Highway Connections Not Made

1 decade 1 year 2 months ago Saturday, March 31 2007 Mar 31, 2007 Saturday, March 31, 2007 2:47:51 PM CDT March 31, 2007 in News

They called it the 15-year-plan, and back in 1992 the Missouri Highway Commission promised many cities, such as Mexico, connections to more portions of the state.

"It would connect the lakes, Lake of the Ozarks to Mark Twain Lake," said Bruce Oliver, a Mexico resident. "Also connecting a four-lane to Hannibal where they could pick up I-72 in Illinois and really connect to Chicago and beyond."

A six-cent per gallon increase was supposed to fund, among other things, four-lane highways connecting every city with a population of 5,000 or more. Fifteen years later only about half of those projects are complete or even under construction.

Mexico saw potential in the plan because of previous improvement connecting it I-70 at Kingdom City.

"I believe it was in the mid-80s when we received the four-lane and we were in the midst of economic development and since then we've had 20 or 30 businesses locate here because businesses use trucks," Oliver said.

Now businesses recognize the need.

"If the highways or roads are a little better, more connections we have, it would help the hotel business, particularly like mine," said Suri Berman, owner of Amerihost Inn.

So after paying the price without seeing the results, how much confidence do Mexico residents have in a similarly funded plan?

"If they commit a tax to a specific stretch of highway and I think that will probably happen, having said all that, I would be reasonably confident that would occur," Oliver said.

But, Berman disagrees.

"I am not very confident, if there's another tax increase that will happen the same scenario that has happened on the first one, I don't think I feel very confident," Berman said.

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