City wants millions in new roads by 2030

To finish all its desired projects, the city must double what it now spends on road work.
Thursday, October 28, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:03 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Columbia residents can take the wheel tonight in helping plan for the future of road funding and construction in the city.

A report prepared by a city consultant estimates the city needs $581 million worth of new roads by 2030. Both this report and a complementary plan of ways to cover that cost will be open to public scrutiny tonight during a Transportation Finance Advisory Committee hearing.

In mid-October, the city released a report outlining 97 major road improvements it would like to complete by 2030.

Included in the report are the $44 million extension of Stadium Boulevard from the east side of U.S. 63 to Interstate 70; an $18.4 million capacity upgrade to Highway 763 from U.S. 63 to Big Bear Boulevard; and nearly $12 million in improvements to Gans Road from Providence Road to the U.S. 63 interchange.

Completing all the projects would obligate the city to more than double its road funding from $9.6 million to $20.1 million annually.

Assistant City Manager Bill Watkins said the report is intended to reflect optimistic goals.

“In a nutshell, the current conditions report lists all the roads we’d like to build in the next 25 years and what that would cost, with an emphasis that this would be possible in a perfect world,” he said.

Just how many of the 97 projects can be completed depends on how much money the city can find for road work.

Another report released Tuesday tries to tackle the funding problem. It’s described as a “laundry list” of funding options from which city leaders can choose. Financing ideas range from tax increases and bond issues to federal grants and street-impact fees charged to developers. But only a few of these options likely will be used, according to the report.

Watkins hopes city officials come up with a funding proposal to complete many of the major projects.

“We may not double our spending,” he said. “But I think we can put a big dent in that.”

The Transportation Finance Advisory Committee wants to submit a draft of its recommendations to the Columbia City Council in November, Watkins said.

Both reports are available to the public at the Columbia Public Library, the city manager’s office or on the city’s Web site,

The public hearing is from 5:30 to 6 tonight in the mezzanine conference room at the Daniel Boone Building, 701 E. Broadway. The advisory committee will discuss the reports after the hearing.

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