transportation

MoDOT

A panel created by the Missouri House to review the state's transportation needs met Monday in Columbia.

Most of the testimony heard by the Blue Ribbon Citizens Committee on Missouri's Transportation Needs centered on improving the state's highways, and whether those improvements should include a toll road -- be it I-70 or another major highway.  Bob Gilbert with the Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce told the panel that the state should also upgrade U.S. Highway 50.

Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

Crews building the new span across the Mississippi River north of downtown St. Louis have hit an important project milestone - the completion of the twin 400-foot towers. Within a week, workers will start stringing cables from the towers to support the 1,500-foot main span.

"This is great," said project manager Greg Horn with the Missouri Department of Transportation. "These towers were one of the big things we had to get done."

There's no easy part of the project this massive, Horn said, but crews are feeling a sense of relief.

J Wynia / Flickr

Last night the East-West Gateway Council of Governments wrapped up a series of open houses for Missouri residents who have questions about the agency’s $2 billion transportation plan.

Earlier this month the organization that oversees regional ground transportation projects released its funding report for the next three fiscal years.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Metro sees double-digit increase in bus passengers

St. Louis’ mass transit agency saw the biggest growth in bus ridership in the country during the first three months of the year.

St. Louis Public Radio

Construction at the UMSL South station will lengthen some commutes on Metro this weekend by 20-25 minutes.

MetroLink trains will run on a single track between the Wellston and North Hanley stations on Friday, causing 5-10 minute delays on the Red Line.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Citizen's committee wants to know what public wants in transportation

A series of statewide meetings designed to take the pulse of transit needs in Missouri kicks off in Chesterfield later today.

House Speaker Steven Tilley put together the Blue Ribbon Citizens Committee on Missouri Transportation Needs in early March. Tilley said in a statement that he wants to "start a conversation" to ensure that Missouri’s transit system fosters economic growth. Members include transportation, political, business and union leaders.

(via Flickr/KOMUnews)

It appears unlikely that Missouri lawmakers will pass any legislation this year that would turn Interstate Highway 70 into a toll road.

Senate Transportation Chairman Bill Stouffer (R, Napton) says the proposal has gotten a lot of negative feedback.

“We had excellent hearings this year, but it became very clear that until we raise the awareness of the public and the need in the public that we would be spinning our wheels to move any further," Stouffer said.

(via Flickr/binkle_28)

Updated 2:20 p.m.

Metro tweeted from their official account at 2:11 p.m. that "Fiber optic cable has been restored and MetroLink and trains resuming normal service."

Original Story:

Commuters who use MetroLink, listen up: a damaged fiber optic cable will add to your travel time today.

Metro Transit - St. Louis

Warmer weather, a sunnier economy, and higher gas prices are driving more riders to public transportation in St. Louis. Overall Metro ridership was up 8 percent in the last half of 2011 compared to the previous year. 

Dianne Williams is Metro's director of communications.

"Twenty-three million times someone stepped on a metro bus, a metro train, or a metro caller ride. That's up about 2 million boardings from the same period last year," Williams said.

(via Flickr/Matthew Black)

Starting next month, passengers who ride MetroLink or Metro buses will be be able to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables at certain transit centers.

The mass transit agency is partnering with the Sappington Farmers Market community program, Mobile Market, to sell locally-grown farm foods in areas where nearby residents have little or no access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

The stops are:

(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.

Bike commuters have a new home in downtown St. Louis

Apr 20, 2011
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.

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