View from QCA: Mr. Obama, with Washington's help, Q-C ready to run

Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2012, 6:00 am
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By Tara Barney
Dear Mr. President:

Your victory speech underscored the imperative to reach across the aisle, to meet the challenges our great nation is facing by working with leaders of both political parties.

Nowhere more than from our vantage point in the Midwest do we see the need to build upon our common bonds. We have found success working as a unified region in western Illinois and Eastern Iowa that you know so well and fondly refer to as "The Quads."

Over 150 years ago the citizens of Rock Island, Ill., and Davenport, Iowa, watched three steam locomotives pull eight passenger cars safely across the newly completed Chicago and Rock Island railroad bridge over the Mississippi River.

The first railroad bridge across the Mississippi was open for business, ushering in an industrial revolution that would transform our nation.
It was a turning point eliciting cheers and controversy, with the greater good of mutuality prevailing.

Today, those cities are part of the larger Quad-Cities region where the Mississippi cuts a wide swath from east to west. The beautiful view is a tie that connects us.

The Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce believes in that same spirit of unity and determination that motivated our region's founders. Only through working on our challenges together shall we meet our yearning for progress and prosperity.

Mr. President, we extend our hand to you, a welcome invitation to work with us to build an economy that is not only better for business, but better for all of us.

Our region is fast-becoming a national center of excellence for manufacturing innovation. We ask for your support of investments that foster collaboration between the public and private sectors. The opportunity for such partnerships creates a foundation for more jobs and economic growth.

The promise and optimism of an innovation-led economy is something to be excited about. We share your commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education initiatives that will help ensure our future workforce is qualified and globally competitive.

But we temper our excitement with a pressing challenge, the immediate test of bipartisanship surrounding the sequester.

The Quad-Cities' largest employer is the Rock Island Arsenal, a major military installation, home to an important Army Materiel Command center of gravity, and companies and organizations that play a critical role in our national security. Congress must avoid the across-the-board cuts of the sequester.

We ask that you move our nation forward through transportation infrastructure policy and funding, particularly for projects of regional significance that can develop effective trade corridors.

This includes continued support of Chicago-Quad Cities passenger rail service and the Projects of Regional and National Significance program. This passenger rail line to be completed in 2015 will connect our region to the international economy in Chicago, creating hundreds of jobs during the construction phase. The latter is vital for the replacement of our I-74 Bridge Corridor, which the U.S. Secretary of Transportation has identified as a key priority.

Finally, many of our Chamber members are concerned about excess regulation. Policies that foster small business expansion and entrepreneurship can only result in a positive ripple effect across the country, restoring confidence in our economy.

Mr. President, you once said, "If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress."

The Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce is ready not only to walk down those paths along common ground, we're ready to run.

Tara Barney,
CEO, Quad Cities
Chamber of Commerce


Local events heading

  Today is Saturday, Sept. 20, the 263rd day of 2014. There are 102 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Recruits can get $500 by enlisting now. Lt Jobe has a recruiting office on Illinois Street.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Superintendent Schnitger formally inaugurated the Rock Island and Davenport Railway Line of the Holmes system by putting on four cars to start.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Wires of the defunct Union Electric Co. are being removed by city electricians.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The Bishop Hill softball team won the championship in WHB"S Mississippi Valley tournament at Douglas Park.
1964 -- 50 years ago: A boom in apartment construction has hit Rock Island, with approximately 300 units either in or near the construction stage or due for an early rezoning decision.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Members of the Bi-State Metropolitan Planning Commission are hoping to revive their push for a new $70 million four-lane bridge spanning the Mississippi River.

(More History)