Part II)

Anne Roberts Brody

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Remarkably, without much fanfare, the nation’s wind energy sector continues to grow, a testimony to both advances in technology and deliberate measures by policymakers to create an environment to stimulate the development of this power source. At the close of 2016, installed wind capacity in the United States exceeded 82,000 megawatts (MW), surpassing hydropower for the first time in the nation’s history. In total, installed wind energy capacity grew by 8,203 MW over the previous year and now generates about 5.5 percent of the country’s electricity, enough to power 24 million homes.

Given this burgeoning sector’s ability to create jobs and provide additional energy security and independence in the United States, the often asked question regarding the viability of utility-scale wind power development depends on several factors, including quality of the available wind resources, regional market prices for electrical power, transmission capacity and accessibility, and state-specific policies. While these factors are crucial to the successful development of wind power, states with limited wind resources may benefit from expanded utilization of this renewable resource. This SLC Special Series Report, the second in a series exploring the myriad impacts of wind energy expansion in the Southern region, examines the development of the industry in Texas, Oklahoma and Virginia. Specifically, this report explores the resources, capacity and transmission; policies and incentives; and economic impacts of wind energy generation in these states, thus demonstrating the opportunities available.

SLC Special Series Report | May 1, 2017

Blown Away: Wind Energy in Southern States (Part 1)

Anne Roberts Brody

The nation's energy sector is undergoing substantial changes, as political and economic factors converge to encourage diversification in generation. Aided by state and federal tax credits, renewable energy generation technologies are experiencing unprecedented growth as production costs decline and implementation increases.

As the renewable energy sector continues to grow, concerns that such expansions could lead to widespread job losses in traditional energy sectors, such as coal, have proliferated. Southern states are rich in traditional energy resources; thus, many state economies have long depended on these resources. Because of the importance of these industries to the region, both in terms of economic development and employment opportunities, legislators often are faced with balancing business interests with the need for environmental protection and conservation.

This SLC Special Series Report, the first in a series exploring the myriad impacts of wind energy expansion on SLC states, examines the benefits of wind energy in the Southern region. Forthcoming reports present case studies from three SLC states, examine SLC states' capacity for wind energy generation and utilization, analyze state incentives, and explore the challenges of wind energy generation in the region.

Policy Analysis | January 29, 2016

Vehicle Sales Soar to Record Levels in 2015

Sujit CanagaRetna

In 2009, the American auto industry was enfeebled and on the verge of collapse.* Not only had auto production and sales cratered at a dizzying rate, tens of thousands of Americans were being laid off from jobs in various aspects of the industry. Presidents Bush and Obama’s efforts to revive the industry by injecting emergency bailout assistance also faced intense opposition, with widespread calls for the federal government to refrain from intervening and infusing critical funds to resuscitate the industry. However, the emergency federal funding proved to be tremendously important in turning around the fortunes of General Motors and Chrysler, and their revival generated a panoply of positive effects for the nation’s other major industry producer (Ford). The dozen or so foreign automakers operating largely in the SLC states also benefitted from the improving national and regional economic picture on the automotive front and demonstrated strong progress in terms of production, sales and expansion.

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More SLC Research into Economic Development

SLC Regional Resource | February 27, 2014

Aeronautics in the SLC States: Cleared for Takeoff

SLC Regional Resource | November 19, 2013

Tire Manufacturing: Southern States Roll to the Top

SLC Regional Resource | July 11, 2013

Workforce Development in the SLC States

Presentation | October 5, 2012

Economic Development Trends from the States

SLC Regional Resource | June 1, 2010

Creating Value: Recycling in the Southern States

Presentation | February 21, 2009

Economic Status of the States

SLC Special Series Report | November 1, 2003

The Drive to Move South