ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Georgia will receive more than $189 million to grow and expand infrastructure across the state.
Albany leaders are applying for grants and have a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. fighting for as much of that money as possible.
Albany city leaders say one of the biggest items they're taking back home with them today is how to expand and grow infrastructure.
They said infrastructure is one of the keys to growing business in the area.
“Georgia has been named the best state in the country to do business with for the sixth straight year. And that did not happen by accident,” said Senator David Perdue.
As the room in Macon filled with applause from 2,000 Georgia business leaders and state and federal representatives, Albany leaders thought about how this news will affect their city back home.
“Infrastructure remains high on everyone’s priority list," said the Albany Chamber of Commerce CEO, Barbara Rivera Holmes.
Expanding highways and roadways makes it easier to ship goods in and out of Albany.
It’s something needed to attract business both big and small to the area.
“I’m all in for infrastructure. And we have a lot to do in that arena," said Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard.
Hubbard said it will take federal and state grants to do the work.
US Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, announced the state will receive more than $189 million in transportation grants to expand infrastructure.
“To ensure that historically neglected rural areas now get proper consideration,” said Chao.
Chao said the main focus with the grant money will go to expanding infrastructure through rural Georgia.
Mayor Hubbard said they’re still waiting to see how that money will be divided among cities, but they have already started applying for the grants.
“Need a fair chance to compete and not be discriminated against when federal funding is being given out," Chao said.
Other issues discussed at the luncheon:
Members of the Albany Area Chamber of commerce were among the 2000 Georgia business leaders and federal and state representatives gathering in Macon Tuesday.
And there are three key items the chamber is focusing on in terms of economic growth in Albany.
The first is infrastructure.
The second biggest takeaway today is helping small businesses grow.
Holmes said Albany needs Congress to continue to invest in small businesses.
The third item Holmes said they’re really focusing on this year is investing more money into military installations. In Albany’s case, the Marine Corps Logistics Base.
It’s the biggest employer in Southwest Georgia, and it must rely on federal funding to continue to grow.
Senator David Perdue’s response to the US, China Trade War:
South Georgia farmers are still wondering how the US, China Trade War will affect their profits this season.
Senator David Perdue said he does expect the trade war to be long term.
But he said he is working on what he calls short term equal access when it comes to trading goods.
All trade between the US and China has stopped.
And farmers are losing money they would normally make selling their crops overseas.
A financial burden that could be extremely harmful to many in the wake of Hurricane Michael back in October.
Senator Perdue passionately spoke on the issue of the tariffs Tuesday in front of two thousand Georgia business leaders and federal and state representatives in Macon.
He said right now, they won’t trade with China until he says, they stop using US technology for their overseas ventures, the country complies with World Trade Organization rules, and China stops what he calls a Cyber War, and give equal access when trading.
“Anytime you get in a situation like this, both sides suffer for a while. But I agree with the objective long term of creating a level playing field with all of our trading partners around the world,” said Perdue.
Senator Perdue said he will be heading to China over Labor Day Weekend.
He plans to speak with leaders in Beijing about trade negotiations.
Southwest Georgia leaders and state representatives are getting ready for a fly into Washington D.C. in September. They’re going to further discuss with members of Congress these major issues and how to further fund them.