The St. Louis Regional Freightway, the region’s freight district that officially launched last week, is developing a framework for bolstering and better promoting St. Louis’ freight industry, including pushing for hundreds of millions of dollars of infrastructure projects.
Officials say the region needs to do a better job of telling people what it has to offer. Mary Lamie, executive director of Freightway, argues that other cities have aggressive marketing campaigns, and higher rates of freight growth.
Priority items on the infrastructure project list include replacing the 126-year-old Merchants railroad bridge over the Mississippi River, widening Interstate 270 to six lanes and replacing its bridge over the Mississippi with a six-lane span.
Federal grants already are being sought for some of this work, including $75 million for a new Merchants bridge, $5 million for a freight study to be conducted by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments and $30 million for the Interstate 270 work.
But getting funding to pay for hundreds of millions of dollars in road and bridge work to help move that freight — upgrades that appeal to shippers — could be a significant challenge, given strong national competition for federal money to help fund such projects.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch