Archive for Thursday, February 26, 2009

Basehor may have missed stimulus boat

February 26, 2009

The city of Basehor may have missed a share of part of the federal stimulus pie.

The Mid-America Regional Council on Tuesday released a list of transportation stimulus projects for the Kansas side of the metropolitan area and the way that each project was scored by MARC. None of Basehor’s projects appeared on the list.

The Kansas Department of Transportation announced Friday it was turning over $22 million in funding to MARC, which is selecting local government transportation projects for stimulus funds in both Missouri and Kansas in the Kansas City area.

Marc Hansen, transportation planner for MARC, said MARC had received some general information from Basehor about possible stimulus transportation projects but did not hear anything further from the city.

“I saw some basic input on our database, but we called out for cities to fill out additional applications for their projects, and I did not receive any applications from Basehor,” Hansen said. “We needed more detailed information to make recommendations to our committees, and Basehor didn’t send me anything.”

Basehor City Administrator Carl Slaugh said he was unsure why none of the projects was approved, and that to his knowledge, all the necessary steps had been taken.

“It’s disappointing,” Slaugh said. “I don’t know if our projects weren’t up to standards or what, but I’ve been making some phone calls to try to figure out what happened.”

The city, Slaugh said, submitted projects to both MARC and the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Slaugh also said Basehor was included in a joint resolution along with Leavenworth County and the cities of Leavenworth, Lansing and Tonganoxie urging MARC to ensure that federal transportation stimulus funds be distributed throughout the Kansas City metropolitan region. The resolution asked that special consideration be given to communities in the area that were economically disadvantaged and did not receive KDOT funding from the state stimulus dollars. In all, KDOT received $380 million in federal stimulus funds for transportation projects; about $336 million of those funds is already earmarked for projects across the state.

Slaugh said he placed a few calls to MARC but had not heard anything back. However, the city still has a few options, he said.

“We’re going to try to submit projects through whatever means we have,” he said. “We still have avenues through KDOT, not just with MARC. We’re just going to keep trying.”

Among the projects that Basehor submitted to MARC and KDOT were plans to:

• Improve the 150th Street and U.S. Highway 24-40 intersection.

• Reconstruct ditches and install curbs, gutters, sidewalks and storm sewers on 150th Street.

• Construct a three-lane commercial reverse frontage road between 158th and 150th streets.

• Improve the intersection at 155th Street and Parallel Road.

• Construct a bicycle and pedestrian trail from Basehor Elementary School to Basehor Park.

• Replace damaged sewer lines at various spots throughout Basehor.

• Create a walking and biking trail through the Tomahawk Valley development.

The Tomahawk Valley trail was one of the more desired projects, Slaugh said. The trail would be 10 feet wide and would extend from 155th Street to 158th Street and to the Basehor Community Library. The trail, Slaugh said, had been submitted as a Transportation Enhancement project. The state of Kansas set aside $10 million for Transportation Enhancement, Slaugh said, and Basehor wanted the trail to qualify in that area.

“It’s a very competitive and sought-after fund,” Slaugh said. “Everyone is scrambling for it.”

Reconstruction of the intersection at 155th Street and Parallel Road is another top priority for Basehor, Slaugh said. This project was submitted to KDOT two years ago and was rejected for funding.

“That area has a lot of traffic, and we want to expand it and put in some turning lanes,” Slaugh said.

KDOT has already allocated funds to several cities for transportation stimulus projects, and it will continue to do so in March. MARC is expected to give final approval on its list of projects on Tuesday.

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