The St. Louis Post Dispatch is reporting that Illinois and Missouri transportation officials have come to an agreement on the Mississippi River Bridge proposal. This time, unlike last week, I’m not joking. The paper says something official will be coming later this week. Word has it that the project will not utilize tolls. Unfortunately, it sounds like they are going to scale back the project to only 4 lanes instead of the originally intended 8.
I understand the need to watch the budget and reluctance to install tolls on the bridge, but I have to wonder if there wasn’t a way we could have used the original concept? Illinois officials have been bending over backwards to make this deal happen, but Missouri’s Transportation Director (or Dictator if you prefer) Pete Rahn has been fighting tooth and nail against it. Now we’re going to (probably) build a bridge that’s going to need to be updated in 10 years. What foresight.
I really don’t get why Missouri has been fighting so hard against the Illinois side of the metro area. The resurgence of East St. Louis and other near-east municipalities would be a major boon to the area. I have always believed that both sides of the river are just one side of the same coin. Much like Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas. Those learned to work more in tune with one another and their metro area is thriving because of it. Unfortunately our state officials seem to have failed to learn their lesson. One can only hope that Illinois has vision.
It will be interesting to see have this pans out this week. Check out the Post article yourself for more details.