Missouri looks to lure Amazon’s HQ2 with ‘innovation corridor’ connecting KC, St. Louis

The state of Missouri announced Thursday that it is backing bids by both Kansas City and St. Louis to attract Amazon’s second headquarters, framing those as part of a larger effort to draw the e-commerce company to the state.

In a letter addressed to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Gov. Eric Greitens said he “fully and equally” supports both cities’ campaigns to land Amazon and the 50,000 jobs the company has said it will create. But the state’s proposal encourages Amazon to envision Kansas City and St. Louis as part of a larger “innovation corridor” that would run between the two cities, connected by a futuristic, high-speed transit system.

“I will work personally with you, our General Assembly, and our business and civic leaders across the state to welcome Amazon’s HQ2 to Missouri,” the first-year Republican governor wrote.

A key piece of Missouri’s proposal is the prospect of connecting Kansas City and St. Louis via a high-speed transit system being developed by the company Hyperloop One, which organizers say could shuttle passengers between the cities in about 25 minutes.

Missouri missed the cut in September when Hyperloop One revealed the U.S. finalists for a route. Subsequently, a private-public partnership formed in support of a feasibility study for a route connecting Kansas City, Columbia and St. Louis.

The state’s Amazon proposal touts that possibility:

“Look further and see HQ2 as more than just a campus but rather an integrated series of campuses linked to form an innovation corridor that stretches from the banks of the Mississippi in St. Louis in the east, across I-70 through Columbia, to Kansas City on the Missouri River in the west,” the proposal reads.

Missouri’s proposal also promotes other assets, including the state’s transportation infrastructure, business climate, talent pool and tech startup scene.

The Seattle-based company announced in September that it was soliciting bids from cities for a second headquarters that would employ 50,000 people and involve $5 billion of investment. Kansas City and St. Louis immediately expressed interest, and cities across the country have attempted to catch the company’s eye with incentives and publicity stunts as varied as Amazon’s inventory.

As expected, both Kansas City and St. Louis submitted bids for HQ2 by Thursday’s deadline, but officials responsible for those bids did not disclose details on financing and incentive packages.

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