Regional transportation needs discussed at annual meeting
SIKESTON - Representatives from five Southeast Missouri counties and municipalities gathered at the Missouri Department of Transportation district office from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. Tuesday to discuss regional transportation needs and federal programs.
"It's an annual meeting we do to keep our local agencies informed about any revisions or changes made to programs we administer," said Steve Duke, transportation planning coordinator for MoDOT. "It's a kind of a workshop. It brings them up to date on the programs."
MoDOT officials like to hold this meeting for cities, counties and regional planning committees each year in late February or early March depending on what other commitments officials have this time of year, according to Duke.
All 14 counties in MoDOT's southeast district were invited along with the 12 municipalities in the district eligible for federal STP Urban funds. "A lot of them canceled out because of some bad weather up north," said Duke.
Also attending were representatives from the three regional planning commissions in the district and four of the six consultants invited.
County road inventories and their functional classifications were discussed along with revisions to all the functional classes.
Duke explained roads are classified based on the mobility they provide and access to the roadway. Interstate highways, for example, are considered high mobility routes with low or no access.
The project development submission and review process was also discussed as it relates to federal programs including the Off-systems Roads Bridge Replacement program which assists with funding for county and city bridges; the STP Urban Program for cities with populations exceeding 5,000 which are eligible for federal funding based on population; and the STP Enhancement Program for non-traditional transportation-related projects such as sidewalks, historical preservation, welcome centers and landscaping.
Among other topics discussed were innovative financing available for several programs to local public agencies through an application process and county bridge inspections and certification on construction projects using federal funds.
The meeting ended with a "Q and A" session for officials, Duke said. "They always have a thousand questions."