A Missouri state transportation official is wary of potential negative publicity but says that doesn’t outweigh the advantages of clean roads.
By Adam Edelman
A half-mile stretch of highway running through the city has been adopted by The St. Louis 9/11 Questions Meetup Group, which will have its name posted along the segment it’s committed to keep litter-free.
A conspiracy-touting group alleging that 9/11 was an “inside job” has been granted permission to adopt a stretch of highway in Missouri, the state’s Department of Transportation confirmed Thursday.
Under the state’s Adopt-a-Highway program, the small but controversial organization — called the St. Louis 9/11 Questions Meetup Group — will have its name posted on a sign along a half-mile stretch of highway in St. Louis, according to an official at the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). The sign will go up in January.
In return, the group will maintain and keep clean the stretch of highway.
According to the group’s website, members of the group claim to be “residents of the Greater St. Louis Area (and other areas) concerned about the many disturbing aspects of the 9/11 attacks, adding that, “we have many disagreements, but we agree that 9/11 is worth inquiring into. We are inclusive as opposed to exclusive. Generally, we believe that when gravity causes an object to move, the object goes down, not upwards and outwards in an arc.”
On its website, the group sells T-shirts that say “The 9/11 debacle was an Inside Job!” along with other shirts featuring photos of the collapse of the World Trade Center with text that raises questions about the details of the destruction. The group’s organizer, Donald Stahl, could not be reached for comment.
Tom Blair, a MoDOT assistant district engineer, said he’s wary of any negative publicity the controversial group will bring to the state, but that the value of clean roads — and the savings the program brings to taxpayers — ultimately outweigh any bad attention.
“Well, I’m concerned about the attention, but we need the program,” Blair said. “I’m concerned any time negative attention goes to the program, but it’s a solid program and it’s important to remember that. And anyone, whatever their motivations, can apply for it, as long as they just pick up the trash.”
According to the MoDOT website, approved groups adopt a stretch of highway at least a half-mile long and agree to collect litter at least four times a year. The state saves about $1 million a year from the volunteer efforts, Blair said.