I learned today that the Missouri Department of Transportation will add $17 million for the Tucker bridge replacement to its list of federal stimulus-funded projects in the City of St. Louis.
I am glad that someone at MoDOT watches television and reads newspapers. This is a positive step that will be very important for city residents.
But my underlying objection has not changed.
The stimulus program was proposed by President Barack Obama and approved by Congress for a clear and specific purpose. The money is supposed to go for projects that will create jobs - with priority given to projects in economically distressed areas. It is a very good idea.
Even with today’s new announcement, however, it remains highly unlikely the City of St. Louis or the St. Louis region will get what is fair - or, even, required - from this source of revenue.
This is a concern to me - and to the other executives in the region.
Going forward, we will be watching. We will speak out when we think the people of the region are short-changed. That vigilance will be even stronger when the state of Missouri brings forward a new transportation plan in the next few years.
Our message will be a simple one: the St. Louis region is the state’s biggest job and revenue producers. The St. Louis region pays 51 percent of the federal income taxes collected in the state of Missouri. Investing in St. Louis’ infrastructure will pay dividends for the state.
It is my hope that, eventually, that fact will be clearer to more decision-makers.