A proposed Middle Tennessee State University aerospace campus at the Shelbyville Municipal Airport in Bedford County would generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue and hundreds of jobs for that community over the next three years, according to a recently released economic impact study by the university’s Business and Economic Research Center.
With more than $60 million in state funds for the project already approved, MTSU is proposing to relocate its Department of Aerospace to the Shelbyville airport to provide a state-of-the-art training experience for students in its exploding pilot training program, which is outgrowing its allocated footprint at Murfreesboro Airport.
The report, completed March 28, evaluated the financial benefits that the project would bring to Shelbyville and Bedford County.
“In short, the center concluded that relocation will provide significant economic impact through employment, income, business revenue and state and local taxes,” MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee said.
The results of the study show:
• Jobs during construction: The construction phase will be responsible, directly and indirectly, for 164 jobs and more than $91 million in business revenue over three years. Land acquisition, site improvement and construction spending will total $22.5 million over three years.
• Jobs during operation: The relocation of aerospace operations will be responsible, directly and indirectly for 257 jobs and nearly $14 million in business revenue annually.
• Additional tax revenue: MTSU aerospace’s operation in Bedford County will generate nearly $140,000 in property tax and $536,989 in sales tax annually.
“Benefits cited in the report is the tip of iceberg: relocating a training program, which is in the top 10 in the nation, will rebrand the county as one of the major centers for aviation training,” said Dr. Murat Arik, director of the BERC, noting that the BERC has been conducting business and economic research for public and private clients since the early 1970s.
The airport relocation study also showed that in the estimated three years required to prepare the airport site and begin construction, and as MTSU begins to ramp up operations, the activity would generate personal income of $37.8 million — direct, indirect and induced.
“This research, in my opinion, confirms the significant economic value of this project to Shelbyville, Bedford County, our university and the state of Tennessee,” McPhee added.
“It gives us a preview of the transformational impacts of this partnership and gives clarity to the vision of the state, city and county leaders who pursued this opportunity as a game changer for our region.”
The MTSU Business and Economic Research Center is part of the Jennings A. Jones College of Business.
— Jimmy Hart (Jimmy.Hart@mtsu.edu)
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