By Michael Ammann
President, Solano Economic Development Corporation
As we move into the second quarter of 2011, things are beginning to pick up a little on the economic front, in the nation and California. With this improvement come the opportunities for Solano County to step up to the plate and take advantage of its tremendous location in Northern California Mega Region.
We are centrally located between two of the fastest growing mega regions in the nation – if not in the world. The Bay Area and Sacramento metropolitan areas, even with all their challenges, are still dynamic and full of potential.
Solano County is the “heart” of these two Mega Regions.
Just stop and think about what Solano County offers:
Transportation. Freeway link Solano County east and west, via Interstate 80. Then, add freeways that go from Solano south into Walnut Creek, Plesanton and points south. And, from Vacaville, freeways link Solano to the fast growing areas of Yolo and points north along I-5. And remember the investment in two new bridges, the repaving of I-80 and on-going improvements to Highway 12 from Rio Vista to Napa.
Solano also is within an hour’s drive of three major metropolitan airports: San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento. No other county can make that boast.
Think of it this way: within an hour you are on your way to visit family, take a business trip to New York or Europe, or just go skiing in Colorado or Canada!
In addition, express buses move easily through morning and evening freeway traffic on their way to major cities, and the Amtrak service offers the opportunity to take a ride into downtown San Francisco.
Housing: The recession and housing crash was a tremendous blow to Solano’s overall economy. That is a fact, but that will change – it already is showing signs of new life. As the economy begins to grow families will be seeking areas that offer good housing at prices lower than those they can find closer to San Francisco, Napa, and the East Bay.
Great Communities: Our cities are among the best in California. They are clean, safe, and affordable, with convenient shopping and low traffic congestion. Through all the growth of the past decade Solano’s cities have been able to maintain that “hometown” atmosphere many seek.
Jobs: While we can expect a continual need for our county residents to commute to good jobs in the Bay and Sacramento areas, we still can boast a pretty solid core of jobs – and that can be expected to grow as businesses grow in the coming years.
Solano Economic Development Corporation, working with the Solano County Board of Supervisors, has conducted extensive research studies for the past four years. These studies are creating a blueprint for growth. These combined studies make it clear where our best economic growth opportunities lie. It can allow developers and local cities to focus on economic clusters that can bring new dollars and jobs into the county boundaries. Life sciences, agriculture and food processing, alternative energy products and sources, research and development, and manufacturing—these are the areas that promise economic stability in the years to come.
It’s time for all of us – and especially those involved in planning – put on an optimistic face and move forward.
A better future for Solano County and its residents can only be achieved if we act now. Solano EDC is prepared to embrace this tremendous opportunity and all the challenges that come with it.
We truly are the “Heart of two Mega Regions – San Francisco and Sacramento.