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Governor Mike Parson addresses the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry's transportation future summit on September 22, 2023 in Columbia (file photo courtesy of the governor's Flickr page)

(LISTEN): Missouri’s governor highlights economic growth, rail merger and railroad crossings in Columbia speech

Governor Mike Parson addresses the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s transportation future summit on September 22, 2023 in Columbia (photo courtesy of the governor’s Flickr page)

Missouri’s governor says the Show-Me State is currently in the running for five projects that are worth at least $2-billion each.

Governor Mike Parson (R) made his comments Friday in Columbia to transportation professionals and state lawmakers at the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s transportation future summit. The governor tells 939 the Eagle this highlights his administration’s focus on infrastructure and workforce development.

“We’re in the process of trying to land those companies. A matter fact, we’ll have some meetings in the very near future with some of them. And that’s about all I’m about at liberty to say at this time. But I think again, to even be in the ballpark we’ve never had this opportunity … you got to have everything, you got to have the foundation built for your infrastructure in place before they’re ever going to come here and take a look,” Parson says.

Columbia Mayor Barbara Buffaloe takes a selfie with Missouri Governor Mike Parson at the I-70 bill-signing ceremony in MACC’s Columbia parking on August 15, 2023 (file photo courtesy of the governor’s Flickr page)

Governor Parson is also touting Missouri’s $2.8 billion plan to rebuild and expand I-70 to six lanes across Missouri. The I-70 project will begin in Columbia.

The governor is also praising the April merger between Canadian Pacific Railway and Kansas City Southern, which establishes the first and only single-line transnational railroad linking Canada, the United States and Mexico. The company’s headquarters are in Kansas City, and Governor Parson tells 939 the Eagle that it’s a huge merger for Missouri.

“And you think when we’re talking about distribution anymore which is one of the number one issues across the country as far the economics goes, when you can have direct rail from Canada to Mexico, that’s never happened before,” says Parson.

The governor is also touting the state’s historic $60-million in investment in railroad crossing safety improvements. The investments follow last June’s horrific deadly collision between an Amtrak passenger train and a dump truck near northern Missouri’s Mendon. The crash killed three train passengers and dump truck driver Billy Barton II.

“You know it’s a shame (that) we have an accident like that that brings this to light. But the reality of it is it’s a good thing to that we’re out there and we’re going to try to take care of business,” Parson says.

Numerous state lawmakers from both parties were in attendance on Friday, including State Reps. Josh Hurlbert (R-Smithville), Adrian Plank (D-Columbia) and Gretchen Bangert (D-Florissant).

The governor also tells the audience that Missouri’s five-year statewide transportation improvement program (STIP) was funded at $2.5 billion when he became governor in 2018, and that this year’s STIP is about $14-billion.

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