Urban expert Joel Kotkin has always been bullish on Houston, and now he's not even more bullish, he's spreading the love.
Kotkin has a piece on the Forbes magazine blog saying the U.S. Gulf Coast -- including, of course, Houston -- is ready to soar, and leave L.A. and San Francisco in the dust.
Some excerpts (think of it as Houston porn):
For most of the nation's history, the Atlantic region -- primarily New York City -- has dominated the nation's trade. In the last few decades of the 20th Century, the Pacific, led by Los Angeles and Long Beach, gained prominence. Now we may be about to see the ascendancy of a third coast: the Gulf, led primarily by Houston but including New Orleans and a host of smaller ports across the regions.
A big reason is the widening of the Panama Canal, which means huge container ships will be more likely to use Gulf Coast ports than making the long trip to California or the East Coast, Kotkin says.
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The area also is getting a big jolt from ascendant Latin America, the Gulf's historic leading trade partner. Bill Gilmer, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, notes that Latin America is home to many of the world's fastest-growing economies, with overall growth rates last year exceeding 6.1%. Since 2002 about 56 million people in the region have risen out of poverty, according to the World Bank.
Trade with Latin American partners -- including Mexico -- is ramping up growth in Houston as well as other Gulf ports.
And we here in Houston know how to do bidness, unlike those namby-pamby environment-loving Yankees:
East Coast ports, subject to some of the same pressures, may be slow to make the "intense capital improvements" required to capture expanding trade. In contrast, the Gulf's leaders in both parties support broad based economic growth. New Orleans' Democratic Mayor Mitch Landrieu is no less friendly to industrial and port expansion than Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal. Houston Democratic mayors like Annise Parker, Bill White and Bob Lanier have been as strongly in favor of critical business and infrastructure investment as their Republican counterparts.
Go revel in the whole thing here.