The Economic Potential of the Great American Rail-Trail - and how we plan to connect Missouri to the new national trail | The Daily Yonder

Headlines are quick hits from media outlets from Missouri and around the world. Follow the headline link for the full story. The source of this headline says:

Trail enthusiasts are expected to increase visitor spending along the Great American Rail-Trail by $229.4 million per year with the potential to boost rural economies, according to a new report from a nonpartisan research organization.

In partnership with Headwaters Economics, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy conducted an economic impact analysis of the Great American Rail-Trail, which predicts significant boosts to local economies. Nearly 50 million people live within 50 miles of the trail, which is expected to host 25.6 million trips per year, increasing visitor spending by $229.4 million. The conservancy also estimates an annual tax revenue amounting to over $28 million.

The trail’s direct impact on labor income includes things like visitor spending at local restaurants or gear stores, which is expected to amount to $60.9 million per year. Indirect impacts on labor income include supply chain boosts and business-to-business transactions, which is estimated to generate $23.3 million per year, creating a combined $104 million in total labor income annually.

MoBikeFed comment: This kind of impact on local economies - plus the quality of life improvements trail projects bring - are the reasons we support major trail connections in Missouri, too.

And - we need to get our Missouri trail systems connected to the forthcoming Great American Rail Trail! Communities and leaders have already started thinking about these connections - and MoBikeFed has worked to create first drafts of some road routes to make those connections:

- The vision of the Quad State Trail Plan is to connect the Katy, Rock Island, and other trails across Missouri to Lincoln and Omaha NE, where the Great American Rail-Trail is planned:

- Rock Island-Quad State Connections is a first crack at low traffic, low stress (mostly) road routes connecting the Katy/Rock Island Trail system with Omaha and Lincoln:

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