Governor Deval L. Patrick
Visit to Bridgewater State University’s Aviation Training Facility
Bridgewater State University
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thank you, very much, President Mohler-Faria – my friend and an extraordinary leader in education, and in all things Massachusetts, and in many things      globally.  Thank you very much for the exceptionally warm introduction and for the warm welcome here today to the Bridgewater State University aviation training facility.  Good morning, everyone and thanks for coming out. 

Congratulations to everyone at the training facility for the continued excellence in aviation management and training among many other fields here at Bridgewater State.

I want to thank Mayor Scott Lang, an extraordinary leader and a great friend and the other elected officials who are here, and I want to especially acknowledge the Mayor Elect – it’s going to be a great ride.  And I want to thank the mayor for his continued support of the program and New Bedford Regional Airport.

I’d like to acknowledge the strong partnership between the FAA, represented today by Administrator Malika, the Aeronautics Division of MassDOT which is represented today by Chris Willenborg and Secretary Davey, the various Airports, and the several passionate aviation advocates.  That collaboration is helping us to address our Commonwealth’s airport infrastructure needs and foster the economic development that goes with it.

And I especially want to thank all the students and staff at the Aviation Training Facility.  I have a tremendous respect for what you do.  I had it before I got here, but after sitting in the simulator, I have to tell you how extraordinary it is that you do what you do and do it so well.  I am proud of the fact that I landed on the lawn out there and that was only because I survived the first attempt to do so.

The point about the economic impact of aviation here in the Commonwealth, is a point not to be understated.  The aviation industry is the catalyst for growth in Massachusetts and has been for some time now.  Our 39 public-use airports generate $11.9 billion in annual economic activity and support 124,000 jobs.  Our airports – from Great Barrington to Newburyport, from Marshfield to Gardner to Logan, which is represented here today – attract tourism and commercial travel and activity, as well as training and educational facilities like the one we’re visiting here today.  In addition, general aviation serves our communities by facilitating emergency medical transport as the President referred, assisting with search and rescue and law enforcement operations, and providing youth outreach activities as well.  Aviation matters to Massachusetts.

And we are investing in it at the level of state government.  MassDOT, working with the City of New Bedford, has invested $7 million in a runway end safety area project that will improve safety for aviation users including the students and flight instructors here at Bridgewater State University, and create dozens of jobs while we’re at it.  Just last month, Gulfstream Aerospace announced the expansion of their aircraft maintenance service facility at Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport, a project that will create 200 construction jobs and 100 new full-time positions in addition to maintaining Gulfstream’s current 130-member workforce.

Because of investments just like these, Massachusetts is growing jobs today faster than most other states.  It’s why we are growing our economy more than twice as fast as the national growth rate.  Our unemployment rate continues to be well below the national average and going down.  None of this is by accident.  It’s because we understand that it takes a partnership between government, the private sector, universities, individual citizens, and yes, advocates, to invest in our future and drive a better tomorrow.  That’s why we concentrate on education, on innovation, and on infrastructure.  The three pillars of our growth strategy that are delivering these results and delivering, I believe, a more promising future for all of us. 

In that spirit and because of that growth, I am proud to proclaim this month General Aviation Month.  This is one of my favorite things to do as Governor – to proclaim things.  And I have a proclamation I would like to present to the Administration and to the Secretary.