9 reasons to oppose the Gateway Connector
----------------------------

IDOT's proposed Gateway Connector would drive through the heart of communities and farmland in Madison, St. Clair, and Monroe counties at a cost of more than a half-billion of your tax dollars.

 

Here are nine main reasons Stop158 believes the connector is a disaster:

 

It is not needed because the problems it proposes to fix do not and will not exist.

 

1. Traffic is not congested to the degree that four to six lanes are needed from the Jefferson Barracks Bridge to Troy.

Population trends

Year

St. Clair Co.

Tri-County

1960

262,509

502,705

1970

285,591

555,333

1980

267,531

535,339

1990

262,852

534,512

2000

256,082

542,642

Note 1: The high point in the three-county census was back in 1970, 35 years ago.  It has not reached that level since.

Note 2: In 40 years St. Clair County lost more than 6,000 population.  But the proposed outer-belt is based on a projected 25% increase.

Population has shifted, but the three counties have only a small net gain.

2. Left turn (center) lanes and improved intersections with long right and left turn lanes can be built at a fraction of the cost of an outer-belt with minimal negative impact and at selected locations.

 

3. Even IDOT's projected traffic volume is modest compared to congested areas west of St. Louis city.

 

It is not needed because the Connector would cause great problems.

 

4. "Build a road and they will come" is what contributes to urban sprawl and city decay.  St. Louis is notorious as one of the nation’s most sprawling metropolitan areas.  Build this road, and a great sucking sound will echo throughout already devitalized areas of Metro-East, causing even more abandonment.  Costs of sprawl include more roads, more schools, more services, fire departments that can no longer be volunteer, new water lines, sewers, and treatment plants; ground water problems; and more...yet communities that lose population the must support the same services.  Outer Belts such as the one proposed discourage redevelopment of the core and compound the sprawl and duplication of infrastructure.  

 

5. Local communities in Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair counties are attractive alternatives to St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County.  The metro area should offer options for urban, suburban, and country living.  Our children and our children’s children need these choices.

 

6. "Bigger is not better" when it comes to our communities, schools, governments, tax bases, and commercialization. 

 

7. Residents prefer a life style that is smaller, quieter, less congested, and more reflective of the unique character, culture, and heritage of our neighborhoods and communities.  We need to enhance the quality of life in neighborhoods that are under threat.  A vote against the Gateway Connector is a vote to preserve and strengthen the communities we enjoy today, and work toward restoring and revitalizing infrastructure and communities that have been weakened because of sprawl.

 

8. The counties are in violation of the national ambient air quality standards for ground level ozone.  Failure to comply with the standards could result in loss of federal highway funds and/or serious regulations on new and expanded industry.  An outer-belt would compound this problem because mobile sources (including cars, trucks, buses, airplanes, construction and agricultural equipment) are major sources of air pollution.  Nationwide, mobile sources account for some 75% of carbon monoxide pollution; in urban areas it may exceed 90%.  We need more public transportation (MetroLink in Madison County, for example; and a new Mississippi River bridge).  Metro-East adopted light rail with enthusiasm; it needs to be expanded, not cut back.  Spending half a billion on an outer-belt while reducing MetroLink schedules because of money shortage is outrageous and hazardous both to your health and pocket book.

 

It is not needed because the voting taxpayers do not want it and will not pay for it.

 

9. To pay $500,000,000 or more to build something that will adversely affect our communities, when so much of Metro-East is desperate for revitalization, is more than foolish.  To spend millions more to maintain it forever is idiocy.  To do this on the advice of politicians who brought us Mid-America Airport to solve air transport problems is more than foolish.  We believe the Gateway Connector is another scheme for IDOT to purchase land at low prices, dislocate and uproot lives and families to satisfy a political agenda that would benefit a few at the expense of many.