May 23, 2005
For immediate release
For more information, contact:
Bonnie J. Prigge, (573) 265-2993
TAC LEARNS ABOUT MISSOURI TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE
Adopts, recommends regional transportation goals, objectives
ST. JAMES-There are many transportation institutes in the country, but
the one being formed in Missouri is different, says Dr. Bill Ankner, and
that is what enticed him to take the job as the first executive director
of the Missouri Transportation Institute (MTI). The former head of the
Rhode Island Department of Transportation, Ankner introduced the idea of
MTI to the Meramec Regional Transportation Advisory Committee, during
its regular meeting May 12. Ankner credits UMR Chancellor Dr. Gary
Thomas with the idea that makes MTI unique: Thomas suggested that
instead of fighting among ourselves as universities, is there a way that
we can be more nationally competitive as a group? Ankner shared.
"That makes us much richer," Ankner said.
MTI, located in Rolla, is just that: A multi-modal, multi-disciplinary
consortium of 11 public and private Missouri universities and the
Missouri Department of Transportation.
The primary purpose of MTI, according to Ankner, is to be the premier
transportation research and technology entity and the transportation
policy and planning think tank in Missouri. When a transportation issue
need to be studied, MTI can draw on the expertise within the 11
In other business, the TAC:
. Heard a presentation from Dr. Nestore Galati of UMR on a flood
detection device that would alert local governments and/or the public
when a low water crossing is flooded and unsafe to cross. Galati is
looking for locations where he can test his device.
. Approved the adoption of regional transportation planning goals and
objectives to be included in the Regional Transportation Plan, which the
Meramec Regional Planning Commission will begin developing in July.
The group amended one of the goals to include an emphasis on the
environment. The TAC also voted to recommend that the MRPC board adopt
the goals and objectives as well.
. Heard presentations on enhancement projects within the region that
will be submitted to MoDOT for funding consideration. Steve Hargis of
the City of Rolla shared information on the proposed Deible Loop
Pedestrian Bike Path that the city is proposing to build. The city will
be requesting funding from the Missouri Department of Transportation to
help fund Phase 1 of the bike path. Kelly Sink-Blair of MRPC shared
information on two sidewalk projects in Osage County. The cities of Meta
and Westphalia will each request funds to assist with the development of
sidewalk systems for their communities. Neither community currently has
sidewalks. Additionally, T.R. Dudley updated the TAC on a project in
Potosi that would create more ADA-parking. The Washington County
Commission plans to demolish two buildings near the courthouse square to
provide additional courthouse parking and will be requesting funding
assistance. This would also provide access to the creek area and other
public areas in downtown Potosi. At the last TAC meeting, Ted Ruth of
UMR presented the university's proposed plan to construct a tunnel under
Highway 63/University Drive to connect the new residence hall and
parking lot to the new student center. Each member of the TAC
prioritized the projects. The compilation of the rankings will provide
MRPC staff members with information when working with MoDOT on project
funding. All grants require a 20 percent match. District 5 has capped
grants at $400,000 with $1.8 million available. Deadline for District 5
grants is May 18. District 9 has capped grants at $250,000 with $1
million available. Those grants are due June 3.
. Heard a report on the Missouri Department of Transportation's Major
Projects Task Force final meeting on April 13. Although no local
projects were selected for funding, this will move the Meramec Region's
projects higher on the list for future funding, according to Richard
Cavender, MRPC's executive director. Cavender represented the region in
District 9, which includes Crawford, Dent, Gasconade and Washington counties, while Bonnie Prigge, assistant
director of MRPC, represented the region in District 5, which includes
Maries, Osage and Gasconade counties.
. Heard reports from Alan Trampe, area engineer for District 5, and
Randy Mayo, area engineer for District 9, on work planned in the region
Willard "Decky" Finn of Vienna chairs the TAC and serves as the TAC
liaison on the MRPC board. Persons needing more information on MRPC's
Transportation Advisory Committee may contact Kelly Sink-Blair at MRPC,
(573) 265-2993. The group will meet again in August. Meetings are open
to the public.