By TIM ROWDEN
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) visited with delegates of the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council April 1, telling members “I think this country is ready to make things again.
“An economy that grows things and makes things is always stronger than an economy that just trades services with each other,” Sen. Blunt said.
Blunt lauded the Building Trades and union members for the effort to bring production of Boeing’s next-generation commercial aircraft, the 777X, to Missouri, an effort that renewed recognition of this region’s long history of providing skilled craftsmanship for technologically advanced manufacturing jobs and has resulted in a portion of that manufacturing work coming to St. Louis.
“Those jobs could have gone anywhere else,” Blunt said. “But they’re coming to St. Louis because of what Boeing found here – workers and a workforce that wanted to work and was willing to do what needed to be done to make those jobs happen.”
Blunt said the economy is on the cusp of taking off, pending “three or four common sense decisions” in Washington. They include:
• Emery – Approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to transport oil that is going to be pumped out of the Canadian tar sands whether U.S. workers are involved or not.
• Agriculture and Infrastructure – Focus on Missouri as an agricultural producer and the Mississippi River as the important transportation system that it is. And renewed infrastructure funding to create jobs
and make much-needed transportation improvements in light of the $20 billion gap between what the federal gas tax is currently producing and what is needed.
• Geospatial – Securing St. Louis as the location for the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency facility – locking in a $250 million annual payroll.
• Stadium – Development of a new downtown stadium.
“Washington need more of an attitude of working on things you can agree with,” Blunt said.
“I think we need to focus on how we can move the country forward.”