Transportation

This blowup hit Highway 54 in Callaway County during June's heat wave.
Provided by Missouri Department of Transportation

The recent heat wave has damaged several highways across Missouri, especially in the central part of the state.

At least a dozen incidents of buckling concrete, sometimes called "blow-ups," were called in to MoDOT during the recent heat wave. It occurs when the surface of a road expands at a crack or joint where water has seeped in.

I-64 W traffic highway
Paul Sableman | Flickr | http://bit.ly/1rzN9Hd

Since we launched the Curious Louis project last fall, we’ve received plenty of questions/musings/perplexed cries for answers regarding highways, byways and roadways in St. Louis. On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh got answers to some of them by convening a panel of three experts.

Representatives from St. Louis City, St. Louis County and the state (MoDOT) joined the show:

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

A proposal to raise Missouri's fuel tax is getting attention again at the state Capitol.

Senate Bill 623, which would raise the tax by 6 cents a gallon, was considered Tuesday by a State House committee. It was passed earlier this month by the Senate.

Shell gas station
(via Flickr/dno1967b)

A revised version of a proposed fuel tax hike has received first-round approval in the Missouri Senate.

A substitute version of Senate Bill 623 was adopted Wednesday evening, which would raise the tax on both gasoline and diesel fuel to 23 cents per gallon from 17.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's proposed $27 billion budget for next year is up for debate this week in the Missouri House.

Last week, House budget writers cut $7.6 million from the University of Missouri System's proposed budget over the way it handled last fall's racial protests and over a perceived cozy relationship with Planned Parenthood. Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, was unable to persuade House budget writers to restore the funding, but he plans to try again this week.

A photo of the Boone Bridge taken from the St. Charles County side of the Missouri River.
Missouri Department of Transportation St. Charles County camera

Updated March 2 with rescheduled demolition — The Missouri Department of Transportation plans to close the section of Interstate 64 leading up to and crossing the Missouri River between St. Charles and St. Louis counties for at least an hour on Monday, March 7. 

Weather permitting, the department will finish demolishing the 1930's era Boone Bridge. The bridge is no longer needed now that traffic has been moved to the adjacent 1980's era bridge and the new Boone Bridge. 

A photo of the Boone Bridge taken from the St. Charles County side of the Missouri River.
Missouri Department of Transportation St. Charles County camera

Transportation issues, including the possibility of raising the state's fuel tax, are expected to get a lot of attention this week from the Missouri Senate.

Senate Bill 623 would raise the tax on gasoline by 1.5 cents a gallon, and the tax on diesel fuel by 3.5 cents a gallon. Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, says he'll allow the bill's sponsor as much time has he wants to make his case.

(via Missouri Department of Transportation)

Gov. Jay Nixon and House and Senate leaders are squabbling over how to approach Missouri's transportation needs.

Nixon, a Democrat, and some Republican lawmakers want to raise the state's fuel tax to help fund roads and bridges, but GOP leaders oppose tax hikes and want to shift state funding to transportation from other programs, including welfare.

Shell gas station
(via Flickr/dno1967b)

Legislation being considered by the Missouri Senate would raise the state's fuel tax to provide more money for roads and bridges.

If passed, Senate Bill 623 would raise the state's tax on gasoline by 1.5 cents a gallon, to 18.8 cents a gallon. It would also raise the state tax on diesel fuel by 3.5 cents a gallon, to 20.8 cents a gallon.

Construction on I-70
Missouri Department of Transportation

Even though transportation experts have been sounding the alarm for years, lawmakers and voters haven’t come to a definitive solution to get money funds for the state's roads and bridges. A bid to raise the state’s sales tax foundered badly in 2014, while initiatives to institute tollways have gone nowhere.

Dave Schatz
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome state Sen. Dave Schatz to the program for the first time.

Schatz is a Republican hailing from rural Franklin County. The Sullivan native’s state Senate district encompasses western St. Louis County and all of Franklin County.

Mapbox, OpenStreetMap

The first I-70 interchange west of the Missouri River is getting an $18 million update. Construction starts next spring to replace Fifth Street’s partial cloverleaf interchange with a diverging diamond.

It’s the latest project in a decade-long plan to improve the main corridor through the St. Louis region’s fastest growing county.

police car lights
Jason Rojas | Flickr

Law enforcement agencies on both sides of the Mississippi River are out in force this weekend to try and keep a deadly trend in check. Historically Labor Day weekend is one of the deadliest holidays to travel in both Missouri and Illinois.

(courtesy of Uber)

The longstanding fight for entrance into the St. Louis market by the app-based ride-share service Uber and its supporters came to a head this week with the company’s offer to provide St. Louisans with free rides for the Fourth of July weekend.

Found to be in critical shape, MoDOT closed the I-44 Outer Road bridge over the Gasconade River in Laclede County back in December due to deterioration.
Courtesy Missouri Department of Transportation

Thirty-eight bridges in the greater St. Louis area are just "a step or two from being closed" due to deterioration, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation.

They are among the nearly 600 bridges statewide that officials say are currently rated in poor to serious condition, but aren't funded in the state's five-year plan for improvements. 

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis area road crews are preparing for the first real snow storm of the year. The forecast is calling for four to eight inches to fall overnight, with another one to three inches expected on Monday.

According to Maggie Crane, spokeswoman for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, the St. Louis Streets Department began treating roads with brine Saturday and they were putting down another layer Sunday. Crane said snow plow crews are working 12-hour shifts.

Gov. Jay Nixon speaks during last year's State of the State address. The governor's speech comes amid heightened scrutiny of his actions during the Ferguson unrest and unprecedented GOP majorities in the Missouri General Assembly.
Tim Bommel, House Communications

When Gov. Jay Nixon steps in front of the lectern for his seventh State of the State speech, he’ll be speaking arguably at the lowest point of his power over the Missouri General Assembly. 

Any bit of his agenda that arouses even a hint of controversy can be slapped away by the huge Republican majorities in the House and Senate. And even some Democrats are upset over the way he handled the unrest in Ferguson. He has, in essence, entered the twilight of his governorship.

(via Flickr/KOMUnews)

Drivers traveling the I-70 corridor in Missouri could experience stop and go traffic by the year 2030 if the interstate is not expanded. That’s according to a new Missouri Department of Transportation report exploring the possibility of putting tolls on the interstate.

(via Flickr/KOMUnews)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is calling for state highway officials to examine the possibility of imposing tolls on parts of Interstate 70 – and to report back to him before the end of this month.

In a letter sent Tuesday, the governor told the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission that he wanted them to report by Dec. 31 on “analyzing and providing options for utilizing tolls to improve and expand I-70 and to free up resources for road and bridge projects throughout the state.”

Nixon noted that the newest parts of I-70 in Missouri “are 50 years old.”

Redoing the Grand Boulevard Bridge filled just one piece of the city's transportations needs. Derek AuBuchon was foreman of a crew that painted the bridge’s four metal towers.
Tom Nagel | File photo

I want to speak to city voters and to our friends. The rest of you should take this opportunity to check the Cardinals score.

The city of St. Louis has big plans over the next 10 years. I am talking about the kind of transportation system that befits a great city.

We want to create a major streetcar line centered downtown with a North-South and an East-West route.

Kristi Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

From horses, trolleys, trains and steamboats to bikes, cars, buses and planes, the ways St. Louisans get from place to place have undergone a lot of changes over the years. In years to come, even more transportation changes are inevitable.

As the administrator of federal transportation dollars, the East-West Gateway Council of Governments plays a big part in deciding what those changes will look like.

via Flickr/KOMUnews

The Missouri Senate has passed a proposed constitutional amendment to create a temporary sales tax to fund transportation needs around the state, but not before scaling it back.

via Flickr/KOMUnews

A proposed constitutional amendment to let voters decide if they want to create a temporary 1-cent transportation sales tax has received first-round approval in the Missouri House.

Flickr/Jeremy Noble

Missouri lawmakers are weighing what role bicycles should play in the future of transportation spending. 

A proposed constitutional amendment would raise the state sales tax by a penny to bridge any anticipated shortfalls over the next ten years. Most of the money would be for roads and bridges, but 10 percent could be earmarked by local governments for alternative forms of transportation including bicycle, air, rail, and pedestrian projects.

(via Flickr/denharsh)

UPDATE: Feb 25, 11 a.m.

The Metropolitan Taxicab Commission approved Carmel's application for the dispatch license. Seven members of the commission voted in favor of the license and one abstained.

ORIGINAL STORY:

A car service that dispatches its vehicles using a smartphone app could start operating in St. Louis as soon as this week.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Vice President Joe Biden declared here Wednesday that the best cure for the nation's economic ills was to step up the transportation and construction spending that made America great. 

(via Flickr/photohome_uk)

The "Complete Streets" legislation under consideration on the St. Louis County Council still faces plenty of roadblocks to final passage. One of the sponsors, Councilman Pat Dolan, D-Richmond Heights, held up the bill again last week, which he’s done since late November, and announced he wants to rewrite parts of it.

Dolan also said that he’s going to meet with groups affected by the bill and come back to the matter early next year.

(MoPIRG)

A new report suggests that Americans in urban areas are driving less.

The analysis of the 100 largest urban areas in the country by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group found that since 2000, fewer commuters are using cars to get to work. And in most cities, the use of public transportation has gone up (since 2005), and more people are biking to work or working from home (since 2000).

But, in St. Louis, the trend is less clear. Fewer workers are relying on cars, but the use of public transportation has also decreased.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

During a public meeting Monday night, several residents raised concerns about a proposed highway project that would stretch through parts of St. Louis City and County.

Called the South County Connector, the unfunded highway project has a more than $100 million price tag and would run from Hanley Road at Deer Creek Plaza to River Des Peres Boulevard.  

(via Flickr/Be.Futureproof)

It was a deadly holiday weekend for motorists in Missouri.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says 17 people were killed between 6 p.m. Wednesday and just before midnight today. An additional 157 people were injured, and state troopers arrested nearly 200 people in for driving while intoxicated. 

Both those numbers are significantly higher than last year's totals, but troopers only tallied 30 hours worth of data last year. This year's count was nearly three times as long.

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