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In the News...


Wish list for fed monies at $140M

A $140 million federal funding wish list highlighted by I-55 connector roads, improvements to Hoy Road and even the failed Reunion Interchange will be presented by a group of Madison County officials visiting Washington next week.

About 30 officials from the county, various municipalities and the county's economic development community will meet with Mississippi's congressional delegation over three days beginning Jan. 31. 

Headed by the Madison County Economic Development Authority (MCEDA), the Madison County Foundation and the Madison County Business League, the trip will focus on funding for 11 projects selected from priority lists submitted by a number of different entities. 

Shortly after being sworn in this month, the Madison County Board of Supervisors solicited the lists from area municipalities hoping a united front would better serve the county as a whole. 

MCEDA Director Tim Coursey said that after gathering a large list of requests, the group had narrowed down the projects to those most likely to receive federal funding.

"They're all equally important," Coursey said. "We looked at what we could seek assistance in finding funding at the federal level versus what we could do. We're just looking at it from a practical standpoint."

Coursey said that the cumulative influence of the requests coming from the entire county could help persuade Mississippi's congressional delegation to place an added emphasis on Madison County.

"When we take that list up there, there's greater opportunity for some than others," Coursey said. "We want them to know that we're working together because we have a better chance of making this a reality at the local level if we're all on the same page."

Coursey told supervisors last week they would have detailed booklets outlining information and visual aids on all the different projects making it easy for delegates to understand the impact it would have on the area. 

The following is the list of priorities and descriptions provided by MCEDA: 

Reunion Interchange

Overview: The Reunion Interchange project addresses a critical transportation need to control growing traffic and provide an interconnect between I-55 and the proposed east-west Reunion Parkway project. 

Funding Requested: $21 million in FY 2012 and $21 million in FY 2013

Madison Avenue and McClellan Drive improvements:

Overview: This is a joint Ridgeland and Madison project to widen McClellan Drive and Madison Avenue that is needed to facilitate the flow of traffic from the new double diamond interchange to U.S. Highway 51

Funding Requested: $45 million

Interstate 55 Connector Roads

Overview: This transportation project includes the necessary widening and improvement of Sunnybrook Road and Ridgeland Avenue in Ridgeland to provide improved access to the new Madison-Ridgeland Interchange.

Funding Requested: $7 million

Hoy Road Improvements

Overview: This project addresses a critical transportation need to widen and upgrade two-lane Hoy Road to a three-lane road extending from the intersection of Rice Road to North Old Canton Road in Madison.

Funding Requested: $10.5 million

Lake Harbor Drive Extension

Overview: This project includes the widening and improvement of Lake Harbour Drive upgrading it to a five-lane roadway from U.S. 51 to Northpark Drive in Ridgeland.

Funding Requested: $9 million

Madison County Incubator System

Overview: MCEDA is taking a new proactive local approach to job creation by helping to foster entrepreneurship, research and development and commercialization of bio-medical technologies.

Funding Requested: $6.5 million

Flora Truck Route

Overview: This project includes creating a truck route to move heavy truck traffic away from downtown Flora. The existing Livingston Vernon Road would be upgraded and utilized as the truck route.

Funding Requested: Not Available

Trail system along Highway 22 from Canton to Flora

Overview: The Canton-Flora Mississippi 22 trail system would consist of approximately 14 miles of scenic shared-use trails linking the city of Canton to the Town of Flora.

Funding Requested: $6 million

West Madison Utility District water improvements

Overview: WMUD has only one working well, one storage tank and one inoperable reserve tank to service its large territory. There are no means to provide water during an emergency or system failure.

Funding Requested: $1.75 million for upgrades

West Madison Utility District sewer improvements

Overview: The WMUD sewer system is 30-plus years old and plagued by an undersized lagoon, ground water infiltration, and residual build up, low flow capacity and backing up into manholes and houses.

Funding Requested: $10.5 million for upgrades

Northeast Madison County Recreational Park

Overview: The county has purchased 62 acres of land and has begun clearing it to be used as a recreational park for the benefit of area residents.

Funding Requested: $1 million

By STEVEN G. WATSON
Associate Editor / Madison County Journal

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