A quiet movement during the past few months has the potential to change our local landscape and shift the East-West dynamic that for too long has worked against Illinois’ prosperity.
It’s freight. Freight is the future.
But seriously, folks: We’re serious.
This region since prehistoric times has been a crossroads of trade. In modern times we’ve been losing out to Indianapolis and Chicago and Kansas City.
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We’ve got a massive water route in our front yard with a straight shot to the Gulf of Mexico. We’ve got six major railroad lines running through the area. We have the major east-west interstate plus a major north-south and links to the southeast and southwest. There is a major airport with greater potential for air freight and four regional airports with capacity.
The folks with the East-West Gateway Council of Governments say it is because no one is solely responsible for planning, pushing or propagating. In September they asked the group we all associate with mass transit to take on the job.
The Bi-State Development Agency was formed to bring together both sides of the river on economic development projects. Running the bus system came later. This reborn mission is important to southwestern Illinois because we aren’t as densely populated as Missouri. We’ve got land, but also we have an equal share of the facilities. We’ve also got the former engineer from the Illinois Department of Transportation, Mary Lamie, leading this new freight district.
Warehousing, port facilities, intermodal shipments through the Panama Canal and from Mexico, air freight between here and China.
We’ve seen the future. One word: Freight.