Highway projects

Sunday, December 12, 2004

A wish list of area highway projects has been forwarded to the Missouri Department of Transportation with what appears to be rubber-stamp approval from city and county governing bodies.

Unlike the months-long process of picking street projects for Cape Girardeau's five-year funding process (see above), several highway projects for state funding are submitted with the hopes of getting two or three put on a five-year plan.

While some of the projects make sense, the helter-skelter approach to placing projects on the MoDOT list leaves something to be desired. The projects were picked, for the most part, by city and county representatives to the Southeast Missouri Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission. Several elected officials who weren't involved said they didn't know what projects were being proposed until they read a story in Wednesday's Southeast Missourian.

Spending millions of dollars on roads and bridges needs a planning process that's truly representative of the needs of the area. The current approach puts every possible project up for consideration with the hope MoDOT will make good choices.

There must be a better way, one that would identify the most urgent needs and why they should be funded.

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