The value of freight shipped through the St. Louis region is expected to increase 74 percent to $483 billion in 2045, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
That boom is part of a projected 45 percent growth in freight volume nationwide over the next 30 years. How to handle that uptick was the topic of a freight roundtable Monday in St. Louis.
It was the last of 24 such events held by the highway administration around the country. It included officials from the St. Louis Regional Freightway — the region’s freight district that falls under the umbrella of Bi-State Development — as well as government and leaders from Boeing, Anheuser-Busch, Save-A-Lot grocery stores and trucking firms.
Gregory Nadeau, head of the highway administration, highlighted the 126-year-old Merchants Bridge as key to moving freight not only in the St. Louis region, but across the country. Other infrastructure upgrades, including changes to Interstate 270 and expansion of ports, are also being sought.
Paul Jaenichen, administrator of the federal maritime administration, said Monday that without these upgrades, the nation isn’t ready to handle the big ships of the future.