On St. Louis, Light Rail & Highway 40 Temporary Closure

Guest Blog by Tom Sullivan
On St. Louis, Light Rail & Highway 40 Temporary Closure

Goooo, Metro . . .
"Metro can play a huge role."

March 9, 2006

"The Highway 40 project offers a golden opportunity for Metro to prove its value. People might even forgive the $126 million cost overrun on the Cross County line if Metro can keep traffic moving."
-- St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial

December, 2006

Metro president Larry Salci asks the Missouri Legislature for $20 million, saying the transit agency could be of great help when part of Highway 40 is shut down -- but it needs additional funding to do so. The Legislature did not act on the request.

April, 2007

The East-West Gateway Council of Governments gives Metro $6 million in federal funds to add buses, mostly in west St. Louis County, to help during the Highway 40 project.

October, 2007

MoDOT says it will give Metro up to $3 million for additional riders that use Metro. "This is a key component in getting one third of vehicle trips during peak hours off our highway system during those peak hours," said MoDOT director Pete Rahn.
* * *
Metro launches a new website, www.dontgetstuck.org, devoted to providing tips and avoiding traffic jams during the Highway 40 reconstruction. "We know the I-64 reconstruction project and its ripple effect on other nearby roads and interstates are a major concern for the whole region, and we believe Metro can play a huge role in helping to address those concerns," said Patrick McLean, Metro Vice President of Marketing and Customer Service.

December 29, 2007

"Representatives of the Metro transportation agency will be at the center court of Chesterfield Mall from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today to provide information on using buses and MetroLink trains when part of Highway 40 closes."
-- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

January 3, 2008

"EMPTY SEATS: On one early morning bus, only a reporter was aboard."

"MetroLink trains run smoothly as a few passengers file on at the Clayton station on a frigid Wednesday morning. Transit traffic was light amid the closing of Highway 40 for reconstruction." (photo caption)

"But trains departing the Shrewsbury station were one-quarter full and appeared emptier than usual." (Note: A MetroLink train has 144 seats, so a quarter-full train is around 35 passengers.)

"Some Metro buses showed no signs that the shutdown was having an impact. On a 6:05 a.m. bus that left the Chesterfield Mall, going east to the Maplewood Metro station, only one passenger -- a Post-Dispatch reporter -- was on board."

-- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

(Note: The Shrewsbury MetroLink line will cost taxpayers about $1.1 billion when finance charges are figured in. Larry Salci said the extension "exceeded all expectations" for ridership.)

-- from Tom Sullivan, 1/03/08