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Metro-East leaders want study of bridge options

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A copy of the letter sent to the East-West Gateway Council. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is the chairman of the council this year (KWMU photo)

By KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Top elected officials in the Metro-East are calling for an independent analysis of a proposed Mississippi River bridge, a move designed to jump-start talks that have stalled for more than a year.

Officials in Illinois and Missouri have disagreed about designs for the bridge and how to pay for it. Right now, there are two plans being pitched: A new bridge north of the Edward Jones Dome that might include tolls; and a 'coupler' bridge right next to the current MLK Bridge.

Now, St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern, Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan and Monroe County's Franklin Kohler say it's time for action.

The three wrote to the East-West Gateway Council, asking that the proposal for an independent review be placed on the agenda for this month's meeting. The council's executive director, Les Sterman, says that proposal has been placed on the group's September 27th agenda.

East-West Gateway is the governmental body that decides how local transportation money is spent.

Missouri has long contended it doesn't have the funds to pay its share of the bridge, and that tolls would be a way to make up the revenue. But officials in Illinois say they oppose tolls because residents in that state would end up paying the bulk of them.

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