I’ve been the Ralls County Assessor now for 14 years. Rarely does Ralls County have a chance to see an investment that would significantly add to our tax base.

I’ve been the Ralls County Assessor now for 14 years. Rarely does Ralls County have a chance to see an investment that would significantly add to our tax base. Besides the low-cost delivered energy and job creation, Clean Line’s $500 million investment in Missouri would provide significant property tax dollars that our counties sorely need to fund our schools and roads.

The Missouri Public Service Commission is currently reviewing Clean Line’s proposal to build the Grain Belt Express Clean Line. News reports indicate that the Commission is leaning toward a no vote on the project. In a public meeting last week, Missouri Public Service Commissioner Bill Kenney said, “I do not see the benefit to Missourians.” I disagree with this statement. Ralls County, like the other seven counties involved with this project in north Missouri, depend on property tax revenue from utilities as much as we depend on stable, low-cost energy for our homes and businesses.

In Ralls County, electric transmission lines and other utilities represent some of our largest property tax revenue generators. The Grain Belt Express will be no different than those other utilities that pay taxes to our county. Revenue paid from these companies goes to support our schools, roads, emergency services and other taxing districts in Ralls County. The Grain Belt Express Clean Line is estimated to bring in between $950,000 and $1,300,000 in revenue in its first year of operation alone.

Clean Line is not asking for any special approvals or government financing in building the Grain Belt Express Clean Line. The company would operate as a public utility and would be regulated by the PSC, just like Ameren or other utilities that build and operate transmission lines. This project, like other forms of infrastructure, is essential to maintaining our standard of living and government should make it easier for progress to occur, not harder.

I encourage the citizens of Ralls and other counties that the line will be crossing to look at the bigger picture. Missouri can choose to be a part of the change that is needed to strengthen our state’s electric grid and utilize a stable, domestic energy source, or we can take a short-sighted view and block it.

— Tom Ruhl, Ralls County Assessor