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October 29, 2018 3:30 PM, EDT

Missouri Measure Could Unclog Cargo Routes

Cargo Routes An Estes Express Truck on the Mississippi River Bridge on I-70 in St. Louis. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

A trucker who regularly drives throughout Missouri said Proposition D is an important step in easing freight movement on increasingly congested routes.

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Thomas Miller, a driver for Prime Inc., told Transport Topics that repairs to Interstate 70 and the north loop of I-270 to accommodate added capacity would help address the bottlenecks he encounters in the St. Louis area.

Cargo Routes

Miller

Miller said the large number of warehouses that line the Mississippi River makes St. Louis an important freight destination.

“[During] morning rush hours, especially I-70 and 270 coming into St. Louis, is an absolute nightmare,” he said.

Prime is based in Springfield, Mo., and ranks No. 18 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

MoDOT’s 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force recommended in January that I-70, which runs east-west, be widened to three lanes in each direction from two.

“Even I-70 from Kansas City to St. Louis, pretty much all the way, could benefit from an additional lane,” said Miller, who primarily hauls food products between those cities.

As for the ballot’s proposed hike in fuel taxes by 10 cents over 10 years, he said that would be preferable to other funding mechanisms such as tolling. (The current tax for diesel and gas is 17 cents per gallon.)

“I think that the fuel tax is probably the fairest way to go about it because everybody who drives has to buy fuel,” Miller said. “There’s most definitely a need for it here.”