State transport panel hears from St. Louis metro region | St. Louis Public Radio

State transport panel hears from St. Louis metro region

May 14, 2012

Missouri state and local officials are looking for ways to maintain the state’s transportation infrastructure during a climate of limited funds.

The so-called "Blue Ribbon Citizens Committee on Missouri Transportation Needs" met in Chesterfield and will hold similar meetings around the state this spring and summer. 

MoDOT District Engineer Ed Hassinger says the agency has roughly half the money to spend that it did just several years ago.

"So the things that aren’t going to get done are major improvements that do things for economic development, reduce congestion, and improve safety and we’re just not going to have the money to do some of those things," he said.

MoDOT gets 70 percent of every dollar it receives from federal and state fuel taxes, which haven’t gone up in roughly ten years.

The transportation needs in the state extend well beyond highways, said Otis Williams, the deputy director of the St. Louis Development Corporation.

"Not many people realize that over 31 million tons actually flow through the terminals here in St. Louis and we are the third busiest in the entire nation," he said.

Williams says the St. Louis Port Authority oversees some 19 miles of riverfront, an important part in the region’s newly-designated foreign trade zone.