Morning Headlines: Friday, April 29, 2011 | St. Louis Public Radio

Morning Headlines: Friday, April 29, 2011

Apr 29, 2011

Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:

Fed. judge gives corps OK to break Missouri levee

A federal judge is giving the go-ahead to the Army Corps of Engineers' plan to intentionally break a Mississippi River levee in southeastern Missouri.

The break could happen as early as this weekend to spare a flood-threatened Illinois town just upriver. Friday's ruling in Cape Girardeau turns back Missouri's bid to block the corps from blasting a hole in the Birds Point levee in Mississippi County, just south of Cairo, Ill.

Missouri argued the floodwaters would ruin farmland and damage about 100 homes. The Army Corps has called the possible break necessary to ease waters rising near Cairo, a 2,800-resident town where the rain-swollen Ohio and Mississippi rivers meet.

It wasn't immediately clear if Missouri would appeal the ruling.

Mo. Senate version of "Aerotropolis" bill receives first-round approval

While the Missouri House passed the so-called Aerotropolis bill earlier this month, the Senate rolled its version into a larger tax credit overhaul bill that received first-round approval Thursday morning.

The $480 million tax break package is designed to turn Lambert Airport in St. Louis into an international air cargo hub.  The Senate bill it’s a part of shrinks and, in many cases, eliminates numerous other incentives.  House Speaker Steven Tilley says he’s not a fan of putting limits on tax breaks:

“When you put a sunset on it, you give the ability for one senator to kill an entire tax credit program…I don’t think that’s good government, I don’t think it’s representative government, and it’s not something that I think the House would support.”

Tilley says they’re willing to work with the Senate on reforming tax credits, as long as those reforms won’t decimate programs that help Missouri’s economy.  The regular session ends in two weeks.

Flood continues to close St. Louis-area roads

A section of a busy suburban St. Louis intersection is now flooded. Two lanes of southbound Route 141 under Interstate 44 at Valley Park were closed by the Missouri Department of Transportation on Friday. The Meramec River at Valley Park has been rising quickly and is now more than 10 feet over flood stage. It is expected to go up another foot by early Saturday.

A few homes along the Meramec could be impacted by the flooding, but many were bought out previous floods.Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard along the St. Louis riverfront is closed. The Mississippi was about 4 feet above flood stage in St. Louis on Friday and is expected to remain at about that level until beginning a slow descent on Sunday.