At the Sedalia Amtrak Depot, there were several local dignitaries as well as State Rep. Pollitt greeting Amtrak train riders Saturday morning, May 7 on the last day of National Travel and Tourism Week (May 1-7).

Kelly and Alan provided live music, and Carolyn Crooker from the Sedalia Convention and Visitor's Bureau was on hand to greet Amtrak travelers as well. And pass out treats.

Sedalia Mayor Andrew Dawson, Pettis County Commissioners David Dick and Israel Baeza, City Councilwoman Rhiannon Foster were all greeters.

Shawna Lynn from Sedalia Parks & Rec was also in attendance. Sedalia Planner and Downtown Specialist Joleigh Cornine was there, as was former Sedalia Mayor John Kehde and his very energetic puppy.

“So today, we're celebrating Tourism Week here in Missouri, and we want to make sure we are receiving and welcoming all the people coming into town. I believe this train is coming from Kansas City, going towards St. Louis, so a lot of people are going to stop by here, and we want to give them a reason to stay,” commented Baeza.

“This train makes the route every day, but today was one of those days we could all get out here. It's a beautiful day. We want to thank the conductor who allowed us to step on the train and greet the people that come into town,” he added.

“I'm sure that these people who are about to get off the train, I can promise you they've never been welcomed into a town like this,” Baeza concluded.

According to Baeza, in Pettis County, tourism brings in $78,544,858.28 (NAICS), sustains 1,532 employees in tourism-related jobs, and generates $1,334,295 in property tax for tourism-related businesses.

State Rep. Pollitt said that “tourism is one of the top two or three revenue producers in our state, so it's extremely important. Adding the second run for the Amtrak train was something we could do this year with the increase in finances.

According to the Missouri Times, Amtrak funding is split between the federal government and the state. Legislators only appropriated enough money to run the twice-daily round-trip trains through half of this fiscal year.

The budget included $10.85 million for the rail program and $25,000 specifically for Amtrak station repairs and improvements.

Patrick McKenna, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) director, said an additional $2.5 million was needed to bump the service back up for the next six months.

The Missouri River Runner service brings in more than $200 million in annual economic impact for the state, according to MoDOT.

Pollitt said that “we are always looking, if possible, to add things that people need, but at the same time, things that also bring in revenue. And that second trip we believe will bring in revenue, And Sedalia is an important part of this,” he noted.

“Sedalia is a welcoming place, it always has been. And one thing that I'm so proud of, is that we have so many organizations that work together and welcome people. We have a lot of tourist attractions here,” Rep. Pollitt noted, singling out the Missouri State Fair.

In the top photo from left are: Pettis County Presiding Commissioner David Dick, State Rep Brad Pollitt, Sedalia Convention & Visitor's Bureau Director Carolyn Crooker, Fourth Ward Councilwoman Rhiannon Foster, Sedalia Mayor Andrew Dawson and Pettis County Eastern Commissioner Israel Baeza.