Keep on truckin’, Corridor

CBJ Editorial

It’s no secret that the trucking industry is an especially crucial element of the Corridor economy. It’s one of the few industries that nearly everyone can agree is fundamental to our regional vitality.

The transportation industry is also a leading economic indicator, and with a host of trucking company expansions and new headquarters in the Corridor, we’re hopeful that it means the economy is poised for more growth.

Don Hummer Trucking and logistics provider LTI recently celebrated their arrival at a new corporate headquarters in Cedar Rapids from Hummer’s longtime home in Oxford and LTI’s location in Hiawatha. The new 23,000-square-foot location at 505 33rd Ave. SW brings the Hummer family-owned companies together under one roof and provides more than triple the space of Hummer’s former headquarters.

West Side Transport, a 50-year-old family-owned transportation and logistics company, announced plans May 15 to build a new $8 million headquarters on Sixth Street SW in Cedar Rapids. The new location will include a 50,000-square foot building with office space and a maintenance shop.

Another expansion in the trucking industry space was announced recently by Future Line LLC, a provider of fleet truck equipment solutions and parts. Future Line plans to invest $3.9 million to build a new 30,000-square-foot-facility that will unify its Fourth Street location and the aluminum manufacturing portion of its business, located at 5549 Sixth St. SW.

The Corridor benefits not only from trucking companies and related manufacturers, but an assortment of truck dealers and repair facilities that have also expanded in recent years. Let’s keep this important industry growing.

An honest assessment

We were pleased by the candor of the Iowa Board of Regents’ newest member, David Barker of Iowa City, during a recent economic and educational forum hosted by West Bank.

Mr. Barker, an accomplished economist, formerly with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, responded to an audience question regarding how the University of Iowa can better convince legislators to invest more in the institution.

“There have been studies that have been done before, but it’s easy to buy a study that shows you’ve got a great economic impact,” Mr. Barker said. “Any economist will do that for you and give you any conclusion you want.”

“I think we need to do a really careful and honest job that will convince legislators that if you increase our appropriation by $1, the return to the taxpayer will be more than $1,” Mr. Barker continued. “I think that’s the only way we can make that case.”

Along with the UI, most every industry and economic development organization routinely commissions or conducts these economic impact studies. We’re sure legislators have become numb to their self-serving conclusions.

With Mr. Barker keeping an eye on these studies and their formulas, we’re hopeful the legislature might just start to take them more seriously. •