In an effort to maintain focus on needed improvements to Missouri Highway 15, a number of local parties have joined together to form the Highway 15 Coalition.
Last week Missouri Representative Craig Redmond and Missouri Department of Transportation regional engineer Amy Crawford met with the group at the Scotland County Courthouse to discuss the Highway 15 situation in Scotland County.
Engineering estimates were provided by MoDOT, placing a $50,000 per mile price tag on resurfacing Highway 15 and adding a two-foot paved shoulder. The cost for a similar project with a four-foot wide shoulder would be between $75,000 to $80,000 per mile.
Coalition member Dr. Jeff Davis stated, based on these numbers, the group is considering the feasibility of creating a Transportation Development District (TDD), which can create a geographic region within a proposed transportation project to collect money from a sales tax to help fund the project.
Davis explained that in Missouri, the law allows for a 1/8 up to 1 cent sales tax for a TDD.
“The sales tax is only enforced until the money is collected and the project is completed and then it is retired,” he explained.
During the meeting Scotland County Commissioner David Wiggins indicated that a 1/2 cent sales tax in Scotland County would currently raise approximately $200,000 in funds.
“The group is also researching opportunities from grants and low interest loans from the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission’s Finance Corporation,” said Davis.
The recent coalition meeting was attended by the Scotland County Commission, a representative of the Knox County Commission, Chipper Harris as the chairman of the regional Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) for the Northeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission, Dr. Larry Wiggins, SCR-I Superintendent Ryan Bergeson, Dr. Davis and Redmond and Crawford.
Davis explained that the newly formed coalition’s goals are to raise awareness regarding the poor road conditions and the declining shoulders of MO Hwy 15 in northeast Missouri.
The coalition plans to meet again later in November to meet with MoDOT specialists in the Transportation Development District process as well as leaders from the Highway 63 Corridor Coalition.