• Infrastructure Task Force Report on the Right Track

    Jan 03, 2018

    MO fuel tax mapAfter over half a year’s work, the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force issued its final report on the state of Missouri’s transportation infrastructure.  The report lays out a thoughtful, three-part roadmap of recommendations to improve Missouri’s transportation system that recognizes the need to invest more in infrastructure to develop and maintain a system that will deliver economic growth.

    As St. Louis Regional Chamber President and CEO Joe Reagan has repeatedly noted, “deferred maintenance is not a capital plan.” The Chamber has for years strongly supported policies that would increase public investment in our transportation infrastructure.  We commend the Task Force in calling for an immediate investment package of $400-500 million annually to improve our roads and bridges, including a 10-cent increase in the gasoline tax and 12-cent increase in the diesel tax.

    A fuel tax is a form of user fee that captures income from both Missouri residents and non-residents who transit our state, increasing the revenue available for infrastructure funding.  The Chamber also supports the Task Force recommendation to index the fuel tax and other user and operator fees to account for inflation so that the purchasing power of these revenue streams do not diminish over time, which has contributed to our current underinvestment.

    We are also encouraged by the Task Force’s forward-thinking recommendation to invest more in modes of transportation that are increasingly needed to compete for workforce and jobs. A dedicated revenue stream of $50-70 million to increase investment in mass transit, rail, airports, and river transportation will allow us to take full advantage of our geographic advantage as the hub of four interstates, six class 1 railroads, five airports, and the third largest inland port in the United States, as well as providing options for the car-free lifestyle favored by increasing numbers of St. Louisans.

    At our Chamber Champions event in November, the Regional Chamber recognized Representative Kevin Corlew for his work establishing the Task Force and for his service as Chairman during the public hearing process. The report he and the dedicated public servants of the Task Force produced creates a clear vision of what we need to do.  We look forward to working with Rep. Corlew, the General Assembly and Governor Greitens to deliver the transportation infrastructure Missouri deserves.

  • Regional Chamber Honors Legislators, Elected Leaders at Annual Chamber Champion Awards Dinner

    Nov 30, 2017

    The St. Louis Regional Chamber held its annual “Championing a Greater St. Louis” Dinner at the Missouri Athletic Club in downtown St. Louis on November 28th. The awards event recognized the service of members in the Illinois and Missouri General Assemblies, and acknowledged legislators who exhibited outstanding dedication and support for the Chamber’s legislative priorities in 2017 and the future. The Chamber also gave its first-ever Regional Leadership Award, which recognized local elected officials for working together to solve significant issues in the St. Louis Region.

    Addressing over 200 business leaders and elected officials, Regional Chamber President and CEO Joe Reagan emphasized the Chamber’s work in bringing people together for the benefit of a unified St. Louis region. He noted that no conversation in the public arena will be more complex than that about local government fragmentation and creating a new story of unity. In addition, Reagan said that everyone has a role to play in advancing forward-thinking economic policy by advocating for public polices in three key areas: safety and security, equity and opportunity, and building and investing in regional infrastructure. 

    The 2017 honorees included Legacy Award winners Illinois Senator Bill Haine and Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard for their tremendous public service and commitment to the Chamber’s priorities throughout their careers. 

    The Regional Chamber also recognized fourteen legislators as Chamber Champions. These legislators championed the organization’s priority issues and achieved meaningful success this year. Awardees included Missouri Reps. Kevin Corlew and Joe Don McGaugh, Sens. Ed Emery, Doug Libla, Gary Romine and Caleb Rowden, and Speaker of the House Todd Richardson for their work to reform Missouri’s tort law to better provide a just, efficient and consistent legal system.

    Other Champion winners included Illinois Reps. Greg Harris and David Harris, Sen. Heather Steans and Senate President John Cullerton for their tireless and bipartisan work to pass a budget, while Missouri Sen. Ryan Silvey, Rep. Corlew and Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr were recognized for their bill authorizing REAL-ID compliant driver’s licenses in Missouri.

    In addition to the Chamber Champions, the Regional Chamber gave Advocate awards to five Missouri legislators who were strong voices for the Chamber’s priority issues in the General Assembly. The awardees included Sen. Caleb Rowden and Rep. Mike Kelley as Advocates for sponsoring a state Earned Income Tax Credit bill, the Chamber’s highest legislative priority in Missouri.

    The Chamber also recognized Rep. Kevin Corlew for creating and chairing the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force, Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer for a tort reform bill that prevents so-called “venue shopping,” and Rep. Kevin Engler for calling for the Missouri Nondiscrimation Act to be expanded to include LGBT individuals. 

    The Regional Chamber bestowed five Catalyst Awards to lawmakers that demonstrate promise for advancing priority issues for the Chamber in the future. Missouri Reps. Jean Evans, Bruce Franks and Peter Merideth received the award as standout freshman legislators, who made time to build relationships with their colleagues throughout the Capitol while looking for ways quickly make an impact while they learn the ins and outs of the legislative process.  

    Rep. Holly Rehder was recognized for her tireless work on creating a stateside prescription drug monitoring database, while freshman Sen. Dave Schatz was responsible for sending six bills to the Governor’s desk, including legislation that makes changes to Missouri's worker’s compensation laws.

    See all the photos from the evening on the Chamber's Flickr page.


    Chamber Champs_Richardson
    Chamber Champs_Krewson 
    Missouri Speaker of the House Todd Richardson addresses the crowd upon receiving his Champion Award.
     (From left to right) AECOM Vice President and Chamber Public Policy Chairman Jennifer Obertino, St. Louis City Mayor Lyda Krewson, and St. Louis Regional Chamber President & CEO Joe Reagan pose for a photo upon Krewson receiving the inaugural Regional Leadership Award.
     Chamber Champs_Cullerton  Chamber Champs_Catalysts
     Illinois Senate President John Cullerton takes the podium upon receiving his Champion Award.  (From left to right) AECOM Vice President and Chamber Public Policy Chairman Jennifer Obertino, Missouri Reps. Jean Evans, Peter Merideth, Bruce Franks, and St. Louis Regional Chamber President & CEO Joe Reagan pose for a photo upon the representatives receiving their Catalysts Awards.
     
     Chamber Champs_Champions  Chamber Champs_Haine
    (From left to right) AECOM Vice President and Chamber Public Policy Chairman Jennifer Obertino, Missouri Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr, Sen. Ryan Silvey, Rep. Corlew, and St. Louis Regional Chamber President & CEO Joe Reagan pose for a photo upon the representatives receiving their Champion Awards. Illinois Sen. Bill Haine addresses the crowd upon receiving his Legacy Award.