(Manu Bhandar/KOMU)

Gov. Jay Nixon says voters should decide whether to install tolls along Interstate 70, though he would not say if he supports the idea.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

More than $44 million in federal transportation money is headed to Illinois for two projects in the Chicago area and one in Alton in southern Illinois.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is to announce the funding Thursday at a Chicago "L" station with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. It's part of more than a half-billion dollars in federal transportation funding for 46 projects in 33 states.

(via Flickr/Senator McCaskill)

Two U.S. senators are proposing legislation to cut payroll taxes, boost transportation funding and restrict regulation.

Missouri Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill and Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, on Tuesday announced their proposed legislation.

The federal lawmakers say the legislation will boost jobs. They also called it an example of what bipartisanship can produce.

(via Flickr/Senator McCaskill)

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. has proposed shifting money from development in Afghanistan to roads and bridges in the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Defense pays for projects through the Commanders' Emergency Response Program and the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt took to the Senate floor today to speak out against President Barack Obama’s proposed transportation measure.

Obama has been pressing Congress to pass the transportation part of his stalled jobs bill that provides $50 million for roads and bridges.

The Senate is expected to vote today on whether to take up the measure. Blunt says the bill is a waste of time and will not pass.

(via Flickr/lordsutch)

A Democratic Congressman from Missouri has proposed giving transit agencies across the country more flexibility in how they spend federal transit dollars.

Rep. Russ Carnahan says despite millions of dollars from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (better known as the stimulus bill), more than 85 percent of transit systems across the country had to cut service, raise fares, or both - even as more and more people came to rely on transit.

That, Carnahan says, is because the federal money has to go toward capital purchases like new buses.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Calling it a "matter of survival" for his agency, Missouri Department of Transportation director Kevin Keith unveiled a five-year restructuring plan this morning that will eliminate 1,200 jobs, close 135 facilities, and sell more than 740 pieces of equipment.

Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

The City of St. Louis has taken steps to become friendlier for bike commuters.

The new downtown St. Louis Bike Station opens on Thursday.  The project was funded through a $180,000 grant from the Department of Energy.

The project is currently administered through the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis but will eventually be handed off to Trailnet.

Maggie Campbell is the President of the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis.  She says the site will offer a full range of services for bike commuters.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. announced today that St. Louis has been awarded a $4 million federal grant for public transportation upgrades.

The money will be provided jointly by the Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration, according to a press release from McCaskill's office. 

So, how will St. Louis use the money?

The release states that the grants will be used to aid in the replacement of up to 12 buses in the Metro's current bus fleet.

(via Flickr/Cast a Line)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Luke Runyon used in this report.

School officials say Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's decision to slash school transportation spending could hurt instruction, even though he wants to increase the amount the state spends per pupil.

The budget Quinn unveiled in Springfield yesterday cuts $95 million from the state school busing fund.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has released an additional $10 million withheld from school bus funding for Missouri's public schools this year.

Nixon initially ordered $70 million withheld from K-12 transportation funding, citing dwindling revenues.

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

  • According to the St. Louis  Post- Dispatch, incoming Missouri speaker of the House Steve Tilley says he may refuse to seat a new representative from Kansas City because of allegations of voter fraud in the Democratic primary. Such a move is allowed under Missouri law, but is rare. The Post-Dispatch reports that Tilley was presented this month with a nearly 100 page document alleging widespread voter fraud from failed Democrat candidate Will Royster, who lost he primary in the 40th legislative district to John J. Rizzo by a single vote. Rizzo went on to win the general election against a Libertarian candidate. Tilley's move would cast a light on a a topic Republicans in Missouri have been pushing unsuccessfully for several years; the concept of requiring every voter to present a photo ID when voting. Rizzo called Royster's complaints "sour grapes."
  • Suburban St. Louis police have released a 911 call placed from the home of former Anheuser-Busch CEO August Busch IV earlier this month. A Busch employee called to report a woman who was "just not waking up " and who was later found dead at the home. She's been identified as 27-year-old Adrienne Martin. The cause of death has not been released. Frontenac Police Chief Thomas Becker also said Busch was at home at the time. Busch's lawyer has said there was nothing suspicious about the death.
  • Missouri lawmakers are again seeking ideas from the public for restructuring state government to cut costs. Las year, the Senate took a rare break from formal floor debates to consider ideas for restructuring stat government that were submitted by Missourians. Republican Senate leader Rob Mayer says he plans to do it again in the first weeks of the annual legislative session that starts next month. Mayer, of Dexter, says lawmakers need to consider any idea about how to cut spending. Ideas can be submitted anonymously online at a Senate Web page on rebooting state government.
  • 2011 will see some major work on the Eads Bridge over the Mississippi River. Metro, which owns the bridge, says time and weather have deteriorated the 136-year-old structure. Metro President John Nations says the agency will use $24.5 million in federal stimulus funds to replace and repair structural elements on the bridge, as well as apply a protective coating on the steel.

"We'll also be doing some improvements to our tracks in that area to also enhance our system. So it's going to be a big project and the region, I know, is interested in it. I actually get asked about it a lot simply because the Eads Bridge is such a big symbol for this region and for the Midwest. " - Nations

Nations says the road on the top deck of the Eads will have to be closed for two to three months while the work on the bridge takes place.

(Vicky Hartzler for Congress)

Fresh off the midterm elections last month, new Missouri Congress members Republicans Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long have been assigned to committees dealing with defense, agriculture and transportation issues.