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  • Cathy O'Connor

continued growth means opportunity

The population of the Oklahoma City area has surpassed the 1 million mark and is expected to reach 2 million in just over 20 years. The reason we are experiencing such growth is that we’ve built a vibrant city through thoughtful planning and investments such as MAPS 3. Now we are seeing a return on our investment with labor market strength, more economic diversity and more people choosing to live in Oklahoma City.

Another factor that’s contributed to our growth is that Oklahoma City is connected with other vibrant metros along Interstate 35: Kansas City, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio – all of which are experiencing higher-than-average population growth. This corridor is designated as one of 10 U.S. megalopolises, areas that combine at least two large metro areas and link multiple cities along a major transportation infrastructure. Megalopolises tend to get retailers, amenities and economic opportunities that other cities do not.

This bodes well for Oklahoma City’s long-term economic forecast since goods and services flow along this corridor. For example, a 1-percent growth in the market value of the goods and services produced in Dallas/Fort Worth would increase Oklahoma’s output by $57 million and more than 280 full-time jobs.

Growing pains, such as adequate affordable housing and sustainable infrastructure, are a concern to flourishing cities. Being on our way to a megalopolis means we’ll need to be more mindful than ever of infrastructure: housing, transportation, safety and other services for these new residents to ensure affordability and quality of life. How we continue to grow and progress – by making smart, intentional decisions on the local and regional levels today – will make an impact on our city for years to come.

Read more at The Journal Record.

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