A key ingredient of Transportation Director Pete Rahn’s State of Transportation Address, delivered to a joint session of the Legislature, is a call for the building of a new Mississippi River bridge at St. Louis. Rahn says a new bridge linking Missouri with Illinois is critical to the long-term economic health of the St. Louis region. But he realizes finding adequate funding for this new bridge will not be an easy task.

The cost of building and maintaining this bridge would be borne by both states. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich wants the new bridge to be free, while Governor Blunt prefers a toll bridge, saying Missouri does not have the money to pay for its share of the project. Rahn says Missouri needs to come up with an innovative approach to pay for its share, and he believes a public-private partnership.

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