Gov. Sam Brownback wants a toll road to help pay for infrastructure development in the intermodal area.
Brownback, keynote speaker at the Southwest Johnson County Economic Development Corporation’s quarterly membership luncheon, said he would like to eventually see a toll way extend from Interstate 70 through southern Johnson County and into northern Miami County.
He said despite the soft national economy, Kansans need to “get back to the basics of hard work and dedication” and “invest in the long term.”
Brownback said the intermodal will help move imports and exports more efficiently and tie into Kansas’ railroad heritage while creating 8,000 new jobs.
“We’re going to see it through, and we’re going to grow it,” he said. “It makes good sense.”
Brownback also called for Kansas to take a more aggressive economic policy position.
“So much of the country has lost its confidence,” he said, which has contributed to the current economic recession.
Brownback said America has to maintain its leadership in the world economy, and asked, “What does the world look like if the Chinese are leading?”
The governor also called for lower taxes to stimulate the economy.
“We’ve got to lower our marginal tax rate,” he told the gathering. “People will act differetnly if their marginal taxes are lowered. They wont act differetnly if ther taxes are a little less this year and back up next year.”
Deb Miller, secretary of transportation, was also in attendance.
She recalled the day in 2005 when railroad officials first informed her about the intermodal project and said they wanted the state to build an interchange to serve it.
Miller said she became “a true believer” in the project and the state subsequently agreed to invest $35 million to move it forward.
“We’re excited to see the progress and we will be thrilled to come back for the ribbon-cutting ceremony,” she said.
Carl Ice, president of BNSF, said construction on the intermodal logistics park project is on schedule and is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2013.
Don Roberts, mayor of Edgerton, said the development would create 8,000 jobs in southwest Johnson County.
However, with a population of 1,600, Roberts said Edgerton “is going to rely on the rest of Johnson County to fill those jobs.”