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Science and the Environment
Business and economy news and issues in the Ozarks.

Springfield Chamber, OTO Seek Public Input on Transportation Projects

Group Gathering/photo by David Armano via Flickr

The Springfield Chamber of Commerce and Ozarks Transportation Organization (OTO) are seeking public feedback on critical area transportation projects. The month-long initiative launched this week, as KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann reports.

The Transportation Input Initiative is designed to work in tandem with MoDOT at a local level.  The Springfield region extends to Ozark, Nixa, Republic and Willard.  Kelly Turner is chairman for the initiative.

"At the request of MoDOT, the OTO has partnered with the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and their transportation committee to implement a public input process.  [This process] would engage stakeholders around the region to gather public input to develop a prioritized list of projects," Turner says.

Some of the projects up for vote include continuing the six-lane expansion of 65 south toward Ozark, improvements to highway 14 in Christian County, 160 toward Willard and on James River Freeway.

There are three ways in which the public can weigh in.  Turner says in addition to scheduled public meetings, people can vote on the website or text their preferences.  He says this is the first time texting has been implemented as part of the voting process, but in the modern world of busy schedules, public meetings don't always reach everyone.

"We really encourage people to participate in one of these methods.  It's certainly important that we as a community that we speak in one voice.  [And recognize that] if we speak in that unified voice that it helps us to secure a larger share of MoDOT funds for our transportation projects.  A strong transportation network is certainly key to attracting business and workers to southwest Missouri," says Turner.

Residents have until April 1st to participate.  Two public meetings will be held in March on the 18th and the 20th from 4:00pm to 6:00pm both evenings.  Voting may be done online or by texting (417) 708-8844.