Central District Freight Plan

MoDOT’s Central District has 18 counties covering more than 11,000 square miles. Residents of Missouri’s central region enjoy an excellent quality of life with the cost of living far below the national average, and good access to excellent hospitals, educational institutions and outdoor recreation. Columbia and Jefferson City are the largest cities in the district. Top area industries are financial, life sciences, agribusiness, warehousing/distribution and manufacturing. Major employers include ABB Power, Brewer Science, State Farm Insurance and Tracker Marine.


Freight moves by multiple transportation modes in the Central District. Major area roads include I-44 and I-70, as well as US-63, US-54, US-50, and US-40. Regional airports are located in Columbia and Fort Leonard Wood (Waynesville). Major rail access is provided by Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific. The region also has a Missouri River port facility in Boonville.

Central District Insights

What are the most important issues, needs and concerns for freight movement in the Central District? Here is what we have heard during listening sessions so far:

  • Innovative funding options should continue to be explored. Stakeholders in this district are concerned that funding gaps are threatening programs that are working well, such as MoDOT’s cost share program.
  • Efforts should be made to improve connectivity throughout the district. Stakeholders identified a need for improving north-south connections and specifically noted concerns with US-63 between Jefferson City and Rolla. The district could also benefit from improvements to I-70, such as increased lanes, as the interstate is critical to moving freight and supporting the agriculture industry. Several stakeholders suggested that a multi-modal hub between Columbia and Jefferson City would support economic development in the district.
  • The Missouri River is under-utilized and under-marketed. Stakeholders recognize that the district should expect increased demand over the next five years and beyond. Utilizing waterways will be critical in effectively moving additional freight and taking strain off of highways and rail lines.
  • The freight system needs to support the agriculture industry, which is key to the economic success of the district and the State. As one stakeholder noted, “2014 ag industry technology is being moved on a 1940’s (freight) network.”