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Mississippi DOT Celebrates Five Years of Economic Boom from I-269 Project

JACKSON, MS — Since opening five years ago, I-269 has been a hub of economic development in north Mississippi. Running 26 miles from the I-55 intersection north of Hernando, to the Tennessee state line, I-269 was a $640 million strategic infrastructure investment.

I-269 completed the 60-mile connection from Hernando to Millington, Tennessee. It not only provided the efficient movement of people and goods but also spurred economic growth in the area. In the last four years, DeSoto and Marshall counties have each attracted capital investments in excess of $1 billion. Marshall County has seen 5,000 jobs added to the region, and 10,000 jobs were added in DeSoto County.

“It wasn't a build it and they will come,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “I love Field of Dreams, but that's not the way we do things in Mississippi. We don't build it thinking they'll come. It was a strategic core investment that's making a difference from an economic development standpoint.”

“I think that I-269 shows yet again, another example of how when our state properly invests in a strong infrastructure system in the way of its transportation system, that economic and community development always follows,” said Mississippi Department of Transportation Executive Director Brad White.

Amazon, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Baxter International Inc., Barrett Distribution Centers, Nike, and Cooper Tires are just a few tenants along the I-269 corridor.

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Economic development leaders in the region say interest from companies wanting to locate there continues to build. Being located close to the interstate offers a natural flow of logistics, allowing companies to reach their destinations with ease throughout the Southeastern United States.

“On a given day, we could have over 100 vendors delivering in. We also will ship about 100 trucks out to our own stores,” said Richard Kearns, Executive Vice President of Distribution and Logistics for Associated Wholesale Grocers. “So it's incredibly important to be close to a modern, well-maintained road network. It's been a game changer for us. It's promoted a lot of efficiency. We've been able to reduce our fleet size and really get to our members a lot quicker.”

Communities like Hernando continue to see residential and commercial growth, which is helping keep tax rates low. Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson said there are several mixed-use developments planned at the McIngvale Road and Getwell Road exits, including a new $90 million Hernando High School which is under construction, a recently completed Fieldhouse recreational center, and a 75-acre entertainment district.

“We're really proud that the [Mississippi Transportation] Commission before us had some forward thinking people,” said Commissioner John Caldwell, Northern Transportation District. “It's just been a huge success story.”

Five years following the completion of I-269, the project stands as a testament to how strategic infrastructure investment not only creates jobs, but also boosts economic growth, development, and ultimately enhances the quality of life.

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