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  • Pima County takes significant step to protect jobs at Raytheon

    Feb 18, 2014 | Read More News
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    The Pima County Board of Supervisors Tuesday paved the way for construction of a new alignment that will serve two primary functions: protecting jobs with the region’s largest private employer and providing a building block for a future aerospace and defense business park.  

    The 4-1 vote establishes Hughes Access Road as a county highway and will allow the relocation of a four-mile stretch of the road half mile to the south from Nogales Highway to Alvernon Way.

    That extra cushion will help secure buffer space for sensitive Raytheon operations while allowing future expansion for the company, if the need or opportunity arises.

    Aside from improving connectivity throughout the entire area, the space also will serve as the backbone for a new, 10-mile aerospace and defense parkway that will support compatible development in a new potential aerospace and defense research and business park.

    Road construction could begin as early as this year on the $12.7 million project, which has roots in discussions dating to late 2006.
    Sarah Smallhouse, a member of the board of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council who spoke on her own behalf, was one of several members of the business community testifying in support of the strategic investment.

    “I think this represents a huge opportunity to strengthen our economy and to make this an attractive place for the employers who are here, employers who want to grow and employers we want to attract,” Smallhouse said.

    Joe Snell, the chief executive officer of Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, said the project “is an investment in something that will accelerate our future recovery. It’s about jobs. It’s about good paying jobs.”

    The aerospace and defense employment center, he said, “gives us an opportunity to create something special, an asset, that we currently don’t have…In short, I think it will improve our competitiveness to have an asset that will help us bring back some of those good paying jobs lost in the great recession.”

    Supervisor Ramón Valadez, whose district includes Raytheon, said the project makes good, long-term sense in protecting Raytheon’s operations locally. Additionally, he said, “This is providing economic development opportunities - not a handout - for other companies to be located next to our largest private employer. This is simply about what is good for the economic development future of this community.”

    Supervisor Richard Elías concurred. “We need to move forward with this item and help protect good paying jobs on the southside and protect the business environment for all of us here.”

    Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said the project will not necessarily be a guarantee that Raytheon will expand here, but said it is an important piece of those future discussions if the potential arises.

    “What we must do is allow them first opportunity to consolidate operations here - and not constrain them such that they relocate from this region.”

    Hughes Realignment 
     Click on the above image to see a full size map.