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Funds Available for Transportation Enhancement Projects

Several local communities and school districts are competing for a share of federal money to be used for transportation enhancement projects. KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has more…

The money can be used by cities, counties, school districts and the state for things like sidewalk improvements, hiking and biking trails designed for transportation, aesthetic improvements and even museums with a transportation theme. Frank Miller is district planning manager with the Missouri Department of Transportation…

"Some examples of projects in the Springfield area are the sidewalks and the ADA improvements at various intersections like Glenstone and Kearney, Glenstone and Sunshine, sidewalks along bridges in Ozark and Crane, the Welcome Center in Conway that's based on a Route 66 theme and some landscaping projects on I-44/James River Freeway and Route 65, plus many of the bike trails that we have around the area."

According to Miller, every six years or so Congress passes a bill to fund surface transportation in the country, and, since the early 1990s, they’ve set aside a portion of that money for transportation enhancements.In Missouri, the money is distributed to St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield. Metropolitan Springfield, including Nixa, Ozark, Republic, Strafford, Willard, Battlefield and Springfield, will receive funds for projects thru the Ozarks Transportation Organization.Miller says another committee will decide which projects to fund in an area that covers roughly Branson, Bolivar, Lebanon, Mountain Grove, Buffalo and Gainesville.About 1 and a half million dollars is available this year for projects within the 12-county area of MODOT’s Springfield region. Each project can receive no more than 300,000 dollars, and the money requires a non-federal match of at least 20%. According to Miller, the funds have resulted in more transportation options for local communities…

"The trail system in Springfield has been really important. It's been a good amenity for the community but also it's given people an option so they don't have to drive everywhere--they have a way to get somewhere either on a bicycle or by walking and then there are health benefits from that as well, so we've seen a lot of interest in this program for lots of reasons."

The deadline to apply for a share of the federal transportation enhancement funds is October 22nd. To learn more, visit www.modot.org.For KSMU News, I’m Michele Skalicky.