On the other side is the final dispatch from Chris Heinbaugh, Mayor Tom Leppert's chief of staff, who's among the traveling party wrapping up that trade mission to Spain and France
. The quote in the headline comes from the release that follows, in which Leppert says the Euros are ready and willing to do bidness in Dallas -- though how that will ultimately manifest itself will be seen down the road. Or, perhaps, down the streetcar line: Among Leppert and council member Ron Natinsky's pit stops late this week was Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens
, which, per the release, is ...
...the transit system for the Paris metro area. RATP also develops and operates high speed rail, traditional rail, light rail and tram/streetcar systems for other cities around the world, including several in Texas. They expressed strong interest in participating in major transportation projects in North Texas.
Alas, the gang's European vacation comes to an end tomorrow.
DALLAS DELEGATION WRAPPING UP TRADE MISSION
Mayor Upbeat On Prospects For Investment, Economic Development
Mayor Tom Leppert is encouraged by the positive response mission from investors, bankers and business leaders to the Dallas trade.
"We are getting a new message out about Dallas and clearly the message is a positive one," said Mayor Leppert. "Dallas is at the heart of what is happening in the U.S. economy today."
Mayor Leppert has been leading a week-long trade mission to Madrid, Valencia and Paris to promote economic development and investment in Dallas. He said in meeting after meeting, outdated perceptions continue to haunt Dallas. He says it presents challenges when trying to attract businesses, especially foreign firms. But they're changing minds.
"Time after time we see that once we present the realities of today's Dallas with all its economic and cultural positives, those perceptions shift significantly," said Mayor Leppert. "All of a sudden, we've moved the game in our direction. The challenge is - we can't let up."
Those efforts continued Friday in Paris. The delegation met with Medec, a business organization of major French firms. The group's president, Francois Perigot praised Dallas for coming to Paris and reaching out to Parisian businesses.
"There are not enough discussions with businesses in the United States," said Perigot.
Later in the morning, Mayor Leppert, City Councilmember Ron Natinsky, who is chair of the Regional Transportation Council and other delegation members visited major transportation and infrastructure organizations as well.
The delegation visited Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens , which is the transit system for the Paris metro area. RATP also develops and operates high speed rail, traditional rail, light rail and tram/streetcar systems for other cities around the world, including several in Texas. They expressed strong interest in participating in major transportation projects in North Texas.
The delegation also visited the nerve center of Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français, the French national railroad. SNCF operates traditional and high speed rail, and Gare Est, the east Paris train station that a few years ago was transformed into a bustling rail, Metro and retail development.
Also, to the delegations surprise, they also discovered a giant plant wall Outside the SNCF offices designed to help clean the air as well as provide a vibrant green space where few expected it. The plant wall, drip-watered from above, included ferns, baby tears, moss and other plants covered approximately 15,000 sq ft of wall space. It is the second largest of its kind in Paris.
On Thursday, the Mayor also paid a follow up visit to President Francisco Camps of the Generalitat de Valencia, the head of the important Valencia region of Spain. President Camps first met the Mayor during his visit to Dallas in November of 2008 when he came to inaugurate the regional Valencia Trade Office in Dallas.
The delegation has more business meetings on Saturday and will meet with city officials at Hotel de Ville, Paris' City Hall. The group returns to Dallas Sunday.
Due to budget concerns, City tax dollars are not being used on the trip. Instead the travel expenses of City officials and staff are being paid from a special fund at the World Affairs Council. Mayor Leppert has led the fundraising for this purpose.