Money for Highway 25 in Jackson included in Emerson's requested earmarks

Monday, April 6, 2009
A bus blocks traffic on Hope Street waiting to be able to turn into South Elementary at 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday in Jackson. (ELIZABETH DODD ~ edodd@semissourian.com)

Shut out of federal stimulus funds, Jackson may yet obtain federal help to relieve traffic congestion near South Elementary School.

U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, is asking to include $750,000 in the next federal budget for an environmental study and design work to relieve congestion on Highway 25 from Jackson Trail to the city limits. The request was one of 49 earmarked projects, totaling $92 million, submitted by Emerson last week.

Under new Congressional budget rules, each member of the House had until Friday to submit their requests for specific items they want for their constituents.

Of those requests, 11 are for projects totaling $21.5 million in Cape Girardeau County or areas immediately adjacent. The biggest project is $14.5 million for improvements to the Brois Brule Levee in Perry County.

Traffic congestion at school starting and closing times can tie up Highway 25 in Jackson. City officials have been meeting regularly with Missouri Department of Transportation officials in an attempt to find a way to reduce the hazards for parents and children.

Jackson City Administrator Jim Roach said that while the city did not make a specific request for Emerson to include money for Highway 25, he's happy it made the list.

During a meeting with MoDOT on the distribution of transportation stimulus funds from the $787 billion economic recovery bill, Jackson officials had complained that there were two road projects for Cape Girardeau on the list and none for Jackson.

"I'm just glad to hear that somebody is starting to help," Roach said. "It is just kind of a shock that we have been having meetings and this one was totally left out."

The list of projects also includes $1 million for improvements along Highway 34 in Bollinger and Cape Girardeau counties. Improvements to that road were the highest priority for the county, said Ron Steele, an economic development planner with the Southeast Missouri Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission.

Other regional earmark requests include:

* $200,000 to the Southeast Missouri Network Against Sexual Violence to open a regional office in the Bootheel.

* $202,500 to the Southeast Missouri Drug Task Force to fund overtime, equipment and supplies.

* $2.9 million for Cape Girardeau to continue the floodwall repair project.

* $100,000 for Oran, Mo., to study the feasibility of clearing, snagging and removing obstructions from Crooked Ford Creek.

* $283,000 for the Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority for dredging by the Corps of Engineers.

* $500,000 for Southeast Missouri State University for an information commons to link technical and support services, faculty and students.

* $205,102 for Southeast Health on Wheels Mobile Dental Program to bring care to underserved communities.

* $750,000 for the Chester Bridge to fund bridge renovations and improvements.

Emerson's office did not return a call seeking comment on her requests.

For more information, check back at semissourian.com or read Tuesday's Southeast Missourian.

Link to Emerson earmark requests:

http://www.house.gov/emerson/appropriati...

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