Transportation | St. Louis Public Radio

Transportation

Gov. Mike Parson greets students at Ranken Technical College during a day-long tour of St. Louis on Sept. 7, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin joins Jason Rosenbaum to talk about Gov. Mike Parson’s decision to call a special session.

The GOP chief executive wants the legislature to pass two bills he vetoed dealing with expanding STEM education and drug courts. Unlike previous special sessions, lawmakers of both parties agree with the ideas — and could approve the new legislation in fairly short order.

From left, Clint Dougherty and SJ Morrison discussed the services of Madison County Transit and RideFinders Thursday with host Don Marsh.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

For many morning commuters, the Martin Luther King Bridge served as their connection to St. Louis from the metro-east; however, as of Aug. 27, the bridge is closed for 12 months.

“There are about 13,000 commuters who use the MLK Bridge to get to downtown St. Louis every day to work,” SJ Morrison said on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Smartphone-based GPS tracking systems allow people in the St. Louis area to locate, unlock and ride the scooters recently launched by rival companies Lime and Bird.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

“What is it – people just don’t want to walk anymore?”

That’s how host Don Marsh opened Tuesday’s lighthearted St. Louis on the Air conversation with the Riverfront Times’ Daniel Hill, who joined the show to discuss the many electric scooters that have recently appeared in St. Louis.

Hill, who responded by describing the new scooters from rival companies Lime and Bird as “clearly the future of walking,” recently ran a sizeable sample of the two-wheeled contraptions through “extensive tests,” as described in his investigation.

Experts say billions in a multi-year plan won't go far enough to address infrastructure repairs and upkeep.

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

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for 2019 could bring big infrastructure changes to Missouri, but local engineering and commerce experts say it could be hard for the state to compete for federal dollars.

The budget promises to “generate $1 trillion in infrastructure investment” by dedicating $200 billion over 10 years to projects like improving roads, expanding internet access in rural areas, and developing creative approaches to transit, energy, water and building. Of that, $100 billion would be awarded as competitive grants to states and local governments who pursue projects “demonstrating innovative approaches” to infrastructure.

An artist's rendition of what a solar roadway could look like.
Solar Roadways | http://bit.ly/29OOZKM

Updated Nov. 5, 2017 with a statement from Solar Roadways - The Idaho vendor that planned to work with the Missouri Department of Transportation on a solar road initiative is disappointed the pilot project did not work out. In an email, Scott Brusaw with Solar Roadways said it was a complicated contract.

AA Roads

While one legislative task force is touring the state to hear ideas about upgrading Missouri’s roads and bridges, another group of lawmakers is using an online survey to determine the best way to pay for it all.

Rep. Jeff Messenger, R-Republic, chairs the House Policy Development Caucus, which he said was formed to study “hard and difficult situations” in Missouri — including paying for transportation improvements.

Missouri Department of Transportation St. Charles County camera

Crumbling roads and old bridges have long been something lawmakers say they should work on.

Now, a task force created to study Missouri's transportation system will begin holding public meetings this week.

New Kingshighway Bridge opens to traffic

May 13, 2017
Amy Johnson and Dahlia Goldstein-Larocco, 7, do a yoga pose known as the bridge during the grand reopening of the Kingshighway Bridge May 13, 2017.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

One of the main routes connecting north and south St. Louis is open to traffic after two years of construction.

The Kingshighway Bridge just south of Interstate 44 closed in July 2015 so the 75-year-old structure could be rebuilt.

Commuters, residents and business owners celebrated the grand reopening Saturday by streaming across the bridge on foot, bicycle and golf cart before it opened to cars.

Companies like Uber say they employ cutting-edge technology to pick up riders and allow them to pay electronically.
File photo | Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio / Uber, MTC

Updated at 1:35 p.m. with bill passing — The three-year battle to get a ride-hailing bill to the governor’s desk is finally over.

The Missouri House overwhelmingly passed HB 130 on Thursday by a 144-7 vote, which would craft statewide regulations for Uber, Lyft and other app-based companies to operate anywhere in the state.

File photo

Patrick McKenna has begun his second year as director of the Missouri Department of Transportation, and he’s hoping for more understanding and results from Missouri lawmakers and Gov.-elect Eric Greitens.

Many of last year’s proposals to find more money for transportation went nowhere, including a bill to raise the state’s fuel tax and a ballot measure to raise cigarette taxes.  St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin sat down with McKenna to talk about why Missouri leaders and citizens can’t seem to agree on how to fund transportation.

A Nissan Leaf getting charged up in a parking lot.
Nissan

Motorists in Missouri will soon see new signs pointing to alternative fuel sources along interstate highways. The signage is part of a recently announced Federal Highway Administration effort to create 85,000 miles of alternative fuel corridors across the country.

The signs aim to ease "range anxiety," or motorists' worry that they will run out of fuel, for those who drive cars that run on electricity, propane, natural gas and hydrogen. The initiative could encourage such motorists to travel further.

Spporting the use of low-emission vehicles could help the nation reach its goal of cutting at least 80 percent of greenhouse gases by 2050, the FHA officials say.

(via Flickr/KOMUnews)

In Missouri, 27 percent of  carbon emissions are caused by the transportation sector, according to a national report. 

Local environmental advocates are using the findings by the nonprofit think tank, Frontier Group, to argue that providing more carbon-neutral transportation options could improve public health and safety. The report includes multiple policy recommendations to reduce transportation's impact on the environment, including incentives for consumers to purchase electric cars and creating more paths for pedestrians and bikers. 

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:

Republican Sen. Doug Libla, of Poplar Bluff, says he hasn't heard much about progress on the proposed steel and aluminum smelting plants in southeast Missouri.
File photo | 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.

Second Boone Bridge demolition rescheduled for Monday

Mar 2, 2016
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. 

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.

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