Economic Development News

Transportation critical to economic development
Published: Wednesday, May 21, 2014
By: Mark Mehmert

It is often said that economic development and transportation go hand in hand.  As the Missouri Legislature considers sending the question of additional transportation funding to voters, it is worth revisiting the topic.

Each year, Area Development magazine asks corporate decision-makers and consultants about their facility plans and just what is important to them.  Each year, highway accessibility is ranked very highly.  In the most recent survey, 97.4% of respondents ranked highway accessibility as "important" or "very important". 

"Virtually every company I meet with which is considering a relocation or expansion tells me transportation infrastructure is central to their location decision", says Missy Bonnot, Economic Development Director for the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce.  "It always rises up to either number one or number two on the list."

According to a study by the Missouri Department of Economic Development's research arm, transportation networks foster economic growth.  The Missouri Economic Research Information Center (MERIC) offered that "There is a definite, meaningful connection between economic growth and transportation networks."  

Shaun Sappenfield, Existing Business Manager for the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce, concurs.  "I know that many of the nearly 700 jobs created since 2007 by local companies expanding their operations here were dependent on our central location and all transportation options--including both highway and rail."

With MoDOT's current funding at half of what is was just a few years ago and projected to go so low that federal dollars cannot be matched, consider reminding your legislators, friends and neighbors about the critical role transportation plays in the growth of our economy. Our economic future depends on it.

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