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Highway 54 Coalition meets in Vandalia

Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 10:13 am

Pike County Commissioners Bill Allen, Justin Sheppard, and MoDOT’s Northeast District Design Engineer Tom Batenhorst.

The Highway 54 Coalition discussed plans to celebrate the Champ Clark Bridge project during their monthly meeting held last Wednesday in Vandalia.
Brian Haeffner, MoDOT Area Engineer, said the design/building project will be awarded during the June 29 Missouri Highways Transportation Commission meeting.
Among the final four candidates include Alberici/Parsons, American Bridge/Garver, Lunda/Figg, and Massman/HNTB.
Carolyn Wisecarver, Executive Director of the Pike County Development Authority, talked about a possible reception to be held in the awarding of the bridge contract.
After much discussion, the coalition looks to have a cookies and punch event followed by a dinner with a meal associated with a cost at Overlook Farms.
It was also noted that the MoDOT Commission will hold a media event with representatives for many entities affected by the project.
Tom Batenhorst, MoDOT’s Northeast District Design Engineer, gave a brief MoDOT report.
He talked about some notable legislative bills of interest to the coalition. It was noted that there’s much uncertainty in regards to transportation funding from Jefferson City in 2017. An update on SB-57 was also provided which included a rare 3-3 vote.
A bill HCR-47 was also discussed, which would, if passed, establish a 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force. This force would potentially include five representatives, five senators, MoDOT representation, appointed general assembly representatives, and more.
Kristin Wright, field representative for U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, attended her final Highway 54 Coalition meeting as she has taken a job with Goodwill in Kansas City, Mo.
During her brief update, she talked about the need for the federal government to pass some sort of budget by April 28 to avoid a shut down. She also talked about cuts in transportation and potential elimination of the Tiger Grant though she believes many compromises will come into effect in time for a passed budget. She also noted Sen. McCaskill’s focus on rural broadband and affects on rural hospitals due to medicare reimbursement rates.
Samantha Diffenderfer gave a brief report representing the Mark Twain Council of Governments. She talked of a training she recently attended and maps that are currently being produced.
Their next meeting will be at the Annex on Thursday, May 18 in Bowling Green.