June 13, 2014

MoDOT offers priority list ahead of sales tax vote

A new Broadway Bridge and a wider highway to St. Louis are among the projects listed if voters approve a 10-year, 3/4-cent sales tax.

A new Broadway Bridge in Kansas City and a wider highway to St. Louis are among the projects on the priority list if Missouri voters approve a transportation sales tax increase in August.

The Missouri Department of Transportation on Friday released a draft list of $4.8 billion worth of projects that could be funded over the 10-year life of the proposed 3/4-cent tax increase. The agency is taking comments through July 3 and the transportation commission is expected to finalize the list on July 9.

The list gets down to sidewalk improvements for Laclede’s Landing in St. Louis and hangar improvements at Springfield-Branson National Airport.

The biggest carrot being waved before Kansas City is a new U.S. 169 bridge over the Missouri River. That would also include improved connections between the Broadway Bridge and Interstates 70 and 35 at Sixth Street.

Not to alarm the 50,000-60,000 drivers who use the 1956 bridge every day, but its steel trusses are deteriorating. Still, it could be fixed for a fraction of the cost of building a new one.

But the real enticement for voters is the prospect of a six-lane Interstate 70 (three in each direction) from Independence to Wentzville. That would greatly reduce stress on what is now a white-knuckle drive between Missouri’s two biggest cities.

You can see the entire statewide list of priorities here and express your comments here.

The sales tax increase would not apply to medicine, groceries or gasoline and the state promises there will be no fuel tax increase or toll roads during the 10-year life of the tax.

Election day is Aug. 5.

Here are 40 more reasons to avoid having your car towed in Kansas City: the city is raising the cost of getting your heap out of the tow lot by $40 beginning July 1.

That means a regular tow will cost $240. Medium tows will go to $340 and heavy tows will be $415.

The city’s announcement said the hikes are to accommodate increasing operating costs. (Because you know the overhead at a tow lot is brutal.)

“The increased fees will allow the Neighborhoods and Housing Services Department to continue to administer a fiscally sound operation,” the city said.

Odds and ends:

Westbound I-70 between Interstate 435 and U.S. 40 will lose two lanes from 8 p.m. Friday to 5 p.m. Saturday for bridge deck repairs. That will also close the ramp from Manchester Trafficway to westbound I-70.

And in Clay County, it will no longer be legal to turn left from Missouri 291 to westbound 105th Street beginning Monday. That is the back entrance to North Star Village. You’ll have to go on up to 108th Street.

The new rule comes after a road safety audit.

“Law enforcement is supportive of this change and committed to enforcing this location,” MoDOT said.

To reach Matt Campbell call 816-234-4902 or send email to mcampbell@kcstar.com Follow on Twitter @MattCampbellKC

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