Friday, March 22, 2024

Hwy 70 Promises - Kingdom City Exit Isn't A Priority

Without going into details or timelines on how we got here, I'm going to start this post by saying I applaud the expansion of Hwy 70 in Missouri, it is way overdue. Every Missourian has wanted Hwy 70 expanded for a very long time but simply were not willing to pay for it by approving any new gas tax. We did that once, decades ago and the promise was not delivered. Fool me once... So every time a gas tax increase shows up on the ballot from time time, with and without the promise of enhancing Hwy 70, voters would always say no. The vote has never been close.

But our Republican lawmakers have long established that the voters wishes are not to be taken seriously. By effectively getting away with NOT expanding Medicaid, despite a majority vote by the population to do so, they quickly followed by passing an increase to the gas tax themselves.

Republicans, as their name implies, never tire of stating that the U.S. is a Republic, not a Democracy. While it is true we are a Republic (representative style governments) we are ALSO a Democracy. The two terms are NOT mutually exclusive. Whenever you show up at the polls and vote on whether or not to increase your local taxes, or some proposition for change, a simple majority is all that is needed to decide. The only representation required for a ballot initiatives such as this is the VOTER themselves and THAT is pure Democracy. Think of it this way, all Republics are Democracies, but not all Democracies are Republics (just ask a Canadian).

But no matter how we got here, the Highway 70 expansion to three lanes and more is happening so let's start taking a look at what is being done actually, and more importantly, what is NOT being done. MODOT has a new "flyover" video rendering of currently approved improvements to Hwy 70 and ....oh look, it's all in Columbia. Oh, and look, some of the work is not even on Hwy 70, but nearby interchanges.

I understand the 70 interchanges in Columbia very much needs to be a part of the overall improvements but what about Kingdom City, Exit 148? This exit is THE interchange for Hwy 54 getting to the Lake of the Ozarks from the east. On major holidays traffic is often bad enough that one of the two lanes of Hwy 70 is backed up for MILES. Are we saving this desperate problem area for last or something? The video shows MODOT is proposing to add a third lane starting at Kingdom City to Columbia.

It appears our collective woes of traveling to the Lake from St. Louis will continue for years to come.