Gov. Sonny Perdue will lead a weeklong mission to Europe starting Sept. 27 to seek transportation solutions for Georgia and to build relationships with current and potential investors in the state.

The delegation will visit Italy, Portugal and Spain to market the state’s economic advantages and learn from top European companies on ways to create and finance transportation projects.

Building transportation infrastructure will be vital to sustaining economic growth in the state, and attracting foreign investment in other sectors can create jobs as uncertainty rises in the U.S., Mr. Perdue’s spokesman Bert Brantley told GlobalAtlanta.

“It’s a lot like running a business.  When they see declining sales, they increase advertising to get the word out about what they’re doing, and I think that’s the attitude the governor’s taking,” he said.

This week, Georgia Department of Transportation officials and state legislators conducted a seven-city “listening tour” throughout the state to gather a compendium of public suggestions.

Europe can add to the state’s knowledge base even further, Mr. Perdue said.

“Europe has some of the world’s most innovative ideas on financing transportation infrastructure.  We will see some of these ideas first hand in order to understand what approaches could be used in Georgia,” he said in a statement.

Mr. Perdue will be joined by Georgia DOT Commissioner Gena Evans, Georgia Regional Transportation Authority Director Dick Anderson, as well as Jeff Mullis and Vance Smith, chairs of the State Senate and House transportation committees, respectively.

In Spain’s capital city of Madrid, the delegation will visit Cintra, a transportation infrastructure company with consolidated assets of 16 billion euros that specializes in toll highways and car parks, according to its Web site.

The group also will tour two public/private highway projects and meet with SEOPAN, the Spanish transportation association.

In Barcelona, the delegation will meet with Jose Montilla, president of Catalonia, the autonomous region in eastern Spain where Barcelona is located.

There, Mr. Perdue will speak at an “Invest in Georgia” seminar hosted by the U.S.-Spain Chamber of Commerce.  Simultaneously, economic development Commissioner Ken Stewart will be discussing energy at a roundtable hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Madrid.

Stops in Italy and Portugal will focus mostly on shoring up relationships with companies that have made substantial investments in Georgia.

In the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, Mr. Perdue will call on EFACEC Group, a power substations manufacturer investing $100 million to build a transformer manufacturing facility in Effingham County.

Mr. Perdue will also visit Pirelli Tire officials in Milan, Italy.  Pirelli has a tire manufacturing facility and its U.S. headquarters in Rome, Ga.

Mr. Brantley said it’s “vitally important” to thank international partners for their business so they’ll think of Georgia when they consider expansions that could create jobs for the state’s residents.

Citing the Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia plant in West Point, Mr. Brantley said international investments have a heavy impact on the state’s economy.

“Those projects tend to create many more jobs and much more investment than domestic projects do, and of course the Kia site and the suppliers are helping those statistics,” he said.

Mr. Perdue has taken 16 international trips and visited 18 different countries since taking office in 2003.


As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...