More Sprawl, but also Transit, Arch Funding in Regional Transportation Planning Document

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Page Avenue Extension

The East-West Gateway Council of Governments draft Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) document for fiscal years 2012-2015 has been released. It's much more important than it sounds. Want to get a road repaved? A bridge built? A land added to that highway you drive everyday? It has to be on the TIP. So what's here? A total of $797M in transportation spending.

Two big projects will continue to feed sprawl into St. Charles County and western St. Louis County. Phase III of the Page Avenue Extension is set to receive $71M and a new span of the Missouri River, replacing the westbound Boone Bridge span at a cost of $123M. Other projects include the resurfacing of Wydown Boulevard in Clayton at $3.7M, $11M to create HOV and BRT lanes "on various routes in St. Louis County." There's also a total of $81M for two projects related to the Poplar Street Bridge, I-64 interchange and I-70 "improvements related to Jefferson National Expansion Memorial", the Arch. Both are labeled as "preservation" projects. Is this how funding for the $578M Arch grounds plan begins?

While funding is spread far and wide, this is the region's transportation funding plan after all, more is planned to be spent on adding capacity than preserving existing infrastructure and operational and safety spending combined. And this is happening as we begin to better understand that our existing highway infrastructure is overbuilt and MoDOT faces a crisis as funding highway construction projects will fall by $600M.

Spending to add capacity often involves large one-time outlays and the future budget constraints have MoDOT stating that nearly all money will go toward preserving existing infrastructure. How much of a burden will current capacity adding projects place on future preservation efforts? This seems to be an issue that the state and region continue to fail to grasp. There's a lot of information in the 316-page draft TIP document. Take a look, what stands out to you?

East-West Gatway TIP

East-West Gatway TIP

STL Region Transportation Improvement Program FY12-15_Draft

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  • Mark

    Does this mean the pot holes will keep getting bigger?  Maybe that’s what the SUVs are for.

  • tpekren

    Yes, Page Ave phase III is adding capacity just as is St. Louis County wishes to have Hwy 141 a ring belt around I270 for its entirety.  However, Westbound Daniel Boone bridge is plus seventy years old and is approaching 8 decades.  This bridge, while the new one will be wider, is not capacity expansion in my opinion and hopefully they money will funnel to it well before anymore lane miles are added to either Page Ave or Hwy 141.

    Curious statement about the TIP finding its way to support Arch Grounds. 

    • Alex Ihnen

      East-West Gateway defines the Boone Bridge project as increasing capacity. Lanes will be wider and an additional lane is being added to one side.

  • Douglas Duckworth

    “Why do we continue to promote sprawl?”  Because politicians in St. Charles and St. Louis County lobby for it.  

  • Zun1026

    Why do we continue to promote sprawl? We had, have and will have budget issues, yet we spend money on projects that further prevent us from closing the gap. We also fund projects that contribute to flooding, air pollution and health issues. Are we maintaining the dangerous status quo? Some will argue that we are moving forward because of the transit investment, but really, that won’t even balance the problems caused by some of these other expansion projects. 

  • IDOT may be worse than MoDOT from the standpoint of sustainability. They’ve been spending just as much on adding capacity as maintaining what they’ve got for years. From the Draft Long Range Transportation Plan, IDOT plans to spend $710m adding lanes to I-270 and $725m relocating I-70 and $455m relocating Route 3 per the MRB ultimate plan.