Stenger upset over proposed Metrolink expansion

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – There is a war of words brewing, over words.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger both feel blindsided after discovering each had sent conflicting letters to Washington about the proposed Northside Southside MetroLink expansion.

The idea of creating a new MetroLink line from North County through the St. Louis City to South County has been around for years.

But with Mayor Slay deciding not to seek re-election, he is making the Northside Southside line a priority, and to keep it on track, he and other officials recently signed a letter supporting a grant application for just over a half million dollars in government funding to move the plan forward.

In the letter, Slay said the project was a 'moral and economic imperative.'

But Stenger did not sign that letter and instead, wrote a letter of his own to the Federal Transit Administration opposing the plan until other MetroLink expansion plans get more study.

Stenger is upset with Slay because feels the county was kept in the dark about the grant proposal.

Meanwhile, Slay felt blindsided by Stenger`s letter because he says he thought the County Executive knew about the grant application.

'That (Stenger letter) was completely by surprise,' Slay said. 'I had talked with the County Executive about North South MetroLink three weeks ago and the indication was that we could work together on this going forward,' he said.

When Stenger was asked about the issue by reporters, he said, 'I think that the investment is significant enough at $2.2 billion that we need to have a debate, not a ten minute phone call, not a five minute phone call, but an ongoing debate that may require weeks, months, maybe years."

Slay says he wants to sit down with his staff and meet with Stenger and his staff to work out their differences.