Freight is fundamental to the region’s economy. It is how goods produced by area businesses get to market, how consumer goods and businesses’ supply components come to our market, and it represents an industry that supports over 100,000 regional jobs. The transportation of freight by air, barge, rail and truck is key to Greater Kansas City’s quality of life by virtue of the critical role these services play in its economy.
Kansas City owes much of its historical growth to its strategic position as a major transshipment point for freight, and it remains an important center for rail, truck, barge and airfreight industries. Our region currently ranks as the second largest rail center (based on number of car loads and additional tonnage that passes through the region) in the United States. It is also among the top five trucking centers
in the nation. Kansas City International Airport ranks as one of the most important airfreight hubs in a six‐ state region, in terms of total volume. Perhaps most importantly, Kansas City is well-positioned to take advantage of national trends toward intermodal freight movement, and to benefit from international trade. The vast majority of goods that are consumed in the region are produced outside of the metropolitan area, while most goods that are produced in the region are consumed elsewhere.
Freight has an important role in metropolitan planning due to the requirements of federal legislation (MAP-21) which emphasizes freight as an integral part of transportation planning. Due to the importance of freight transportation to Kansas City’s regional economy and transportation system, MARC has created a Goods Movement Committee to engage public and private sector stakeholders in the metropolitan planning process and several regional plans have been developed to address goods movement issues or needs.