For starters, let’s give Bill Falkner some credit. The former mayor and current state representative is not afraid to dream big.
He does not limit his vision of the future of Saint-Joseph to filling potholes and building hiking trails. There is a lot more cement needed for what he has in mind: a brand new bridge to link St. Joseph to Elwood, Kansas.
Falkner has been preaching the benefits of a new bridge over the Missouri River for some time. Its latest pitch, discussed at a meeting on Tuesday, would include rail and pedestrian access as well as a freeway for vehicles to get to Rosecrans Memorial Airport and Elwood.
In his view, the bridge would benefit the Air National Guard base and bring economic development to Elwood. Relocating the railway, if part of the plan, could have an impact on waterfront development in Saint-Joseph.
Significantly, the cost of such a project didn’t seem to increase when Falkner laid out his idea and others in the room enthusiastically endorsed it. Not only the cost of building a bridge, but also improving the connecting roads on the Missouri and Kansas sides.
Where is Kit Bond and his assignments when you need them?
There are also great philosophical questions to consider. Should the primary concern of the leaders of the City of St. Joseph be to develop the economy in Elwood, as opposed to the east side of that city or south to the growing Kansas City market? The population of Saint-Joseph is in decline. If you did an exit interview with those who left, chances are that the lack of access to Elwood was not one of the main reasons.
But don’t rule it out. In Jefferson City, Falkner demonstrated political skill in advancing an online sales tax and political courage in voting for the expansion of Medicaid.
For now, he is becoming the local version of Rich “Bullet Train” Pisani, who already made a name for himself when he traveled to all counties in Missouri to promote the concept of service. high-speed train.
Trains always move slowly in this state. For Bill “Bridge to Elwood” Falkner, things might be different.