St. Louis – Passing Amendment 7 would generate literally billions of dollars in new highway work across Missouri, according to a new state work plan, and from 75,000 to 100,000 new jobs for its 10-year duration, supporters say.
The work would include more than $1 billion in the St. Louis region alone, according to the plan just released by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.
“It would be the single largest jobs program in the state of Missouri – by far,” said Jewell Patek, the former state legislator who now heads up Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs, the campaign for passage of Amendment 7. “Somewhere around 100,000 jobs is pretty defensible.”
Those figures include both new construction jobs and spin-off jobs, he said.
Patek noted that the labor movement is almost unanimously supportive of the plan. “This is the easiest way to put those guys back to work,” he said.
If passed, Amendment 7 would add three-quarters of a cent to the state sales tax to support transportation projects – mostly highway and bridges, but also including trails, sidewalks, railroads and other mass transit projects.
ELECTION DAY IS AUG. 5
Missouri voters will decide on Aug. 5. Supporters had hoped to place the proposal on the November ballot, but Gov. Jay Nixon ruled that it should be voted on in August, when a lower turnout is almost certain.
State transportation officials are concerned that the trend toward more fuel-efficient vehicles will reduce gasoline tax revenue, so Amendment 7 was designed to make up for that. It is expected to generate $5.4 billion over the 10 years that the tax increase would be in place.
The new work plan was created by regional transportation planners and planning agencies in June, and public comments were accepted into July before it reached its final form.
It can be seen in its entirety at modot.org/movingforward.
IT’S ABOUT THE ECONOMY
One key supporter, Ray McCarty, president of Associated Industries of Missouri, says it’s a matter of keeping the state’s economy strong.
“Our manufacturers and other businesses need a rich and robust transportation system to keep products moving and keep Missouri’s economy growing,” McCarty said. “The idea of a general sales tax is an idea that has been vetted thoroughly over many years and is the most promising funding source for transportation in Missouri over the next 10 years.”
The Missouri State Troopers Association also endorses the tax increase to protect public safety and save lives.
Patek has been traveling across the state building support for the proposal and says he has seen the need for improvements to the highways all along the way.
“They’re very crowded and they’re crumbling,” he said. “It may feel silky smooth, but there’s nothing underneath. Amendment 7 is the only way to feasibly fix it.”
Dan Mehan, president of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says Amendment 7 is actually the most fair solution.
To match it, the diesel tax would have to go from 17 to 90 cents, or the gasoline tax would double to 35 cents.
“This would harm Missouri’s working families and hurt the state’s economy,” Mehan said.
“Every citizen uses our roads to get to work, or by having access to vital food and products that are shipped via our highways to Missouri stores every hour of every day,” Mehan said. “That’s why this approach makes more sense than a gas tax or tolling, which only affects a portion of the population.”
The biggest project on the state’s list would add a lane in each direction to Interstate 70 from St. Louis to Kansas City, easing high-speed traffic flow across the state. The project would cost an estimated $1.5 billion, with a third of it from the sales tax increase.
The long list of St. Louis region projects totals $1.26 billion, led by several interstate highway improvements and expansions, including:
• Interstate 270 would be improved from Lindbergh Boulevard to Rte. 367, a $350 million project.
• Interstate 70 would be improved from Natural Bridge Road to Hanley Road, for $200 million. This would include the I-70/I-170 interchange.
• Interstate 44 would be improved from Rte. 141 to I-270, including new bridges over the Meramec River and an additional westbound lane, for $74.75 million.
• Manchester Road (Rte. 100) would be improved from Hanley Road to Lindbergh (Rte. 61/67) for $85.52 million.
• Interstate 64 would get additional lanes from Rte. K to I-70, $43.35 million.
OTHER TRANSPORTATION MEASURES
The list also includes many smaller projects designed for pedestrians, and rail, trail and port users, in several cases also requiring matching funds from local governments and organizations. The list includes:
• Grant’s Trail, the popular bikeway through south St. Louis County, would get an extension to link it with the River des Peres Trail, for $2.5 million plus another $2.5 million from the Great Rivers Greenway trails organization.
• Sidewalks would be improved at important St. Louis locations such as Dr. Martin Luther King Drive from Grand to Kingshighway, with bike lanes, $6.16 million; Washington Avenue between Theresa Ave. and Sheldon Concert Hall, $3.22 million; and Tucker Blvd. from Washington Ave. to Spruce St., also with bike lanes, $8.11 million.
• Railroad users would be served by improved passenger access to the Kirkwood Amtrak Station for $1.16 million, and partial funding of repairs to the Merchants Bridge, in cooperation with Terminal Railroad Association, for $3 million.
• Port users would see $4.69 million in improvements to the north dock at the St. Louis City Municipal River Terminal Port and $8.05 million to help Jefferson County establish a port, including property acquisition.
LESS THAN A NICKEL INCREASE
Statewide, the list includes more than 800 projects totaling $4.8 billion. The current state sales tax rate is 4.225. Amendment 7 would push it up to 4.975, about a nickel.
At the other end of I-70, Kansas City Mayor Sly James published an opinion piece supporting the plan, saying it’s hard for metropolitan areas to get much help from the state these days.
“There are many transportation projects of great importance to Kansas City in the north, south, east and west,” he wrote. “Given the political climate in Jefferson City, I don’t see any other way to fund these much-needed projects in the next 10 years.
“Our infrastructure would be in worse shape by then, and the price tag would undoubtedly be higher.”
Transportation tax would fund projects throughout the region
These are the St. Louis region projects included in the state’s work program for Amendment 7, as described by the Missouri Department of Transportation at the website modot.org/movingforward. The entire state list can be seen on the website.
• Improve safety at the following locations: Rte 100 between Rte E and Gasconade County; Rte FF between Rte 47 and Rte 30; Rte 185 between Rte H and north of I-44; Rte KK between Rte 185 and Rte 100; Rte MM between Rte 100 and Rte T; Rte O between Rte AT and Shannon Lane; Rte OO between Rte 100 and Rte F; Rte YY between Rte A and Rte AJ; Rte BB between Rte 50 and Rte A – $12.13 million.
• Partial improvements on Rte 47 between Steutermann Rd and I-44 – $38.62 million.
• Fixed funding contribution to support the Transportation for Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Program (Paratransit) – $410,000.
• Add lane on I-55 from Rte Z to McNutt St – $55.1 million.
• Add lane on I-55 from Rte A to Rte 67 – $7.77 million.
• Improvements on Rte 141 from Rte 21 to Astra Way, including intersections with Ridgewood Middle School Dr and Old Missouri State Rd – $1.08 million.
• Improve safety on Rte TT between Rte 61 south of Festus and Rte 61 north of Ste Genevieve County – $4.29 million.
• Improve safety on Rte H between Rte 21 and Rte 47 – $5.67 million.
• Improve safety on Rte Y between Rte 21 and Rte 30 – $5.11 million.
• Improve safety by adding shoulders on Rte 61 between the I-55 overpass and Ste Genevieve County – $3.31 million.
• Improve safety on Rte 110 at Rte 21 near DeSoto – $1.78 million.
• Improve safety to the Rte 61/67 intersection at Tenbrook Rd – $1.57 million.
• Improve safety on Rte 67 at Flucom and Victoria Rds – $3.57 million.
• Add center turn lane on Rte 21 between Cajun Dr and Rte N/H – $1.11 million.
• Fixed funding contribution to support the Transportation for Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Program (Paratransit) – $27,000.
• Fixed funding contribution to support the Missouri Elderly and Handicapped Transportation Assistance Program (MEHTAP) – $1.3 million.
• Fixed funding contribution to establish the Jefferson County Port including the purchase of property – $8.05 million.
ST. CHARLES COUNTY
• Improve Rte 94 near O’Fallon Rd – $400,000.
• Improve I-70 between 5th St and Rte 94. Project delivery is contingent upon $3.88 million contribution from St Charles County – $30 million.
• Add lanes on Rte 94 from I-70 to Rte 364 – $12.98 million.
• Improve I-70 between Bryan Rd and TR Hughes Blvd – $46.99 million.
• Improve I-70 from west of Cave Springs Rd to west of Zumbehl Rd. Project delivery is contingent upon $6.72 million contribution from St Charles County –
• Add lanes on I-64 from Rte K to I-70 – $43.35 million.
• Partial improvements on Rte N between I-64 and I-70/David Hoekel Parkway interchange – $39.04 million.
• Improve access to Rte 364 from Heritage Crossing to Mid Rivers Mall Drive – $6.94 million.
• Provide access from Rte 364 to Guttermuth Rd – $6.97 million.
• Connect sections of outer roads on Rte 61 between Rte A and Peine Rd – $9.34 million.
• Fixed funding contribution for the Gateway Green Light program to improve signal coordination and traffic flow – $8.11 million.
• Improve safety on Rte W between Rte 61 and I-70 – $3.7 million.
• Improve safety on Rte F between Rte D and Rte 94 – $2.86 million.
• Fixed funding contribution to support the Transportation for Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Program (Paratransit) – $2.5 million.
• Fixed funding contribution to support the Missouri Elderly and Handicapped Transportation Assistance Program (MEHTAP) – $2.5 million.
• Construct Dardenne Greenway Trail Extension from Rabbit Run Park to Olde Town St Peters. Project delivery is contingent upon $2.1 million contribution from Great Rivers Greenway – $2.1 million.
• Construct non-motorized facility across the Missouri River in City of St Charles – $21.30 million.
ST. LOUIS COUNTY
• Improve Berry Rd at I-44 interchange – $570,000.
• Improve I-70 between Natural Bridge and Hanley Rds, including the I-70/I-170 interchange – $200 million.
• Improve I-270 between Rte 67 (Lindbergh Blvd) and Rte 367 – $350 million.
• Improve the I-170 interchanges at Scudder Ave and Airport Rd – $27.51.
• Improve the I-170/Rte D (Page Ave) interchange – $24.31 million.
• Improve I-44 between I-270 and Rte 141 including new bridges over the Meramec River and added westbound lane – $74.75.
• Add eastbound lane on I-64 between Rte 141 and Rte 340 (Clarkson Rd) – $7.59 million.
• Construct connection on I-64 south outer road between Clarkson Rd and Chesterfield Pkwy East. Project delivery is contingent upon $5.7 million from St Louis County, developers and economic development funds – $5.7 million.
• Construct connection on I-64 north outer road between Chesterfield Pkwy West and Boone's Crossing. Project delivery is contingent upon $12 million from St Louis County, developers and economic development funds – $12 million.
• Improvements on Rte 30 (Gravois Rd) from Laclede Station Rd to Musick Rd – $2.02 million.
• Improve Manchester Rd (Rte 100) between Hanley Rd and Lindbergh (Rte 61/67) – $85.52 million.
• Funding to evaluate needed improvements on I-170 from Page Ave to I-64 – $2 million.
• Improve passenger access to the Kirkwood Amtrak station – $1.16 million.
• Fixed funding contribution to connect the Grant's Trail Extension to the River des Peres Trail. Project delivery is contingent upon $2.5 million contribution from Great Rivers Greenway – $2.5 million.
• Fixed funding contribution to connect Centennial Greenway Trail from I-270 to Creve Coeur Park. Project delivery is contingent upon $1.5 million contribution from Great Rivers Greenway – $1.5 million.
• Improve sidewalks at bus stops in St Louis County – $2.88 million.
• Roadway, sidewalks and non-motorized improvements on Rte 67 (Lindbergh Blvd) from Rte AC (New Halls Ferry) to Jamestown Mall – $5.39 million.
ST. LOUIS CITY/COUNTY
• Future light rail station – $8.9 million.
• Studies for light rail expansion and funding scenarios for next phase – $2 million.
• Fixed funding contribution to Metro for bus rapid transit route from downtown St Louis to Chesterfield along I-64. Project delivery is contingent upon $20 million contribution from Metro – $18 million.
• Improve freight access at the Lambert-St Louis International Airport – $11.49 million.
• Fixed funding contribution to Terminal Railroad Association of St Louis for repairs to the Merchants Bridge over the Mississippi River. Project delivery is contingent upon Terminal Railroad providing the balance of funds needed to complete the improvements – $3 million.
• Fixed funding contribution to Metro for the bus rapid transit route from downtown St Louis to I-270 along West Florissant Ave and Natural Bridge Road. Project delivery is contingent upon Metro providing $20 million to complete the improvement – $18 million.
ST. LOUIS CITY
• Improve North Grand Ave with sidewalks/non-motorized facilities between I-70 and Natural Bridge Rd – $5.76 million.
• Improve Natural Bridge with sidewalks/non-motorized facilities between Kingshighway and Grand Ave – $5.76 million.
• Improve Vandeventer sidewalks between Forest Park Parkway and I-44 – $15.35 million.
• Improve Morganford Rd sidewalks between Arsenal St and Chippewa St –
• Improve South Broadway with sidewalks/non-motorized facilities between Upton St and Holly Hills Blvd – $3.46 million.
• Improve South Grand with sidewalks/non-motorized facilities between Utah St and Gravois Ave – $3.46 million.
• Provide fixed funding contribution for the Traffic Management Center in St Louis City – $4.01 million.
• Provide fixed funding contribution toward phase I of the St Louis Streetcar system. Project delivery is contingent upon St Louis Streetcar Company providing $271.5 million contribution from other sources, including federal funds and rider fees – $25 million.
• Fixed funding contribution to improve sidewalks at bus stops in St Louis City –
• Funding for Delmar/Forest Park-DeBaliviere Metrolink station improvements, sidewalk/non-motorized improvements along Hodiamont Ave, Delmar Blvd, De Giverville Ave and Des Peres Ave, and connect Ruth Porter Trail to Forest Park
St Louis City – $18.77 million.
• Construction of rail spur to Terminal Railroad at 400-420 Carrie Ave – $1.41 million.
• Improve the north dock at the St Louis City Municipal River Terminal Port –
• Improve the Northern Tract Ramp at Lambert-St Louis International Airport to support movement of freight – $5.81 million.
• Improve traffic management systems at the Rte 67 (Lindbergh Blvd) tunnel – $840,000.
• Fixed funding contribution to improve the North Riverfront Trail utilizing existing railroad trestles to connect to Downtown, North Side Regeneration and North Riverfront-Phase II trails. Project delivery is contingent upon $2 million contribution from Great Rivers Greenway – $5.05 million.
• Fixed funding contribution to improve Midtown Loop trail connections. Project delivery is contingent upon $1 million contribution from Great Rivers Greenway – $8.06 million.
• Fixed funding contribution to support Gateway non-motorized plan – $2.03 million.
• Construct new I-64/22nd St Parkway interchange and adjacent street work. Project delivery is contingent upon $8.9 million contribution shared by the City of St Louis and developers – $20 million.
• Improve the I-70 westbound North Broadway exit – $1.86 million.
• Improve Branch St intermodal connector from I-70 to the Mississippi River including access to Municipal River Terminal and St Louis Riverfront Trail – $5.28 million.
• Improve Hall St (Rte H) from Adelaide to Carrie Ave – $11.59 million.
• Fixed funding contribution to improve sidewalks and street corners /crosswalks on St Louis City streets – $7.31 million.
• Improve Goodfellow Blvd with sidewalks and non-motorized lanes between I-70 and Natural Bridge Rd – $5 million.
• Improve Dr. Martin Luther King Dr with sidewalks and non-motorized lanes between Grand Ave and Kingshighway – $6.16 million.
• Improve Washington Ave at Grand Center with sidewalks between Theresa Ave and Sheldon Concert Hall – $3.22 million.
• Improve Tucker Blvd with sidewalks, non-motorized lanes and signal improvements between Washington Ave and Spruce St – $8.11 million.
• Improve Laclede's Landing sidewalks – $10.13 million.
• Improve sidewalks in the Central Business District on 7th St and 8th St – $7.81 million.
• Fixed funding contribution to reconfigure roadway and improve sidewalks on Clark St between 14th St and Tucker Blvd and on Spruce St between 8th St and Tucker Blvd – $8.51 million.