If you had $1.49 billion for transportation projects, how would you spend it? Would you repair highways? Bolster mass transit service? Enhance bike lanes?
This isn’t some academic exercise. The St. Louis region’s political leaders are considering how to divide the potential proceeds from a 0.75 percent sales tax increase for transportation. These decisions could have a transformative impact on how St. Louis area residents get around.
But here’s the twist: You have to make this decision very, very quickly.
State Auditor Tom Schweich issued a tough audit of the Missouri’s historic preservation tax credit, saying that the incentive that’s refurbished countless buildings throughout the state is too expensive and structurally inefficient.
Proponents of a transportation sales tax were dealt a big blow last year when a legislative effort died at the last minute. But that doesn’t mean they’re giving up on putting a 1-cent sales tax increase before voters.
St. Louis aldermen have begun considering whether to limit the amount of money flowing into city politics.
The measure from Ald. Scott Ogilvie limits donations of all kinds to $3,000 for aldermanic races, and $10,00 to contests for board president, mayor and comptroller. The amounts are indexed to inflation, but they do not apply to candidates spending their own money.
St. Louis has joined cities like Minneapolis and Seattle in requiring developers and rehabbers to install bike racks in certain projects.
Mayor Francis Slay signed the bike parking ordinance at City Hall on Wednesday. It requires developers and rehabbers of most projects over $1 million to install at least one bike rack that can hold at least two bikes. The offsite parking requirement is reduced by one space for every bike rack that's installed.
Larry Arnowitz knew his campaign against Fred Heitert was a long-shot at best. After all, Heitert had served the 12th Ward on the city’s southwest side since 1979, winning eight elections as a Republican without the benefit of a Republican voting base. (He lost that in the 1981 redistricting, when the other Republican poached it.
But during his years as a city employee, Arnowitz got to meet Albert "Red" Villa, the longest-serving alderman in St. Louis history. He also served as a deputy sheriff at the pleasure of Red's son Tom, when Tom was the Board president. (The two will serve together on the board for the next two years. Tom is filling the seat of his nephew Matt, who resigned to focus on expanding Villa Lighting, the family business.)