By Marshall Griffin, KWMU
Jefferson City, MO – Thirty-two highway projects in Missouri being funded by federal stimulus dollars were approved today by the state Highways and Transportation Commission.
But none of those projects are in or near St. Louis.
St. Louis-area officials, including Mayor Francis Slay, have been critical of the Missouri Department of Transportation for designating most of the federal bailout money allotted to it to projects outside the metro area.
Barbara Geisman, Executive Director for Development for the city of St. Louis, says they're concerned that the city is not getting its fair share.
"(The) Economic Recovery Act has a pretty clear provision: Priority must be given to projects in economically distressed areas...we certainly feel that the city of St. Louis is one of the most economically distressed areas in the region," Geisman said.
Geisman also says they're talking with MoDOT officials and hope to get a more realistic share of transportation economic stimulus dollars.
A recently-issued provisional list indicates that the city of St. Louis would only get $5 million of the $164 million MoDOT is to distribute to the region. Missouri as a whole is to get $637 million.
MoDOT Director Pete Rahn says they're doing their best to put the money where it's most needed.
"This stimulus funding is not a jar of peanut butter that we need to be spreading thin all over every community and every county in the state...if we do that, we produce nothing," Rahn said.
Rahn also says taking in all transportation funding sources over the past five years, the St. Louis area is getting its fair share of dollars.