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  • Writer's pictureAIM Team

Time to fix and expand I-70 is now!

by Ray McCarty

March 24, 2023 - During his state of the state address, Governor Mike Parson announced a bold priority to fix Interstate 70. He explained, "For years, congestion, traffic accidents, and delays have become serious issues for commuters on I-70. Not only are we concerned for motorist safety, these inefficiencies are costly to our state’s economy. To those who say we can't afford it, I say we can't afford not to. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and the time is now."

Governor Parson is correct. For years, Interstate 70 has been the problem too big to tackle. It is a corridor of critical statewide significance. If it’s ever going to be addressed, it’s going to require statesmanship from our elected leaders. While Interstate 70 doesn’t physically touch every region of the state, it impacts the economic growth and quality of life of every region. As the nation grapples with supply-chain issues that result in shortages and drive up prices, Interstate 70 is emblematic of the long-term problems. Now is the time to expand and improve this important commerce artery for our state.

Unfortunately, efforts are underway in Jefferson City to take the governor’s I-70 request and divide it up among other projects around the state. If successful, the opportunity to fix Interstate 70 will once again escape us. If legislators can’t agree to tackle the critical problem that is Interstate 70 during times of record financial surplus, when will they?

It requires true statesmanship and leadership to look beyond the borders of your political post. Our hope is that lawmakers demonstrate that type of statesmanship and come together to support Interstate 70. As Governor Parson stated, “The time is now.” If the current group of lawmakers aren’t supportive, the opportunity may be permanently lost.

NOTE: Although I-70 is further along in the process and ready for improvement now, we are also supporting additional funding to prepare I-44 for improvement in the future.

Ray McCarty is president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri, Missouri’s oldest statewide general business advocacy organization, and Executive Director of the Missouri Transportation and Development Council, a group supporting transportation funding since the first transportation bond issue in 1920.

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