Economic Development News
Investment in transportation pays dividends
Published: Saturday, July 19, 2014 2:30 pm
By: Mark Mehmert
A few months ago, we profiled a survey from Area Development magazine which indicated that transportation accessibility is foremost in the minds of those who are considering an expansion or relocation.
"It's well-known in economic development circles that excellent transportation networks are critical to an area's economic well-being", mused Economic Development Director Missy Bonnot. "People need to get to work, and companies need to ship products. Without good transportation networks, these basic economic activities are stifled."
The Chamber works closely with MoDOT, Cole County and Jefferson City to enhance our transportation networks so our area is more attractive to businesses considering expansion or relocation. Recent examples include the new 4-lane alignment east of Jefferson City to Linn, two new overpasses at Jackson St. and Chestnut St., the new Lafayette Street Interchange, and Mission Drive, which was a critical part of the new St. Mary's $200 million investment.
It's noteworthy that these are not just maintenance projects; they are enhancements and expansions of the current transportation system. Why is it noteworthy? Well, one reason is that while maintenance of our transportation system is very important, expansions of the system tend to drive growth and have a larger impact.
As voters consider Amendment 7 in August, it's worth remembering that MoDOT projects contribute to the economy in the areas of job creation, personal income growth and new value added to the economy. Based on the 2013-2017 State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP), an analysis estimates that on average, each year the plan creates
- 6,780 additional jobs paying an average wage of $33,084 per job
- $307.93 million in new personal income
- $523.15 million in new value added to the economy
This means that for each dollar of investment in transportation via the STIP yields $3.64 of additional economic activity across the state. The 2013-2017 STIP will add an estimated $15.6 billion to Missouri's economic output.
Part of the Amendment 7 draft plan is to rebuild and widen I-70 from Wentzville to Independence. I-70 was built with a 20-year design life. With most of the roadway built in the 1950s and 1960s, the current road is well beyond its design-life, is expensive to maintain and is a constant struggle to maintain.
Missouri's interstates are the veins which carry the lifeblood of the state's economy and are in desperate need of re-investment. When the Interstate System was being built, our parents and grandparents saw the wisdom in investing in transportation. Will we?