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St. Louis to receive $33M in federal grant funds for infrastructure projects

  

St. Louis is expected to receive more than $33 million in federal grant funding for two infrastructure projects — the result of a bipartisan effort from Senator Roy Blunt and Congresswoman Cori Bush

The West Florissant Avenue Great Streets Project is set to transform a portion of West Florissant Avenue with new sidewalks and crosswalks, improved medians, and upgraded public transit stops. It will also include new lighting and trees, modified property access, and additional benches, bike racks, and trash receptacles. 

The project is billed as an effort to increase community development and improve economic conditions by making the area “a more desirable place to shop, socialize, travel, and live.” The project will receive $18.2 million in RAISE grant funding, administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

In addition, the Brickline Greenway Project is slated to receive $15 million in RAISE grant funding. This project would establish a greenway and connect neighborhoods with bike lanes and walking paths, opening up transportation options for St. Louis residents. The public/private partnership is led by Great Rivers Greenway. 

Bush, who is in her first term in Congress, said both projects were presented to her office shortly after she was elected. However, she said getting just one of the projects included in the RAISE grant program — much less both — could be difficult.

Bush said it was “surreal” they were able to get both projects included in her first year. 

“These are two projects that were immediately brought before us as projects where the stakeholders, community leaders, and elected officials had been working to try to get funding … and the federal dollars just weren’t happening,” Bush told The Missouri Times. “They made it very clear to us how much of a priority these projects were, so we made sure that we listened and that our office took the steps to figure out what it is we needed to do to help get these projects across.” 

St. Louis “has tried to secure funding for such a long time because making sure that people are safe when they travel — whether it’s on foot, by bike, by [public transit], by car — this will help ultimately save lives by prioritizing pedestrians,” Bush said, adding the projects will give youths, older individuals, and people with disabilities a greater ability to enjoy their communities. 

“Saving lives and getting the most for St. Louis is at the center of what we came to Congress to do. That starts with making our community as safe and accessible as possible,” Bush said. “When we talk about building a more equitable St. Louis, we’re talking about projects like these.”

Bush said she’s eyeing other transportation projects for her community as well, including improving signage on highways and ensuring roadways and sidewalks are conducive for travel for people with disabilities. 

“Investing in transportation infrastructure is one of the most important things we can do to create a stronger foundation for economic growth and improve the quality of life in local communities,” Blunt said in a statement. “The West Florissant Avenue Great Streets Project and the Brickline Greenway Project are great examples of how public-private partnerships can be leveraged to support improvements that will have a significant, long-term impact. From making St. Louis a more attractive place to start and grow a business, to connecting people with career and education opportunities and promoting travel and tourism, these investments will go a long way toward making St. Louis an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

“The Brickline Greenway will help make our city safer and more accessible while helping connect neighborhoods to exciting opportunities like the Cortex Innovation District and the Major League Soccer Stadium,” St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones said in a statement. “I appreciate Congresswoman Cori Bush and Senator Roy Blunt for working across party lines to deliver this important RAISE Grant to help move this project forward.” 

 “Working together really pays off,” St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page said. “We couldn’t be more grateful to Congresswoman Bush and Senator Blunt for their strong support of this important project.” 

Featured image: Congresswoman Cori Bush speaks at the site of the proposed Great Streets Project, emphasizing the need to correct years of disinvestment in the community that has resulted in challenges to public health, safety, and economic justice. (PROVIDED)