April 24, 2012
ST. JAMES—The Missouri Department of Transportation’s (MoDOT) plans for construction projects in the region and improvements to the statewide rail system were recently reviewed by members of the Meramec Region Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC).
Steve Engelbrecht, MoDOT Central District planning manager, highlighted MoDOT’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP), which covers 2013 to 2017, during the TAC’s April 12 meeting at the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC).
“We are working on putting together a good range of projects that focus on maintenance,” Engelbrecht said.
Roadway maintenance includes improvements such as installing shoulders and adding rumble strips to improve safety, Engelbrecht said. The STIP also focuses on sustaining bridges.
Engelbrecht mentioned several local projects were being considered for inclusion in the STIP for scoping activities.
The STIP draft will be available May 2 with a public comment period until June 1. On July 11, the STIP will be presented to the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission for adoption.
Preston Kramer, MoDOT Central District area engineer, asked the TAC to construct a list of larger projects the group would like to see completed if funding would become available. These items would be listed in addition to the TAC’s original set of priorities.
Bonnie Prigge, MRPC executive director, gave an overview of the new Missouri State Rail Plan, which provides the framework for the development of freight and passenger rail service for the next 20 years.
Prigge noted the 100-page plan contains goals such as improving the movement of passengers and freight, enhancing local and state economic development, and increasing the safety and security of the rail system.
Meetings have been conducted with community leaders, the public and railroads to develop the statewide plan, Prigge said.
Prigge discussed the economic, environmental, community and transportation benefits of rail service, freight and passenger rail strategies, and passenger and freight policy recommendations.
Within the proposed 20-year program, the MoDOT Multimodal Division recommends plans for an investment of approximately $1.4 billion in the rail system. This cost includes items such as ongoing support for current passenger service, planning for future high-speed rail service, continuing the current grade crossing safety program, and developing a proposed freight grant and loan funding programs, to address some of the short-line opportunities.
A public meeting was held April 18 in Jefferson City to discuss the rail plan. Prigge encouraged board members to share needs in rail with the MoDOT Multimodal Division and to discuss the plan with local legislators. More information on the plan is available at www.morail.org.
In other business, the TAC:
Persons needing more information on MRPC’s Transportation Advisory Committee may contact MRPC at (573) 265-2993. The group will meet again at 4 p.m. June 14, 2012. Meetings are open to the public.