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Funding For Road Construction Continues To Drop


State transportation officials will meet in Jefferson City later this week to approve road projects for the next four years, and as it has for several years, funding available for the St. Louis region continues to shrink.

In 2012, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) planned to spend about $400 million on projects in the St. Louis region. The current statewide constriction schedule, which goes from 2014 through 2017, budgets about $271 million. The funding reduction is driven by the expiration of a bonding program and declines in gas tax revenue.

MoDOT assistant district engineer, Bill Schnell, said the ongoing decline in revenue means most of the new projects are meant to keep existing roads and bridges in good condition.

"If that’s all we can do, that comes at the cost of economic development and safety and other issues that we can’t address like we should," he said. For example,  the state can only afford to study options to rebuild Interstate 270 in north St. Louis County, which is one of the oldest stretches of road it maintains.

"It is alarming that the revenue continues to decline because the expectations of what the public wants us to do continues to increase," Schnell said.

The schedule that could be approved includes work associated with the City-Arch-River 2015 project in downtown St. Louis and the final parts of the new Mississippi River bridge.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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