Conclusion

The GoCoast 2020 Commission’s GoTeams all identified several common threads that should be followed as the Mississippi Gulf Coast prepares for the implementation of the RESTORE Act.

First and foremost, each GoTeam focused on the need for any project considered in the future under RESTORE to have as positive an impact as possible on the entire Coastal region, not just one single area.

Among the other shared goals of each GoTeam included the need for the long-term sustainability of any projects that are ultimately undertaken as a result of RESTORE. That includes financial stability so that there is a strong foundation in place for the Coast’s continued growth in the future.

Several GoTeams produced sample criteria and scoring systems as to how proposed projects in the future would be judged so that there would be real, measurable goals and results that accompany the consideration of how RESTORE dollars are allocated. This type of approach provides a framework for a responsible and accountable way to utilize available funds.

It was also a priority of each GoTeam that just as the GoCoast 2020 Commission process was inclusive, the path for implementing the RESTORE Act should also be inclusive to ensure that all ethnic groups and communities are key parts of the equation. This includes making sure that public-private partnership and nonprofit organizations play a role in providing valuable input.

There was also a strong recognition by all GoTeams that there is an overarching need to ensure the Mississippi Gulf Coast has a well-prepared, well-trained workforce now and for the future. A skilled workforce is crucial to the success of all segments of the economy and brings about more opportunities for future job creation and  industry recruitment to the Gulf Coast region.

Finally, it was the recommendation of each GoTeam that in any efforts undertaken as part of RESTORE, that Mississippi must build on past research, work, and existing organizations and programs that can benefit the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Utilizing existing resources combined with work that has been done by GoCoast 2020, Mississippi can now be poised to maximize the RESTORE Act in a way that is environmentally and fiscally responsible for the future.