POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Gwinnett leaders meet with transportation secretary

Gwinnett civic and business leaders met Tuesday with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, talking to him about the link between transportation and the creation of jobs.

"Infrastructure investments have the ability to transform communities by creating jobs, boosting economic development, and connecting people with sustainable transportation solutions," LaHood said in a press release from the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, which hosted the event at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. "The Obama Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation are committed to working with our partners in the private sector to ensure our infrastructure networks evolve to meet the needs of America's future generations."

The meeting, which included leaders from small and medium businesses like E.R. Snell Contractors to global corporate leaders such as the Home Depot, Delta Airlines and the Atlanta Regional Commission, was one of a handful of White House Business Council sessions across the country.

"As a corporate leader heavily invested in supply chain management, Home Depot views opportunities like this to voice our needs, challenges and viewpoints openly to U.S. government leaders as vital to our overall ability to successfully execute our most basic business goals: to perform and deliver excellence to our customers while supporting a viable and strong bottom line in which to operate year over year," said Mark Holified, a senior vice president with Home Depot.

Leaders discussed the link between transportation and business growth and how infrastructure can be built to help shape the future.

"When it comes to doing business and creating jobs, it's all about the location," said Jann Moore, the chamber's director of public policy and education. "And the right location hinges on accessibility and multi-modal solutions. That's the purpose of this meeting today to get relevant input from key stakeholders on how transportation directly impacts our businesses' ability to create jobs and grow the economy."

U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, who represents much of Gwinnett, thanked LaHood for speaking with local leaders.

"It is important that leaders in Washington continue to work to bring government closer to the people that it serves," Woodall said. "The best ideas are built from the ground up, and these kinds of conversations are what turn these ideas into real solutions that will benefit Americans."

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.