SWIFTWATER — Gov. Tom Corbett said Monday’s announcement to extend the Route 6/11 Corridor Natural Gas Line is about creating and attracting jobs but, more important, he said it’s about retaining jobs already in Pennsylvania.
Corbett visited the campus of Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi in Monroe County, to announce the $5 million extension project, made possible in part through the recent release of a $5 million Economic Growth Initiative grant.
While Corbett said the project is expected to boost job creation and retention in the Northeast Pennsylvania region, he said by lowering utility costs to large employers such as the vaccine maker the 2,000 jobs at the Swiftwater facility — plus 500 contractor positions — are likely to stay.
“By increasing the availability of low-cost, domestic natural gas we help communities thrive, business to be competitive and improve quality of life for all residents,” Corbett said. “This project helps to retain the more than 2,500 jobs currently at Sanofi Pasteur, while leading to additional job creation in the area through pipeline construction and business growth.”
Corbett said that once completed, the line will provide natural gas service to Sanofi Pasteur and other area employers. Sanofi Pasteur is now connected to the line and using natural gas.
The total cost of the project is estimated to be about $12.7 million, with the balance coming from private and local sources. Corbett said benefits to businesses include reduced energy costs, which increases competitiveness.
“Investing in critical infrastructure will ensure they remain a fixture in this region, employing Pennsylvanians for many years to come,” Corbett said. “The lack of natural gas service in industrial areas has become a critical deterrent to industries and employers seeking to locate and expand operations within Monroe County.’’
Corbett said that when he went on trade missions to France, Germany and South America, the biggest selling points for Pennsylvania were location and energy.
“We have been saying now for a long time — energy equals jobs,” he said. “Pennsylvania alone is the 20th largest economy in the world.”
On another issue, Corbett said the state must take care of its transportation system, saying “some Democrats” need to vote with the Republican majority.
“These roads, after all, aren’t there for members of one political party,” he said.
He also reiterated his push to privatize the state’s liquor system and to reform the state pension system. He said he is looking forward to the fall legislative session.
“I intend to get together with legislative leaders and remind them that we’re not in Harrisburg to almost get things done,” he said. “The people sent us there to finish the task.”
State Rep. Mario Scavello, R-Mount Pocono, said donations from Sanofi Pasteur and its employees are responsible for one-third of the Monroe County United Way.
“Sanofi Pasteur has been a good neighbor and our largest employer,” he said.