State officials are touting Missouri’s proposal to Amazon for a future headquarters here as innovative and practical. Missouri Chief Operating Officer Drew Erdmann is responding to a Mizzou economist telling Missourinet that Amazon is looking for the place with the best tax subsidy package – almost always making taxpayers the losers.
“Of course that was the guiding light for all of the efforts, certainly at the state’s level and I would imagine also at the city’s level of St. Louis and Kansas City, of developing practical proposals that would strengthen communities and would be of net benefit to the communities,” says Erdmann.
St. Louis and Kansas City want the online giant to build its future headquarters in their cities – creating 50,000 jobs and a $5 billion investment. Missouri’s proposal includes an innovation corridor that connects St. Louis, Columbia and Kansas City. State law prohibits the release of specific details about Missouri’s bid.
Erdmann says the state is competitive with any other city in the running.
“We’re distinctive in terms of transportation and logistics. We’re distinctive in terms of ag tech. We’re distinctive in terms of biotech. We’re distinctive in terms of advanced manufacturing. We’re going to continue to compete in the years ahead,” says Erdmann. “We have the people, which is ultimately what they need. We have the talent. We have the educational institutions needed. We have the diversity of lifestyles.”
The company is expected to make a location decision next year.
Erdmann says the state is not depending on a high-speed tube transportation system in its pitch to Amazon. The futuristic mode of transportation, like Hyperloop, would get people from Kansas City to St. Louis in 31 minutes.
“Amazon didn’t say ‘We want to be in one place for one or two years.’ They’re talking decades. So here’s what I’d just remind everyone…ten years ago no one had an iPhone. Ten years ago, there weren’t autonomous vehicles on the road,” says Erdmann. “The autonomous vehicles are on our roads now. Drones are in our skies, on our roads, and on our waterways now. Hyperloop is being tested now.”
Erdmann says state officials and Amazon are looking to the future, not in the rearview mirror.
“Take the five, ten, fifteen, twenty year perspective and that’s exactly the kind of perspective we believe Amazon will take,” says Erdmann.
Missouri is a finalist in Hyperloop’s competition to receive business and engineering help to determine the commercial viability of a route. Several groups are raising about $1.5 million dollars for a feasibility study involving the transportation system. The study could include ridership forecasts and determining how much state money would be required to fund the private operation that officials say would not increase taxes.