There’s a story in the Youngstown Vindicator today about US Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, Ohio (D-17th) and US Rep. Jason Altmire of McCandless, PA (D-4th) discussing the re-branding of the area as the “tech belt.”

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, said the area stretching from Cleveland to Pittsburgh needs to find a way to bring all of its talent and research together to lift up the region’s economy.

It’s a potential economic development area being referred to as the “Tech Belt” by Ryan and others who see technology development as a key to the region’s economic resurgence.

Ryan and U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire of McCandless, Pa., D-4th, participated in a seminar at the Youngstown Club on Friday on a regional approach to community and economic development, focusing on Pittsburgh and Cleveland as the two ends of that development scheme.

[…]

“Those political boundaries [the Ohio-Pennsylvania border] really don’t matter a whole lot,” he said, urging some 150 leaders from universities, community development organizations, nonprofits and community development organizations from both sides of that border to work in collaboration on a goal of revitalizing the entire region.

This is very encouraging that two congressmen are channeling this message, looking to strategically time this “economic resurgence” with the rest of the country’s economic collapse.  Unfortunately, anymore, the Mahoning Valley (the area between Cleveland and Pittsburgh) is much more talk than it is action.  Yes — I’ve written about Youngstown 2010 on this blog before.  And yes, I’m sure there are other examples of other programs working.  But Ryan is right here — everyone needs to work together to make sure this vision happens.  And it’s not just the community elites; it’s a wide array of stakeholders.

One thing that certainly needs to be discussed as a part of this vision is high speed rail linking all of the tech belt cities together.  With the low cost of housing that Ryan cites in the article added to this easy, environmentally friendly method of transportation, we could begin to attract businesses.

But we need actions behind these words.  It’s a different country now, and change is on the horizon.  So let’s see what happens.

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