Midwestern DOTs Struggle to Keep Up With Forward-Thinking Residents
"The evolution of state and regional transportation agencies is painfully slow in places like Missouri and Ohio, where officials are plowing ahead with pricey highway projects conceived of decades ago. But plenty of Midwesterners have different ideas for the future of their communities, and they aren’t shy about speaking up," writes Angie Schmitt.
"One after another, residents of major Midwestern cities have challenged highway projects in recent months. People in Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Oklahoma City have reached the conclusion that spending hundreds of millions of dollars on road widenings might not be in their communities’ best interests."
"Now St. Louis has a highway battle on its hands," says Schmitt. "In many ways, this fight echoes the other protest movements. The South County Connector — like Cleveland’s “Opportunity Corridor” — is a 'zombie' highway project," she explains. "But again, a strong opposition movement is beginning to emerge. James White, mayor of Maplewood, one of the affected communities, described the project’s purpose this way: 'to shift one conflict traffic area to another location.'”