Location, location, location – the phrase is well-known in real estate AND in economic development.
Missouri is in a great geographic position with its location in the center of the United States. This should be a huge advantage in economic development. We are rich in many transportation resources including rivers, rail, highways, airports, and river ports. However, our transportation infrastructure is struggling.
Within 500 miles of the state of Missouri is 43% of the U.S. population, 41% of buying power, and 44% of both wholesale trade and manufacturing plants. However, our infrastructure is deteriorating and, in many places, unsafe. We have the seventh largest transportation system but we are in the bottom five states in revenue per mile. We have the second lowest gas and diesel taxes in the nation and they haven’t been raised in decades.
The Missouri legislature will convene again in Jefferson City in January, 2020. Let’s hope the legislature can decide on a fair and equitable way to address our aging infrastructure.
Locally, we do have some positive transportation things to note. The entire Center Junction interchange will be rebuilt over the next two years, we are likely to go over 10,000 boardings at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport, and the SEMO Port received a 19.8 million dollar BUILD Grant to fund construction of a loop track.
Transportation remains a critical issue for our region and our state.