They relocate a business and call it growth


This week Missouri voters resoundingly rejected spending more money on a broken transportation system. I highly suspect that Missouri voters would support spending more money on a reformed transportation approach, one that embraced Strong Towns’ principles. I’ll be in Missouri talking transportation later this year to help mature that conversation. I sense that the voters are in the right frame of mind. Now we just need the state’s leaders – in and out of government – to stop treating their constituents and patrons like uninformed children.

As one state’s big transportation spending initiative goes down in flames, another kicks off its campaign using essentially the same tactics. The first ad from a group called Texas Infrastructure Now shows a mother suffering with inflated costs, stalled in traffic and getting in horrific accidents, all ostensibly because we insist on being stingy.

This all brings me back to Minnesota where our transportation advocacy coalition – Move MN – recently posted this on their Facebook feed.

Notice how it starts with the broad appeal to all members of the happy coalition. Don’t worry….you’ll all get your piece of the pie if we stick together.

Smart investments in improving roads, transit and bike/walk connections can attract and create jobs and businesses.

Hard to argue with that. It certainly CAN. It also certainly may not, regardless of how much money we are willing to spend. The simplistic lack of nuance in the equation MORE TRANSPORTATION = JOBS/BUSINESSES should be embarrassing to any thoughtful person engaged in this coalition.

Case in point, the remainder of the update and the article in which they reference.

Wurth Adams Nut & Bolt and Perbix Machines are relocating their headquarters to Brooklyn Park with expansion projects that total $28.6 million.

I realize it is an election year and we are entering the prime election season, but the people putting out this stuff realize the internet is capable of more than simply sharing their propaganda? We can actually click on and read the article they attached that clearly explains where these new jobs came from.

Wurth Adams, which distributes nuts, bolts, and other types of fasteners, announced in June that it would relocate from Maple Grove to Brooklyn Park in a $27.5 million expansion that will create 20 new jobs. The company said it needed additional office and warehouse space to keep up with its business growth.
 
Perbix, which provides manufacturing and engineering services, said at the end of July that it would be moving its headquarters from Golden Valley to Brooklyn Park and would invest $1.1 million in tenant renovations while creating 12 new jobs.
 
DEED awarded Wurth Adams $590,000 in funding, Perbix $139,000, and Custom Products $231,000, for their expansions. The funding is contingent on the three companies meeting their job creation goals.
 
According to the state, these business expansions were largely due to its “Corridors of Commerce” initiative, which funds transportation projects that would help promote economic development. In 2013, the Minnesota Department of Transportation awarded $130 million in funding to extend Highway 610 from County Road 81 and Elm Creek Boulevard to Interstate 94, which the state said was crucial in bringing business expansions to Brooklyn Park.

Thirty two new jobs (projected), a million dollars in direct subsidies and millions more in transportation funding later, we’ve managed to move two businesses from one Minnesota community to another. And we call that “creating” jobs and businesses.

Rome (AD 56): They make a desert and call it peace.

America (AD 2014): They relocate a business and call it growth.

Have we fallen so far that telling ourselves lies is the best we can do? Look at these guys out here with hard hats and shovels and realize that there are 138,000+ Minnesotans currently “officially” unemployed (scores more under-employed or forced out of the labor pool entirely). Thirty two new jobs. Are we buying this?

Regardless, it doesn’t matter whether we buy it. Move MN, Texas Infrastructure Now, Missourians for Safe Transportation and all these other insider groups are not about convincing you. They are about convincing themselves. After all, when you can lie to yourself, when you can believe your own lies, well....all of a sudden anything seems possible.