Today I would like to talk about a recent partnership with Oklahoma State. On Wednesday, I joined Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt on the Oklahoma State University-Tulsa campus to sign a memorandum of understanding stating that we are working together to make the Arkansas-Oklahoma corridor a center of excellence in advanced mobility. This includes autonomous vehicles, drone deliveries and electric vehicles.
Arkansas and Oklahoma already lead the nation in advanced mobility, so bringing our two innovation sandboxes together will strengthen our competitiveness for the future.
The east and west coasts are getting a lot of attention as technology hubs, but Arkansas and Oklahoma have a rich history of leadership in aviation and transportation.
From pioneering aviator Wiley Post in Oklahoma to our very own Louise Thaden, who set transcontinental speed records, we have set the pace for innovation and new modes of transportation.
This partnership will accelerate work on advanced mobility and further strengthen our region’s reputation as a leader in technological innovation.
Oklahoma has been a vital economic partner of the Natural State for many decades, and this MOU will provide our states with the opportunity to continue the partnership we have enjoyed over the years to make our region a home base. turning point of advanced mobility.
Crossing state lines to join forces with other state governors is not unusual. Linking our different perspectives and resources with our similar goals allows us to produce bigger and better results.
Earlier this year, I was joined again by Governor Stitt and Governor John Bel Edwards of Louisiana in establishing a regional center for the development, production and use of clean hydrogen as a fuel and manufacturing feedstock. .
This is a bipartisan agreement that brings together our three states to compete for funding for the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act of 2021. With the portfolios that each of our states offers combined, we are competitive due to our ability to uniquely manage the production, storage, distribution and consumption of hydrogen.
Another example of cooperation with neighboring states is the I-49 corridor with Missouri. Late last year, we completed the final leg of the I-49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector. By partnering with Missouri and Governor Mike Parson, the I-49 Connector now includes more than 1,600 miles of road, connecting six states: Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota.
Another example is when a crack was discovered and closed the I-40 bridge in Memphis in May 2021. Arkansas joined Tennessee in repairing and reopening the bridge as the closure threatened many lives and a paused the much-needed movement of trade. .
Governor Bill Lee and I understood the importance of the connector bridge and we both knew we had to act quickly. Our two teams developed a plan that emphasized a sense of urgency while keeping safety as the number one priority.
On the cybersecurity front, Governor John Bel Edwards and I share similar views on the importance of preparing our country for the digital age. Our two states have been at the forefront of cybersecurity education, in addition to working toward a comprehensive cybersecurity ecosystem. Proper stewardship of our resources includes protecting the gateways to our systems and protecting information.
States become stronger when they combine their resources and expertise, and it starts with governors who share similar goals to bridge the gap.
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