Governor Steve Beshear today visited the Corvette Plant in Bowling Green, Ky. to ceremonially sign House Bill 104, which designates the Corvette as the official state sports car of Kentucky.
"Sports car enthusiasts have been in love with the Corvette since it was first unveiled in the Motorama show in New York in 1953," said Gov. Beshear. "For nearly 30 years, Kentucky has been the exclusive home of this iconic sports car. Today, we proudly honor this fine example of American ingenuity by designating the Corvette as Kentucky's official state sports car."
In 1981, General Motors moved production of the Chevrolet Corvette from St. Louis, Mo. to Bowling Green, Ky., where currently 471 employees build the distinctive high-performance vehicles. Approximately 50,000 people visit each year to watch the manufacturing process at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant, which has a tourism economic impact of more than $205 million. This figure does not include the nearly 150,000 who visit the National Corvette Museum, located directly across the street from the Plant, which attracts Corvette enthusiasts from all over the world.
"This is an exciting day for Bowling Green and the entire state of Kentucky as we celebrate the Corvette as the state's official sports car," said Rep. Jody Richards, of Bowling Green. "This passage of this legislation during the legislative session and the ceremonial bill signing that is being held today highlights the importance of the Corvette Assembly Plant to the Commonwealth and especially to the south central region of our state."
"I am pleased that we were able to move legislation through the lawmaking process during the 2010 session to highlight the importance of the Corvette Plant to Kentucky's economy," said Sen. Mike Reynolds, of Bowling Green. "Bowling Green continues to become more of a tourist destination. Therefore, drawing attention to our community and the Corvette's unique role in our American heritage can only boost economic development in our area. The Corvette has become a tangible symbol of our Commonwealth and I am grateful that Governor Beshear has taken the time to come to Bowling Green to make that symbolism official."
Kentucky ranks third in total light vehicle production, placing it at the hub of "auto alley," the strip of middle America that stretches from Michigan into the deep south. In fact, 9.8 percent of all cars and trucks produced in the United States are manufactured in Kentucky. As of early June 2010, more than 64,600 people work in Kentucky's 418 auto-related industries.
Governor Steve Beshear signs House Bill 104 with witnesses GM Bowling Green Assembly Plant Manager Bob Parcell, Warren County Judge Executive Mike Buchanon, Bowling Green Mayor Elaine Walker, Representative Martha Jane King, Representative Jody Richards, UAW Local 2164 Chairman Shane Colvard, Senator Mike Reynolds and Representative C. B. Embry.