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      MoDOT seeks public input for road projects list

      The Missouri Department of Transportation Thursday held their second of four open house-style meetings in mid-Missouri for public input on projects to be funded by a proposed statewide three-quarter cent sales tax increase.

      The tax, also known as Amendment Seven, will go before voters in August.

      "We'll take back the comments from tonight...we'll go back to our regional planning partners, and we'll talk with those groups about those comments to see if there's any changes that need to be made to the project list," Travis Koestner, assistant district engineer for MoDOT Central District, said of Thursday.

      Koestner said the sales tax increase would finance about $486 million of road improvements in central Missouri over 10 years.

      State Senator Mike Kehoe stopped by the open house Thursday and said he's been speaking with constituents about the proposed project list since it was revealed last week.

      "Quite honestly a lot of people are saying 'hey, we're pretty pleased with the projects in our area.' Some other people had some concerns about various projects and how they would interact," Kehoe said.

      "My main thing is I would like to see the roads in a safe condition, and I realize there's a lot of highways throughout the state," Jefferson City resident Ted Koenig said.

      "I think after that, maybe, if they can introduce some pedestrian/bicycle-friendly routes as part of their plan."

      If the sales tax is approved, one major project will impact a high-traffic roadway in Jefferson City.

      "Whitton Expressway area, the locals have said they want some improvements in there," Koestner said.

      "Really, some of the ideas have been to add a lane both directions, it really starts there. And then we work from there, just to see how to fix traffic and fix the local businesses in the area."

      Aside from safety, Kehoe hopes the improvements will promote economic development.

      "We want to continue to let existing businesses know that we have a transportation system they can rely on," he said.

      "And then any new businesses that we're trying to attract as a community, we want to make sure they understand that we're serious about our infrastructure, and we want jobs, and we want them to locate here."

      MoDOT will take public input on the projects list until July 3. There will be an open house in Osage Beach on June 25 and one more in Rolla on June 26. If you can't attend any of the meetings, you can submit your input to MoDOT online, over the phone or in person.

      MoDOT will present a final projects list to the Highway and Transportation Commission on July 9.