MoDOT to release list of projects possible tax increase would go towards

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by Diana Zoga / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on May 22, 2014 at 9:03 PM

Updated Thursday, May 22 at 10:25 PM

(KMOV.com) - Ahead of a vote on a proposed sales tax hike, MoDOT said it will publish a list of projects so voters will know what they could be paying to build.  

The three fourths of a cent sales tax hike will be on the November ballot in Missouri.  If voters approve the measure, the hike would amount to an additional eight cents on a ten dollar purchase for the next ten years.  

The East-West Gateway Council of Governments' Transportation Planning Director said it would amount to about $1.2 billion for the St. Louis region which includes the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, and Franklin County.

"There's not one set of needs for the region.  We have exurban, suburban, and very urban areas here.  All the needs are different in those places.  Trying to balance off all those needs becomes a really challenge in this process," said Jerry Blair.

The council formed a committee, made up of representatives from across the region, to weigh in on a list the East-West Gateway Council of Governments plans to submit to MoDOT.  In turn, MoDOT will later publish a list for voters to read before the November vote.

St. Louis' 24th Ward Alderman Scott Ogilvie is on the committee and said the initial list does not include enough transit projects.   

The "high priority" projects that could get the most money include corridor improvements along I-70, new I-44 interchanges at Hampton Avenue, Kingshighway, Vandeventer, Grand and Jefferson, and improvements to the I-270 corridor from St. Charles Rock Road to Route H.

"If the tax passes:  this the first chance MoDOT will have had to invest in other modes of transportation and their high priority list is really just very focused on highways.  I think that's not what voters in St. Louis City and St. Louis County are asking for from MoDOT these days," said Ogilvie.

"We really have nothing to gain, at this point, from more highway expenditures.  I think we have a lot to gain, both city and county, from building a better public transportation network," Ogilvie added.

Some transit projects (including MetroLink station improvements and a new Bus Rapid Transit route) are listed under the "high priority" designation, but the estimated costs of those projects are significantly lower than highway proposals.  

The East West Gateway Council plans to narrow down the list of projects for its board  in June. Then, submit the list to MoDOT to publish it for voters late this summer.

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