Alliance focus of Texas Comptroller’s port tour

In years past a television ad called Texas “a whole ‘nother country.”

Based on information provided by Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar Wednesday, it could very well be. A large reason for such is defined in the “Good For Texas Tour: Ports Edition.”

Hegar was at Alliance Airport to reveal the economic impact Texas’ 29 ports of entry have on the state’s economy. The Alliance Global Logistics Hub is part of this group.

“Not just North Texas, but think of the Metroplex as a region,” Hegar said. “It would be tied with the Houston area as the 14th largest state in personal income with a little over $350 billion.”

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The Alliance port is one of two unique inland ports in Texas that are not connected to water, the other being in San Antonio. However, they do much for the economy with their air, land and rail connections.

“While Alliance does engage in some trade, the bulk of its economic activity results from its role as one of two intermodal logistics facilities in Texas,” Hegar said. “These facilities serve as important logistics hubs, providing tenants access to runways, major highways and railways. Ongoing capital investments and recently announced expansions are strong indicators of Alliance’s economic potential.”

The Alliance Global Logistics Hub supports an estimated 67,000 jobs, generates $10.9 billion in economic activity and adds $6.4 billion to the state’s gross domestic product, officials released.

Residents in the Alliance area enjoy $3.6 billion in disposable personal income. Anchored by the Alliance Global Logistics Hub, the Alliance Texas Development is home to more than 425 companies.

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Located on Fort Worth’s North Side, the Alliance Global Logistics Hub began in 1990 with the world’s first industrial airport. Its features include a 376-acre intermodal facility operated by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and 9,600 acres within an 18,000-acre mixed use development.

“Being a senior in college at the time, I probably didn’t appreciate the economy then,” Hegar said with a chuckle. “I certainly can now.”

Other highlights of the Alliance Hub include the Hillwood Commons Offices in Alliance Town Center, which includes the relocation of GE Transportation’s Global Services Operations Group, and the Alliance Opportunity Center at Alliance Crossing. Also, the Alliance Airport has been around for more than a quarter of a century, hosting the Bell Helicopter Fort Worth Alliance Air Show for 25 years and being home to FedEx Southwest Regional Sort Hub.

And, social media giant Facebook is in the process of constructing five buildings totaling nearly 2.5 million square feet in the Alliance Hub, with the first data center expected to go online early next year. In all, it is an investment that could reach beyond $1 billion and have more than 120 employees when completed. In the meantime, over 900 workers are on site constructing the project.

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Hegar said the location of the Alliance Hub plays a major role in its success. There is direct access to three major highways, Interstate 35W, State Highway 170, and State Highway 114.

“Based on natural growth, every single day 1,200 people-plus move into Texas every single day,” he said. “You have to put money in an infrastructure. If you look at any society with a downturn, look at it’s infrastructure.”

The Alliance Hub is part of the larger Dallas-Fort Worth Customs District, which includes Oklahoma and a large part of Texas. Trade in this district, like Alliance, has seen steady growth with around $60 billion in imports/exports in recent years.

In all, Texas’ 29 ports facilitated more than $631 billion in trade in 2015. Trade through Texas supports around 1.6 million jobs in the state and adds approximately $224.3 billion to the gross state product.

With the help of income through these ports, Hegar said Texas’ economy of $1.6 trillion is the 10th largest in the world.