Partners For Progress: Cooperation Drives Success in Tough Economy for Transportation Projects

St. Louis, Missouri, UNITED STATES

ST. LOUIS, Dec. 23, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- St. Charles County -- collar county to St. Louis and among the top two percent of the fastest-growing areas in the United States -- has been a model for innovative and efficient local funding methods to finance transportation projects.

A half-cent county transportation sales tax passed in 1986 and renewed in 1996 has helped spur major road and bridge development and improvements in the county that has grown more than 460 percent since 1958 and has attracted major corporations, including General Motors, Boeing, MasterCard, WorldCom, Cardinal Health, Wainwright Industries, Nike IHM, MEMC, AG Edwards, Reckitt-Benckiser, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and CitiMortgage.

In the last decade, St. Charles County has experienced the creation of 43,676 jobs -- an average of 12 each day -- more than double any other Missouri county. The St. Louis collar county also ranks second in the Midwest in high-tech jobs with 22,319. Many of St. Charles County's high-tech and life sciences companies are located along I-64/U.S. 40, known as Missouri's "high-tech corridor."

Local municipalities also contribute matching funds for projects and have advanced funding -- called forward funding -- to government transportation agencies for project work and studies. The government agencies then repay the money as the projects are completed.

A proven record of completing projects as promised has earned praise from St. Charles County residents and government officials and has created respect throughout the St. Louis region, according to Greg Prestemon of Partners For Progress, a business organization dedicated to enhancing the future of St. Charles County.

"When prospective businesses and residents look at St. Charles County, they see a community committed to developing and maintaining superior roads, highways and bridges," said Prestemon. "Voters approved and then renewed the sales tax, our five largest municipalities support transportation projects with matching funds and the county has made critical use of state and federal funds."

Regional transportation projects that St. Charles County has helped fund include improvements to a major east-west interstate, upgrading a U.S. highway to interstate standards and development of a third bridge across the Missouri River that connects St. Charles County and St. Louis County.

"The highways and bridges that run through St. Charles affect the entire St. Louis region," Prestemon said. "There is a trust that's been forged among St. Charles County residents, and local, state and government agencies, that help initiate these projects and result in their successful completion. St. Charles County is adept at visualizing, then acting on creating funding for progressive regional transportation."


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