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Morning headlines: Friday, January 13, 2012

Traffic on northbound and southbound I-270 on Jan. 12, 2011at the J. J. Kelley overpass in Des Peres.
(Missouri Department of Transportation/MoDOT - St. Louis on Facebook)
Traffic on northbound and southbound I-270 on Jan. 12, 2011at the J. J. Kelley overpass in Des Peres.

Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:

MoDOT director apologizes for Thursday traffic gridlock due to light snowfall

The director of the Missouri Department of Transportation is apologizing for the mess in the St. Louis area caused by the relatively light snowfall this week. St. Louis-area highways were gridlocked for hours after snow began falling just before morning rush hour on Thursday. Hundreds of wrecks occurred. MoDOT chief Kevin Keith told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he was disappointed in the effort to clear roadways.

MoDOT decided not to pretreat interstates with a salt brine solution. Instead, crews filled trucks with rock salt and began spreading it when the snow began. They then planned to spread chemicals. But it was too late and many roadways froze over. Keith says he has already spoken with St. Louis-area officials about how to prevent similar breakdowns in the future.

State senator: schools should benefit from red light camera fines

A state senator wants Missouri schools to benefit from the fines levied on motorists caught on camera running red lights. Republican Will Kraus, of Lee's Summit, is sponsoring legislation that would direct the fines from traffic enforcement cameras to local school districts instead of city coffers. The Missouri Municipal League is opposing the legislation. It says the cameras make roads safer and free up police to pursue other crimes. Kraus says that if the cameras are truly about safety, then cities shouldn't be concerned about not keeping the money. Some other senators suggested during a committee hearing this week that cities should at least be allowed to keep enough money to pay for their contracts with camera vendors.

Legislation for tougher regulation of payday, certain installment loans proposed

A Missouri House Democrat is proposing legislation that would ask voters to approve tougher regulation of certain installment loans. The measure from Representative Mary Still would cap the interest on payday loans and certain other installment loans at 36 percent. Approval by the state House and Senate would put the measure to a statewide vote.