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Pratt & Whitney expansion good news for region

It's official: Our area is the recipient of yet another economic expansion.

It became "official" on Tuesday when Pratt & Whitney Engine Services Inc. formally announced its plan to build a new 17,000-square-foot airplane hangar at its facility in Bridgeport. The news came during a ceremony celebrating the growth of Pratt & Whitney, an aftermarket service facility of parent company Pratt & Whitney Canada.

Construction of the hangar is expected to be completed early next year. It will bring about 15 more jobs to the 385 already offered at the facility.

But, as with most such expansions, the benefits don't simply lie with the additional positions that will become available. Local cities and businesses will likely experience a tax revenue increase, and there will likely be growth in business for local "spin-off" establishments such as hotels, restaurants, gas stations and more.

The hangar's construction will be financed by a $1.7 million low-interest loan from the West Virginia Development Office and a $500,000 grant from the Appalachian Region Council.

The expansion is certainly good news for our area. And for our state as a whole, it represents yet another small step toward shrugging off the image of a strictly coal-mining state. West Virginia is slowly on its way to proving itself as a state that can keep up -- if not exceed -- others when it comes to technology and industry.

Today's editorial reflects the opinion of the Exponent editorial board, which is comprised of James G. Logue, Kevin S. Courtney, Patrick M. Martin, Matt Harvey and J. Cecil Jarvis.

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