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Readers: Do Not Ease Future Emissions & Fuel Economy Regulations

May 3, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy, Transportation Comments Off on Readers: Do Not Ease Future Emissions & Fuel Economy Regulations

Our vehicles are getting bigger, but they use less fuel than just a few years ago. How is this possible? Because of fuel economy regulations manufacturers are making cars lighter, engines more efficient.

Though cars shrank in the 70s & 80s, they’ve been growing again:

Technological progress in the automobile has come with certain tradeoffs, one being an increase in size. Perhaps cars have inflated in size to better fit their occupants. Anyone who’s ridden three across in the back seat of a 1990s compact knows what we’re talking about. Safety standards and packaging even more airbags into each car have also contributed to the growth of the modern automobile.

The EPA places cars into specific size classes from minicompact (less than 85 cubic feet) to large (120 or more cubic feet) based on the combination of passenger and cargo volume. In the interest of consistency, all volume figures quoted are from the EPA. (Motor Trend)

Our 2007 Honda Civic is a prime example. A new Civic has more interior volume yet has a higher fuel rating from the EPA:

In the last decade the Civic has grown from a subcompact to a midsize, yet the fuel economy has increased. Source: fuel economy.gov

The even larger 2017 Honda Accord has a higher EPA rating than our 10 year-old Civic. The “small” 2017 Honda Fit has more interior volume that our Civic — also more than a 1992 Accord!  Better fuel economy too — 22 combined for the ’92 Accord but 36 for the new Fit. Worldwide regulations have pushed manufacturers to make cars better.


In March President Trump expressed an interest in slowing down coming regulations:

Originally, regulators mandated that automakers achieve an average 54.5 mpg by 2025, but they relaxed that target to between 50.8 mpg and 52.6 mpg last year. Now, automakers will have more time to fight the standards, as the review process could take about a year.

The review is not set to impact California’s right to impose fuel economy rules that are stricter than federal standards, a White House official told Reuters. However, the official wouldn’t rule out the possibility of that changing in the future. (Motor Trend)

A proposed budget would render any review mute — from last month:

The Trump administration would virtually eliminate federal funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget for vehicle emissions and fuel economy testing but will seek to raise fees on industry to pay for some testing, a government document shows.

The cuts would slash by more than half the staff of the EPA department that conducts vehicle, engine, and fuel testing to verify emissions standards are met and mileage stickers are accurate. Its work helped lead to Volkswagen AG’s (VOWG_p.DE) 2015 admission that it violated vehicle emissions rules for years. (Reuters)


California isn’t backing down on emissions regulations to cut smog, from March:

California will move forward with vehicle pollution targets set forth by the Obama administration, despite a move by current President Donald Trump to put those targets on hold.

On Friday, the California Air Resources Board voted to uphold Obama’s stricter emissions rules for the state. It also established a target for 15 percent of new vehicles to be powered by battery, fuel cell, or plug-in hybrid powertrains by 2025, up from about 3 percent today. The rules are part of CARB’s larger plan to bring greenhouse gas emissions down to 1990 levels by 2030. (Motor Trend)

Don’t be surprised if the Trump administration tries to take away California’s right to set their own auto emissions standards.

Most of those who voted in the most recent non-scientific Sunday Poll agree regulations shouldn’t be eased:

Q: Agree or disagree: With falling gas prices & buyer preference for bigger vehicles, upcoming stricter emissions/fuel economy regs should be relaxed

  • Strongly agree 2 [5.56%]
  • Agree 3 [8.33%]
  • Somewhat agree 0 [0%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree 1 [2.78%]
  • Disagree 4 [11.11%]
  • Strongly disagree 26 [72.22%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]





St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills 4/28/2017 (#2-#8)

April 28, 2017 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills 4/28/2017 (#2-#8)
St. Louis City Hall
St. Louis City Hall

The following are the first seven (7) board bills, being introduced today, in the 2017-2018 session of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen:

  • B.B.#2 – Davis –An ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing (i) the issuance by the City of its Airport Revenue Refunding bonds, St. Louis Lambert International Airport, in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed two hundred forty million dollars ($240,000,000) in one or more series to effect the refunding of a portion of the City’s outstanding Airport Revenue Bonds; (ii) the issuance by the City of its Airport Revenue Bonds, St. Louis Lambert International Airport, in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed seventy million dollars ($70,000,000) in one or more series as part of the $3,500,000,000 of bonds approved by the voters in 1991 and 2003; and containing a severability clause and an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#3 – Roddy –An ordinance authorizing and directing the Mayor and Comptroller to execute, upon receipt of and in consideration of the sum of One Thousand Two Hundred Dollars and other good and valuable consideration, a Quit Claim Deed to remise, release and forever quit?claim unto FOPA Partners, certain City?owned property located in City Block 2198, which property is known by address as 3699 Market St.
  • B.B.#4 – Ogilvie –An Ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission on February 1, 2017, to change the zoning of property as indicated on the District Map, from “B” Two?Family Dwelling District and “J” Industrial District to the “G” Local Commercial and Office District in City Block 4616 (6510 Mitchell Avenue); and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#5 – Coatar –An Ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission pertaining to the Zoning Code; repealing Section Three of Ordinance 62588, pertaining to the “A” Single Family Dwelling District, and enacting a new Chapter in lieu thereof; and amending, in part, Section Twenty?One of Ordinance 59979, pertaining to conditional uses, and enacting in lieu thereof a new section on the same subject matter; repealing Section Two of Ordinance 67607, pertaining to the “H” Area Commercial District, and a enacting in lieu thereof a new Chapter on the subject matter; containing a severability clause and an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#6 – Flowers –An Ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission on March 13, 2017, to change the zoning of property as indicated on the District Map and in City Block 9121, from “A” Single?Family Dwelling District to the “H” Area Commercial District, at 11050 and 11110?80 Riverview Drive, aka 11110R, 11110?80 & 11192 Riverview Drive; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#7 – Flowers –An ordinance pertaining to Special Use Districts; establishing The Lighthouse Area Special Use District; providing definitions and findings pertaining to said District; further providing use and conditional use regulations for said District; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#8 – Cohn –An ordinance repealing Ordinance 68830, and approving the petition to establish the Dutchtown Community Improvement District, authorizing the district to impose special assessments and retail sales tax, finding a public purpose for the establishment of the Dutchtown Community Improvement District, and containing a severability clause.

Today’s agenda is here. The meeting begins at 10am, it can be watched online here. Board Bill #1 is reserved for the budget.

— Steve Patterson


Readers: Missouri Should Not Close Rest Areas

April 26, 2017 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy, Transportation Comments Off on Readers: Missouri Should Not Close Rest Areas

A majority of those who voted in the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll think Missouri shouldn’t close interstate rest areas as a way to close budget shortfalls.

Florida, Michigan, Ohio and South Dakota are among the states that have closed traditional rest stops in the last two years. And a battle is brewing in Connecticut over a proposal to shut down all seven stops on its interstate highways to save money. (USA Today)

I’m not aware of any plans in Missouri to do the same as these other states

Route 66-themed Welcome Center on I-44, click image for more information

I know I like rest areas when I’ve driving — a restroom without having to buy something. Those few minutes out of the car improves my alertness.

The poll results:

Q: Agree or disagree: Missouri should NOT provide rest areas along our interstate highways

  • Strongly agree 3 [5.17%]
  • ]Agree 5 [8.62%]
  • Somewhat agree 2 [3.45%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree 3 [5.17%]
  • Disagree 11 [18.97%]
  • Strongly disagree 34 [58.62%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

I am curious about the cost of a rest area vs a welcome center.

— Steve Patterson




Sunday Poll: Should Missouri Close Interstate Rest Areas?

April 23, 2017 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll, Transportation Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Missouri Close Interstate Rest Areas?
Please vote below

Missouri has low fuel taxes and the legislature is unwilling to increase it. Maintenance needs remain. Some states in this situation have opted to closer rest areas:

For more than half a century, old-fashioned, no-frills highway rest stops have welcomed motorists looking for a break from the road, a bathroom or a picnic table where they can eat lunch.

But in some states, these roadside areas are disappearing.

Cash-strapped transportation agencies are shuttering the old ones to save money, or because they don’t attract enough traffic or are in such bad shape that renovating them is too costly. Or, the stops have been overtaken by tourist information centers, service plazas that take in revenue from gasoline and food sales, or commercial strips off interstate exits. (USA Today)

How many rest areas does Missouri have?

Missouri maintains 8 Welcome Center’s, 14 Rest Areas, and 23 Truck-Only Parking sites across the state. Located on seven different Interstates, the facilities feature a variety of easy-to-access amenities to serve travelers. (MoDOT)

Below is today’s poll:

This poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson


Lyda Krewson Is The 5th Mayor Since I Moved To St. Louis

April 21, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Lyda Krewson Is The 5th Mayor Since I Moved To St. Louis

On Tuesday, while waiting for the inauguration of our first new mayor in 16 years, I reflected on the mayors we’ve had since I moved here in August 1990. For many of you, Francis Slay has been the only mayor you’ve had as a voting-age adult. This could be because you’re young or because you moved here since 2001.

Mayor Lyda Krewson making her way to Room 200 after being sworn in and giving her inaugural speech in the rotunda.

Mayor Krewson is the 5th mayor since I moved to St. Louis. Vince Schoemehl was in his 3rd/last term when I arrived. Freeman Bosley Jr. was elected in 1993, followed by Clarence Harmon in 1997.  Then Slay.

I also thought about how my interaction with them has changed over the years.

  1. Schoemehl — I never met him while he was mayor, it was only after I started this blog that I met him. He recognizes me now.
  2. Bosley — I met him once during his 4-year term, at an event at O’Fallon Park announcing planned renovations. I gave him a book on urban planning.
  3. Harmon — I don’t recall ever meeting him.
  4. Slay — I didn’t know him before he became mayor. Even after I had started this blog he didn’t know who I was. Over his 16 years in office that changed, but our interaction was limited to polite chit chat at events such as press briefings or ribbon cuttings. I did come to meet many people on his staff.
  5. Krewson — keep reading to learn about how different my relationship is with our 46th mayor.

I knew about Lyda Krewson years before I first met her, the story of her husband being murdered in front of her and their young children was big news in the early 90s.

I can’t recall the first time I met her in person, but it was likely after starting this blog in October 2004.  I recall when I was first dealing with restaurants taking up entire blocks for valet parking she was the only alderman who would talk with me about the problem and possible solutions.

In early 2009 I was bugging Krewson about getting on Twitter, having a blog, and getting an iPhone. She joined Twitter on April 1, 2009. On April 4th I created a Tumblr account for her, I also suggested she register her name as a domain — but that didn’t happen until May 2013. At the time I wanted every alderperson to be on social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc). Remember, this is when recently ousted Alderman Ken Ortman refused to accept email communications through the city website!

In 2013 my then boyfriend moved from Springfield IL to live with me — I invited people over for a welcome party. Among the guests were Lyda Krewson and husband, reporter turned lawyer, Mike Owens.  In August last year she came by again — this time to ask for my endorsement. As filing hadn’t opened yet I wanted to see the field before I’d make any endorsement. I shared that I was very pessimistic about St. Louis’ future. Krewson was the only candidate to ask for my endorsement & vote.

As the March primary approached I realized I wasn’t excited about any candidate for mayor — none had the ability or will to change the culture in city hall, the city, or the region. A week before the primary I saw Krewson at a Loop Trolley event and she asked me if she had my vote. Always honest, I said I’d already voted for someone else via absentee ballot. I could’ve played politics and sucked up to her since she was favored to win — but that’s not me.

Over the years Krewson and I have debated politics/policy online and in person. Though we haven’t always agreed, we’ve been cordial and the conversations productive.

I wish Mayor Krewson the best of luck, I want her to succeed and surprise me.

— Steve Patterson