In a speech Wednesday at MIT to business and government leaders, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick unveiled a plan to pump $3.8 billion into the state's economy as a safeguard against worsening economic conditions.
Making his first official visit to MIT since being sworn in as the state's 71st governor, Patrick was introduced by President Susan Hockfield, who noted the significance of the governor's decision to pick MIT and the MIT Sloan School of Management as the site of his major address on the economy.
"Even before taking office, Gov. Patrick understood that two of the great intellectual strengthsÂ of this region could also be great economic strengths: the life sciences and clean energy," Hockfield said. "From cancer research, to biological engineering, to the leading edge of energy technology, MIT is developing ideas that can help improve the human condition and accelerate the state's economic growth."
Joining Hockfield and Patrick at the Wong Auditorium event was David Schmittlein, John C. Head III Dean for the MIT Sloan School of Management. He later highlighted his school's contributions to the state economy.
"When people across the world hear 'MIT' they naturally think about innovation, about technology and science. And they're right," Schmittlein said. "But they don't always recognize how directly this affects economic development in the Commonwealth. The Institute's entrepreneurial environment produces students and ideas that create new enterprises, and these in turn create great jobs and opportunity. Combining the MIT Sloan School of Management with MIT's powerful technology base delivers a uniquely important engine for the Massachusetts economy."
Patrick's speech presented what he called a comprehensive proposal to address the short- and long-term needs of the Massachusetts economy, which he said was better positioned to ride out a recession than in previous downturns thanks in large part to its knowledge-based economy. Among other things, he touted the state's ongoing investments in life sciences and clean energy.
To deal with job losses in the construction sector, the centerpiece of Patrick's plan is a $3.8 billion bond proposal to repair deteriorating bridges throughout the state, a measure that would bring tens of thousands of new construction jobs to Massachusetts.
Patrick also spoke of his administration's efforts to curb state spending, grow the number of jobs and retain the state's competitive edge.
"State government has its limitations, but it has its responsibilities as well. As we face uncertain times in our national economy, we must continue to take actions that will keep the Commonwealth's economy moving forward," Patrick said.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 16, 2008 (download PDF).