Mayor Slay Announces Priority Projects for State-Proposed  3/4 Cent Transportation Sales Tax

43 priority transportation projects submitted for consideration.

June 2, 2014 | 2 min reading time

This article is 8 years old. It was published on June 2, 2014.

Mayor Francis Slay has submitted to the Missouri Department of Transportation a list of 43 priority transportation projects with a total estimated cost of $268.5 million to be funded over 10 years from a proposed 3/4 cent transportation sales tax Missouri voters will consider on the August 5, 2014 ballot.

The project list may be downloaded here.

"Supporting the sales tax was not an easy decision," Mayor Slay said. "The tax is regressive and will make our sales tax rate very high. On the other hand, we must invest in our infrastructure to make our City a better place to live and to compete in a global economy. The sales tax can be used for all modes of transportation. The gas tax has been and will continue to be limited to roads and bridges."

Mayor Slay used several principles to guide the selection of the City's transportation priorities:
  • First, he wants to make St. Louis a city where people can live, work and play without being dependent on a car, whether that is by choice or because they cannot afford a car.
  • Reducing emissions: the selection of the projects was guided by the Mayor's Sustainability Plan.
  • Making more of our neighborhoods more livable for everyone, including a focus on making sidewalks and streets accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Creating jobs: sometimes that means supporting old fashioned modes of transportation like barges and trucks to move goods.
  • Improving safety, including fixing deficient bridges.
  • Finally, the Mayor targeted areas of the City that have seen disinvestment for a long time.
The project list will be the basis for a Total Transportation Plan for the City, whether the sales tax passes or not. The list includes $72 million for Complete Streets, $67 million for transit, $66 million for roads and bridges, $27 million for bike and pedestrian transportation, and $4 million for a Total Transportation Center in the new police headquarters. The investment in roads and bridges is only 25 percent of the City's allotment.

"If approved, these projects would improve our quality of life, bolster our sustainability, make our City safer, improve the environment and our economy," Mayor Slay said.

In addition to the City's Sustainability Plan, the priority projects selection has been guided by East-West Gateway Counsel of Government's Ten Guiding Principles for Long-Range Transportation Plan, which include:
  1. Preserve and maintain the existing system
  2. Support public transportation
  3. Support neighborhoods and communities throughout the region
  4. Foster a vibrant downtown
  5. Provide more transportation choices
  6. Promote safety and security
  7. Support a diverse economy throughout the region
  8. Support quality job development
  9. Strengthen intermodal connections
  10. Link transportation planning to housing, environment, education and energy
The time frame for assembling the priority list was greatly compressed, in part because the terms of the proposed sales tax initiative were not decided by the Missouri General Assembly until May 14, 2014, and also because, on May 23, Governor Jay Nixon announced that the initiative will be placed on the August 5, 2014 ballot rather than November 7 ballot.

The City of St. Louis priority list now will be reviewed by MoDOT staff both for eligibility and cost estimates, with the final statewide list of projects to be presented by MoDOT for public comment before being taken up by the Missouri Highway Commission later this month.

The City of St. Louis believes that it would be entitled to approximately $255 million in project funding over 10 years. The City submitted extra projects. MoDOT will make cost estimates on all projects. If the cost of all of the projects ends up being less than $255 million, MoDOT will put the extra projects on its list.

Besides the $255 million, the City would get an additional $2.4 million per year in discretionary transportation funding out of municipal and county funds. Project lists are not required for that pot of money.

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