By Steve Hansen
Former QCS Managing Editor
I am far from being the first Tucumcari transplant to notice that the city is the meeting place for Interstate 40, which bisects the nation’s southern two-thirds, and U.S. 54, which extends 1,200 miles from western Illinois, through Missouri and Kansas, to El Paso, Texas.
We also can’t ignore the Union Pacific railroad tracks, sidings and spurs.
We hear long-time residents pine for the city’s past as a rail and trucking hub.
To many of us newcomers, however, it seems the city is in mourning when it should be scrambling. Changing times could be creating new opportunities.
I learned recently the burgeoning e-commerce industry, Amazon and its cousins, might be looking for low-cost distribution center locations where they can build in the latest cost-cutting technologies.
There are thousands of acres of inexpensive land located on or near the highways and railroad tracks in the Tucumcari area. The ready access to rail and highway would not be hampered by competing traffic.
Tucumcari is located within eight hours of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, with a population of more than 7 million, and the Denver area, population 2.8 million. Also within eight hours of Tucumcari are the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas, combined population: about 2.4 million.
The Tucson, Arizona, area, with nearly 1 million residents, is also within that eight-hour radius. So are the El Paso, Texas, and Wichita, Kansas, areas, combined population: about 1.5 million.
The two closest major markets, Albuquerque and Amarillo, contain between them about 1.2 million people, not to mention the 800,000 people living in the Dona Ana County area and in the Lubbock and Midland-Odessa areas of Texas.
If you drive for 10 hours from Tucumcari, you add the Phoenix area, population 4.2 million; the Kansas City, Missouri, population 2.8 million; and the Austin and San Antonio areas, combined population: about 4.1 million.
In all, my crude calculations show that Tucumcari is within 10 highway hours of at least 25 million people.
Tucumcari should be hard to ignore as a potential central distribution location. Throw in access to fiber-optic cable for high-volume, high speed communications, and I think there might be quite a bargain here.
Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at: