I often wonder where we would be if, in 1985, voters had not first enacted the County’s ½-cent Transportation Sales Tax. Since that time, the tax has been reauthorized three times – in 1994, 2004 and 2012 – and in the past 36 years, more than $1 billion has been used to make transportation improvements and to build or improve 1,110 lane miles of St. Charles County roads.
This tax has kept us moving forward as residents and businesses have found homes in our county. In 1985, we had approximately 172,000 residents. Today, according to the 2020 U.S. Census data, there are more than 405,000.
We’ve seen large corporations, such as Amazon, FedEx, General Motors, Boeing, City, Ameristar and MasterCard have come to St. Charles County over the years because our infrastructure has kept pace with our growing community. Smaller businesses, many family-owned, have moved to or stayed in St. Charles County because of the roads and highways that bring customers to their establishments, and each one is important in providing jobs for the county and surrounding area. St. Charles County consistently has the lowest unemployment rate in the region.
So, where would we be if our leaders had not had the foresight to propose a tax and our voters had not agreed that it was needed? We won’t ever know for sure, but we can speculate. The ability to shop, work and have access to excellent schools – all close to home – definitely is a by-product of our strategic infrastructure planning. It’s what ties everything together and what makes this county a great place to work, live, play, and do business.