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MO House approves plan for toll bridge across Miss. River

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By AP/KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri House Tuesday gave initial approval to legislation that would allow a toll bridge to be built across the Mississippi River at St. Louis.

The $900 million span would be paid for with both private and federal money. But the state of Missouri would own the bridge, even though little if any state money would help pay for it.

Private investors would be allowed to charge a toll for a limited time period in exchange for helping to pay for the bridge. But leaders in Illinois have long opposed the idea of a toll.

The legislation in Jefferson City still needs another vote in the House before going got to the Senate.

STATE OF TRANSPORTATION SPEECH

Also on Tuesday, the Missouri Senate voted 31-0 to do away with the requirement that the director of MO-DOT give a State of Transportation speech each year.

The measure now goes to the House.

Lawmakers three years ago made the speech a requirement as part of an effort to make the Missouri Department of Transportation more accountable to lawmakers and the public. Just months earlier, voters had rejected a $500 million transportation tax plan.

Several changes since then, including the acceleration of planned highway projects and approval of new ones, have led lawmakers to conclude the director's speech is no longer needed.

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