JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A resolution from Sen. Joe Keaveny, D-St. Louis, urging the federal government to keep the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) in Missouri was adopted Monday night by a near unanimous vote.
The NGA is currently looking for a new location to expand its operations and is choosing between sites for a new facility in North St. Louis city and across the Mississippi River in Illinois near Scott Air Force Base.
Keaveny said during the debate that the current facility employs 3100 people in St. Louis and a new facility is estimated to add nearly 2000 more jobs, not including the construction jobs spawned by building that new facility.
“St. Louis has been the proud home to the NGA for 72 years,” Keaveny said. “We have had a wonderful partnership with the agency, but they have outlived their current facility. We have a new location available that will more than meet the needs of the NGA and is the best choice for the new headquarters.”
The measure has bipartisan support. Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, has expressed his desire to keep the facility in Missouri and has personally reassured St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay that he would do everything in his power to encourage the NGA to stay in the Show-Me State.
“If we were to miss out on the opportunity to our neighbors, Missouri will lose more than $8 million per year in income taxes alone,” Richard said. “The chance to grow won’t exist. Staying in St. Louis City will bring a huge economic development advantage to the entire state.”
Richard said the legislature would hear the NGA’s final decision in late March, and Keaveny mentioned that he had not heard any indication from the agency one way or another.
“They keep things pretty close to their chest,” he said.
The NGA is a federal agency that works closely with the Department of Defense with GPS support, other navigation needs for war planes, and precision targeting. The agency has also indicated they are “committed to remaining in the St. Louis metropolitan region.”
The only senator to vote against the measure was Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-St. Louis County.