About the research
The purpose of the St. Louis Freight Development Plan project is to investigate the economic and environmental effects of various freight-related projects around the St. Louis area. This is in collaboration with Bi-State Development, which seeks to prioritize and quantify the impacts of potential freight development projects in the region. All findings are intended to supplement a grant proposal by Bi-State Development asking for federal funds to invest in these projects. If awarded, the grant will allow organizations around St. Louis to improve and construct infrastructure that will enhance the capacity for St. Louis to deal with the flow of freight moving through the city.
As demand for freight increases nationwide, these projects also poise St. Louis to become a crucial transportation center that could absorb the overflow of freight traffic from competing cities such as Chicago and Kansas City. Enhancing freight lines has the potential to not only benefit producers and consumers across the country, it would also generate economic benefits for the St. Louis region in the form of job creation and attracting more businesses to the metropolitan area.
Economic effects will largely stem from the increased capacity to deal with freight and the potential jobs that will be created to handle the influx, as well as the businesses that might enter the St. Louis area as a result. Moreover, environmental effects are quantified largely through emissions reductions and habitat loss. Considering the fuel efficiency of barge and rail freight compared to that of trucks, any expansion of the former translates into fewer emissions per ton-mile as freight transport substitutes toward the cheaper, more fuel-efficient modes. Similarly, the projects also seek to improve road conditions, which will increase truck speed and reduce overall delays that also equate into higher environmental costs. Overall, the projects are expected to generate a net positive benefit for the St. Louis region.
Bi-State Development Agency
Midwest Transportation Center
Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis
Contract Number: DTRT13-G-UTC37