Urban Donors

According to the Brookings Institution more than 10 years ago:

The distribution of the gas tax within some states appears to penalize cities and urban areas. In several states [Missouri], urban areas act as “donor regions.” These areas contribute significantly more in tax receipts than they receive in allocations from their state’s highway fund or through direct local transfers.” The Brookings Institution Series on Transportation Reform, 2003

Since this report, the other states have corrected this inequity. But not Missouri.


Urban Definition & Expenditures

Per MoDOT and the Federal Highway Administration, "Urban" includes towns with 5,000 people or more:

‘Major Urban’ Area has a population of 50,000 people or more.

‘Small Urban’ Area has a population of 5,000 – 49,999. 


More than HALF (52%) of the funds were spent where less than a third (31%) of the people live.


Underserving Most of the People in the State

By underfunding Suburbs & Cities MoDOT is not serving most of the people in the state.  The Suburbs & Cities have 57% of Missouri’s population, yet only received 34% of the funds. Also MoDOT reports that every class of urban road is in a worse condition than every class of rural road.

MoDOT's 10-Year Bridge Construction Was Not Based on Use or Need  

  • Majority of bridges built over 10 years were Rural (72%)                         
  • Yet the majority of traffic on bridges still requiring repair is Urban (75%)

    Limited Transit = High Infant Mortality

A lack of access to public transit = High Infant Mortality. Inadequate public transit limits access to:

  • Prenatal care,
  • Jobs,
  • Education,
  • Healthy food options…

 “In some [St. Louis] neighborhoods, the infant mortality rates exceed that of Third World countries…” Missouri has a high infant mortality accross the state… Most states subsidize transit with 15-20% of gas taxes. Missouri provides ZERO.

*Source: “New initiative is targeting high infant mortality,” Post-Dispatch article, 10/15/15

The Future: MoDOT Plans to Continue Underfunding Kansas City ($245 million) and St. Louis ($123 million).

St. Louis Area Pays Half (51%) of Gas Taxes - Yet receives less than a quarter (23%) for locally owned streets and bridges.

The St. Louis area includes St. Louis County, St. Charles, St. Louis City, Jefferson, and Franklin Counties.

St. Louis Area's Bad Bridges - Both Local & MoDOT Owned

  • MoDOT has 641 critical bridges which would take $820+ million to replace in 2015 (http://www.modot.org/Bridges/).
  • Local governments are responsible for 3,100+ critical bridges with repair costs of $798 million – 56% in the St Louis area. (http://www.modot.org/business/lpa/BridgeEligibilityListing.htm).
  • Of heavily traveled critical bridges with Federal Funding:
  • MoDOT has 34.
  • Local governments own 266 with a repair cost of $409 million – 71% in the St. Louis area.

Every class of rural road is in a better condition than the same class of urban road per MoDOT.

Unexpected Stimulus Funds Didn't Change Rural Emphasis

Remember: the first Stimulus project in the nation? It was MoDOT’s new $9 million bridge to save 38 families in Tuscumbia a 20 minute trip. Yet, MoDOT delayed the Stan Musial Bridge for years. They wanted it to be a toll bridge. It took St. Louis Congressmen and the Illinois DOT to change their position. MoDOT tends to direct the majority of our taxes to where very few people travel.


Listen to the interview with the then MoDOT Director Pete Rahn by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Editorial Board regarding federal stimulus projects.



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