Governor Bryant praises work of Go Coast 2020 - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Governor Bryant praises work of Go Coast 2020

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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant had high praise for the group he appointed in August to determine how best to spend millions of dollars in BP fine money from the oil spill.

Meeting with members of Go Coast 2020 the governor told them, "You came through and you made me proud." 

The group met Wednesday at the Coast Coliseum Convention Center for an update on its final report and the Restore Act settlement talks.

"What I'm trying to do is move it forward as quickly as we can. Now I don't want to be here seven years from now trying to figure out where that Restore Act money ought to be going to," said Gov. Bryant, as he addressed members of Go Coast 2020 at a meeting in Biloxi.

Governor Bryant told them the group has developed a great outline for helping restore the coast with that BP settlement money. Among its recommendations is developing a high-tech corridor along the coast by promoting broadband.

"A broadband community that stretches across the gulf coast, that we can bring in high tech industries. There's only a few places in the country that have that capability and we're very near now to having that. We just need to invest in it," the governor explained.

Among the many projects recommended, return on investment was a key consideration.

"It's not really a political process, it's based on the facts and what monies could be developed to create the most jobs, the most opportunity here on the coast. Certainly, the state benefits from that, cause anything good for the coast is good for the state," said group member and Hancock Bank executive, John Hairston.

DEQ Director Trudy Fisher has been involved in the Restore Act BP settlement discussions. She cautioned, it could be many months before the money reaches Mississippi.

"We don't know when there's going to be a settlement of this case. And we still don't know how much. And we really still don't know, but we're working through the Restore Council, how restore money will come to the gulf states and federal agencies," said Director Fisher.

The governor praised the report and urged cooperation among the coastal counties.

"And we can have this common bond in which we're looking at economic development and growth opportunities across the Mississippi gulf coast and pulling together, pulling together as the gulf coast can," said Gov. Bryant.

The full report from Go Coast 2020 will be released to the public in January.

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