COLUMBIA - Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid asked state highway officials Thursday to see the importance of the airport initiative to the city and to help fund better access to the facility.
The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission held an open meeting at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Columbia to assess state transportation needs.
"There's a nine percent year over year increase in international students at the University of Missouri," McDavid said. "So, it's important to us that we make it easy for these students to get in and out of mid-Missouri."
McDavid also cited aging stormwater infrastructure as another cause for concern throughout Columbia.
Prior to McDavid's remark, MoDOT Director Kevin Keith gave an update on the status of Interstate 49. I-49, once completed, will connect Kansas City to Louisiana through Joplin and Arkansas, giving freight carriers greater access to New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico.
"I-49 is now open for business," Keith said. "We're not done. There are still 25 miles under construction in Arkansas, in an area we call the Bella Vista Bypass, to make this continuous from Kansas City to I-40 in Arkansas. There's still some work south of there, but at least it's open for business in Missouri."
Keith also noted that MoDOT, as of 2013, will have been in operation for 100 years. He did not give any details, but said the staff had plans to commemorate the last hundred years of service to the state.
Federal highway administrator Kevin Ward also attended the meeting, presenting an award to MoDOT officials that recognized their work in establishing new ideas in project finance and management.
There were no comments from members of the public following the meeting, and the commissioners present did not mention any concerns regarding Missouri transportation.