St. Louis County looking at more MetroLink expansion -

St. Louis County looking at more MetroLink expansion

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St. Louis County is making a renewed push to explore the possibility of expanding the MetroLink.

Wednesday, County Executive Steve Stenger announced a plan for a $1 million study to examine expansion routes in the county.

“It's just to study it? I think that's a little much too just study,” said county resident Brittany Van Alnsick.

Most people are in support of an expansion of MetroLink but question how the county plans to ensure it actually happens.

“We're talking about years, so that's why it's important to start now,” explained Stenger, who announced his intentions to the East-West Gateway Council of Government, the body that would ultimately conduct the research.

Specifically, Stenger's hope is to look at three possible routes, the “Daniel Boone” which would run from Clayton to Westport, the MetroSouth which would go from Shrewsbury to Butler Hill Road, and the MetroNorth route which would take the train farther north from Lambert into Florissant.

“We're going to take public input and professional input and decide which of those routes will be studied, then study that route in greater detail,” explained Stenger. “There's a lot of studying going on but has to start somewhere.”

Several studies of MetroLink expansion have happened over the last decade, including in 2000, 2007 and 2010. Stenger says the routes the county wants to look at have not been studied to the same extent the Northside-Southside route has been.

D.J. Wilson, a spokesperson for East-West Gateway said this study is imperative if the region ever wants to see an expansion. Wilson says federal funding will be needed for any plan and studies are needed to gain a competitive advantage for the limited funding that's available.

Studies in the past have not yielded any furthering in the region's hope for improved public transit.

“The county is under new leadership now and we plan to move these studies forward,” said Stenger, in response to what makes this study any different.

The funding will come from a sales tax referendum passed in 2010 set aside for public transportation.

“As part of Prop A, expansion of the MetroLink line was promised and I think it's time that promise is fulfilled,” said Stenger.

Wilson says no matter what they discover during this study process, it is just the first stop for what could ultimately be a $1 billion project that takes years to complete.

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