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Top News Links: Wednesday, Jan. 18

Man who engineered Talladega Superspeedway dies

William W. Moss, 81, whose engineering and construction firm Moss-Thornton Co.  assisted Bill France Sr. in the creation of Talladega Superspeedway in 1969, died Saturday. France had a vision to create the largest, steepest and fastest superspeedway in the world. He enlisted the help of Moss to create a smooth, 2.66-mile, 33-degree banked track that would see 200-plus mph speeds. Alabama International Motor Speedway was created in just over a year. – WVTM

Hyundai reveals more on new Alabama investments

Hyundai announced Tuesday that it will increase its investment in its Alabama and Georgia plants by 50 percent over the next five years and will consider building a new U.S. plant while Donald Trump is president. The planned $3.1 billion investment will come mainly in the form of research, development and plant maintenance, Hyundai Motor Group President Chung Jin Haeng told the Associated Press. – Montgomery Advertiser

Velocity Accelerator’s first 10 startups commence launch

Ten companies have packed up from around the world hit the ground running at Birmingham's Innovation Depot, armed with $50,000 each and vying to be the next big tech startup. The companies come from Birmingham, Slovakia and Washington D.C., among other places, representing industries ranging from beauty to financial services, each pitching a tech company to fill a gap. – AL.com

State’s business leaders optimistic on Trump

It may tough for economists to predict how a Donald Trump White House will affect Alabama, but the state's business executives seem to have no such problem. A survey taken after the election showed that optimism among Alabama business leaders surged to its highest level since 2005. It was also the largest jump in the quarterly survey's 15-year history. – Montgomery Advertiser

Canceling NAFTA would cost jobs, study suggests

Donald Trump’s vows to renegotiate NAFTA and pursue more protectionist trade policies likely would have a negative effect on the U.S. auto industry, a new study found. The North American Free Trade Agreement has been a net positive for the industry and for the U.S. economy as a whole, supporting high-wage jobs and making North America a more attractive place to do business, the Michigan nonprofit Center for Automotive Research says. – Automotive News

IBM wins $62M cloud data contract at Redstone

IBM officially announced Wednesday that it's signed a deal to build, manage and operate a private cloud data center for the U.S. Army, within the Army's Redstone Arsenal, in a potential five-year, $62 million contract. The deal marks the first time the Army has turned to a private company to run a large-scale data center on its behalf within a military installation. – ZDNet

Mobile’s ‘articulated strategy’ driving air traffic gains

One airline’s deal for expanded service stands to nearly double the gains in traffic Mobile Regional Airport has seen since 2010, and leaders contend the surge is by design. “Air service and economic development have a lot in common. You have to have a plan for each. If you don’t have an articulated strategy for each, then you’re relying solely on luck, and that’s not how we do things,” said Roger Wehner, executive director of the Mobile Airport Authority. – Alabama News Center

Walmart says it will open 59 new stores nationwide this year

Walmart plans to create 10,000 new jobs and open 59 new stores in the coming year, officials announced Tuesday. The nation's largest private employer is planning some $6.8 billion in capital investments in 2017, including construction of new and remodeled stores and expansion of its Online Grocery Pickup service. – AL.com

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