MoDOT’s St. Louis District has four counties and the City of St. Louis. Residents of Missouri’s St. Louis region enjoy an excellent quality of life with the cost of living far below the national average, and good access to excellent hospitals, educational institutions, cultural amenities and outdoor recreation. St. Louis, O’Fallon, St. Charles and St. Peters are the largest cities in the district. Leading industries include plant and medical sciences, advanced manufacturing, information technology, financial services, transportation and distribution. Nine Fortune 500 firms are headquartered in the region.
Freight moves by multiple transportation modes in the St. Louis District. Major area roads include I-44, I-55, I-64, I-70, I-170, I-255 and I-270 as well as US-40, US-50, US-61 and US-67. Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is the area’s largest airport and one of only two major commercial airports in the state. Major rail access is provided by Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Canadian National Railway, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific. St. Louis is the third largest rail hub in the nation. The Port of St. Louis is the busiest inland port in the United States. In addition to St. Louis, there is an active port in Jefferson County.
St. Louis District Insights
What are the most important issues, needs and concerns for freight movement in the St. Louis District? Here is what we have heard during listening sessions so far:
- St. Louis is challenged to compete as a freight hub and focus should be placed on developing opportunities for intermodal activities and international export. Stakeholders said transforming St. Louis to a major freight hub status is needed to grow the regional economy. While “St. Louis tends to be a pass-through,” there are opportunities to develop additional facilities, particularly as an alternate freight hub to Chicago, which is highly congested. Stakeholders would like the public to be better informed on how freight transportation infrastructure supports the economy and jobs.
- Congestion on I-70 and I-44 cause costly delays and some safety concerns.
- It is difficult to move freight from ports and airports directly to destinations. Better connectivity is needed between the freight modes. Stakeholders are concerned about the difficulty businesses have in making the “last mile connections.” This issue was recently been raised when trying to attract large economic development deals to the region.
- Air cargo facilities are available at Lambert Airport but they are dated and small.
- Deficient bridges in the district could cause costly delays and pose safety concerns for carriers.
- There is a shortage of available motor carriers and truck fleets as it is becoming increasing difficult to recruit drivers and provide their insurance, and many fleets have left St. Louis. These shortages are driving up costs to move freight on roadways.