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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • MRPC committee hears update on Amendment 7 project list

  • The Meramec region Transportation Advisory Committee met for a special meeting earlier this month to hear about changes made to the transportation project list that is tied to Constitutional Amendment 7 — the three-quarters cent sales tax for transportation that will appear on the Aug. 5 ballot in Missouri.
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  • The Meramec region Transportation Advisory Committee met for a special meeting earlier this month to hear about changes made to the transportation project list that is tied to Constitutional Amendment 7 — the three-quarters cent sales tax for transportation that will appear on the Aug. 5 ballot in Missouri.
    The committee and Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) board assisted the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Central District in developing the list through a process that began in December 2013.
    The list was released in June for a public comment period, which resulted in additional projects on two highways in the Meramec region — State Highway 19 and U.S. Highway 63.
    “I think the public comment period helped us take a good list and make it a better list,” MoDOT Area Engineer Preston Kramer said as he unveiled the list changes to the Transportation Advisory Committee.
    The projects on the list focus on maintaining the current system — such as the many bridge replacements throughout the region — and safety upgrades like major improvements to Highway 63.
    There are 29 identified projects in the Meramec region on the list plus an expansion of public transit services throughout the region.
    The Transportation Advisory Committee, Progress 63 Coalition and others have advocated improvements to Highway 63, including that the highway be built to a four-lane road from where the four lanes stop north of Rolla to the intersection with U.S. Highway 50 south of Jefferson City.
    Highways 63 and 50 are MRPC’s top transportation priorities, and work on Highway 63 will be significant if the three-quarters cent sales tax passes.
    According to Kramer, four-laning the entire stretch of Highway 63 remains out of reach fiscally with the sales tax, but MoDOT was able to amend the project list to allow funding of a shared four-lane on a new alignment from just north of Vienna at Maries Road 209 to Highway 50 near the Mari-Osa Delta.
    A shared four-lane consists of three lanes for the length of the new alignment in which the center, “shared” lane will alternate as a passing lane between northbound and southbound traffic.
    “It addresses the portion of Highway 63 in the Meramec region where the most accidents happen,” Kramer said.
    In addition, lanes would be added within the city limits of Rolla between Interstate 44 and University Drive to reduce congestion.
    Kramer noted that with the addition of the shared four-lane project and the Rolla project, the state would be investing more than $100 million in improvements to Highway 63 in the Meramec region.
    “The proposed improvements to Highway 63 would go far to improve safety and provide a much improved north-south corridor for the state,” MRPC Executive Director Bonnie Prigge said.
    Also getting safety upgrades if Constitutional Amendment 7 passes are portions of Highways 19, 68, 185, 42 and 49. MoDOT plans to resurface and add two-foot shoulders to these roads. The two-foot shoulders have been shown to reduce road runoff accidents that often result in serious injuries and fatalities.
    Page 2 of 3 - The Highway 19 project in Gasconade County will also include a center turn lane in front of Owensville schools and the Owensville Industrial Park.
    Another large project in the Meramec region is the proposed construction of a new two-lane Route 50 around Linn. The list has also identified 17 bridges in the region for repair or replacement, about half of which are one-lane bridges.
    This transportation proposal is multi-modal and includes funding for the expansion of OATS and SMTS in the eight counties of the Meramec region.
    “As we have worked with transit users over the years, we have continually identified the need for more service,” Prigge said. “This would provide for one additional day of service every week in every Meramec region county, and this would be a tremendous help for those seniors who have no other way to travel.”
    The new list was approved by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission July 9 and is available online at www.modot.org/movingforward.
    The Transportation Advisory Committee, which consists of three representatives from each Meramec region county, and the MRPC assisted in MoDOT’s planning process in creating this list.
    Missouri voters are encouraged to view the list prior to the Aug. 5 election, as this list reflects the projects that will be completed with funds generated by the sales tax if Constitutional Amendment 7 passes.
    The Transportation Advisory Committee’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Thursday, Aug. 14, at 4 p.m. at the MRPC office, 4 Industrial Drive, St. James. All meetings are open to the public. For more information on MRPC’s Transportation Advisory Committee call 573-265-2993.
    $3.87 million projected for Phelps County, its cities over 10 years
    In addition to many Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) projects in the Meramec region, including four in Phelps County, Constitutional Amendment 7 would also provide an estimated $27 million distributed to cities and $27 million distributed to counties throughout the state over a 10-year time frame to assist with transportation funding at the local level, if the measure passes by Missouri voters.
    The tax would sunset in 10 years and in that time frame, it is expected to generate $5.4 billion statewide.
    MoDOT released a project list July 9 showing exactly what projects that additional revenue would fund. Per the legislation, 5 percent of the sales tax would be distributed to counties, and 5 percent would be distributed to cities. These funds would be spent at the discretion of the local government on transportation-related projects.
    Based on Missouri Department of Revenue projections and current populations, local governments in Phelps County would receive an additional $3.87 million in transportation funding over the 10-year lifetime of the sales tax.
    This includes transportation funding that would be distributed to Phelps County as well as the cities of Doolittle, Edgar Springs, Newburg, Rolla and St. James.
    Page 3 of 3 - These funds would be in addition to the County Aid Road Trust (CART) funds received by counties and cities each month.
    Phelps County would see the largest piece of the funding with approximately $2.15 million over 10 years, or $215,028 annually. Rolla would receive an estimated $134,298 per year, while St. James’s portion would be $28,944.
    Funding distributed to Missouri counties is apportioned based on two factors — the ratio of road miles within the unincorporated portions of the county and the rural land valuation of the county.
    Funding distributed to Missouri cities is apportioned based on city populations.

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