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  February 11th, 2015 | Written by


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No. 21 Brownsville, Texas

Brownsville-Matamoros, TX $6.0 billion | + 2.1 billion | + 52.3 percent

Brownsville-Matamoros is a U.S.- Mexico region with strong economic ties. Mexico ($3.8 billion) and Canada ($333 million) accounted for 68.6 percent of 2012 exports. Top U.S.-toMexico sectors were petroleum ($920 million), soy beans ($333 million) and TV components ($288 million). Gil Salinas, EVP of Brownsville’s Economic Development Council, says: “Our deep-water port on the U.S. and Mexico border managed over $750 million in commodities exports and 7.1 million tons of cargo last year. Brownsville’s connections to Mexico by proximity and partnership make it a key U.S. destination operating on a global scale.” —Marlene Piturro

No. 22 Bridgeport, Connecticut

Bridgeport-Norwalk-Fairfield, CT $11.3 billion | + $2 billion | +21.51 percent

This boaters’ paradise of 300,000 has some mean streets but its exports jumped $1.9 billion (21.5 percent) from 2010 to 2011. Bridgeport’s MSA contributed 48.2 percent of Connecticut’s exports in ’11. Aerospace/ defense, engineering and advanced manufacturing anchor its economy, while G.E. and Xerox call the area home. Its port processed exports to China ($1.6 billion) and the Netherlands ($759 million); excellent rail and interstate infrastructure helped move $1.1 billion of exports each to Mexico and Canada. “If you’re looking to start a business or jump start its growth, take a look at Bridgeport,” says Mayor Bill Finch. —MP

No. 23 Davenport, Iowa

Davenport-BettendorfMoline-Rock Island, IA-IL $6.7 billion | + $1.9 billion | + 39.58 percent

Davenport, “America’s front porch on America’s greatest river,” anchors a quad city, bi-state MSA of 350,000 people. Home to Deere and 3M, its top exports are machinery ($5 billion), transportation equipment ($464 million) and fabricated metal products ($316 million). Top destinations are Canada, Brazil and Germany. A bi-state port feeds traffic to the Great Lakes and Gulf of Mexico while I-80 connects it to the coasts. Mayor Bill Gluba touts the Quad Cities for its pro-business climate, well designed and maintained infrastructure, low energy costs and quality workforce. —MP

No. 24 Beaumont, Texas

Beaumont-Port Arthur-Orange, TX $5.5 billion | + $1.7 billion | + 44.74 percent

America’s energy gateway, this metropolitan statistical area of 388,745 has pumped black gold since 1901. Chevron and ExxonMobil kept its Sabine-Neches Waterway’s port, I-10 and railroads busy moving petroleum/coal products worth $2.7 billion in 2011. Chenier and Golden Pass will soon start exporting LNG. Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce President Jim Rich calls the port, the fourth-largest by tonnage, a “huge business-friendly facility with seasoned petroleum engineers directing 700,000 barrels of crude oil daily.” Port improvements under way will smooth the 66-mile trip to the Gulf Coast. —MP

No. 25 Decatur, Illinois

Decatur-Springfield-PeoriaBloomfield-Normal, IL $9.3 billion | Unknown |Unknown, but moved up 16 places

Decatur, a city of 113,000, is a central-Illinois trade hub. Caterpillar exports mining machines and ADM ships agricultural products globally. Mitsubishi, Union Iron, PPG and Rural King added to Decatur’s 11.7 percent of Illinois’ 2011 exports. Craig Coil, president and CEO of Decatur’s Economic Development Council, attributes the region’s success to its new “Midwest inland port, a vast rail yard with intermodal capabilities, shipping anywhere economically and fast.” Equidistant from Chicago, Indianapolis and St. Louis, Decatur is poised to warehouse and export goods, bypassing its larger Midwest neighbors. —MP

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