A new five year path has been charted for the state’s road and bridge program. But the path gets rocky about halfway along.
The new Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan includes more than 770 road and bridge projects, plus work on public transportation, railroads, aviation, and waterways. But the amount of money available for the program drops by fifty percent in the third year because the funding allowed by amendment three that voters approved in 2004 runs out.
Transportation Planning Director Machelle Watkins says the plan is a mix of proposals. She says the state works with local officials and regional planning commissions to organize a priority list.
The new plan does not include major overhauls of Interstates 70 and 44. She says current funding is not adequate for that work. The department says it is critical for the state’s transportation system that the legislature and the voters agree on a way to maintain full funding of transportation maintenance and improvement. Some proposals were floated this year for discussion purposes by the chairmen of the House and Senate Transportation Committees. They promise a serious push will be made in the 2008 legislative session.