Speak out: What local road construction projects should be a priority?

Some of the Dayton-areas’s busiest roads are in need of repairs and repaving that will require millions of dollars in funding to complete.

Area cities and counties have submitted transportation proposals to the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, a local conduit for federal transportation dollars, seeking funding for the projects.

Now the commission wants to hear from area people who use these roadways. A public meeting is set for 4 p.m. Nov. 8 to discuss the proposals before MVRPC staff and board members prioritize the projects.

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Local projects include resurfacing a section of busy North Fairfield Road in Beavercreek near the Mall at Fairfield Commons; resurfacing of a portion of Wilmington Pike in Centerville near the giant Cornerstone retail center; rebuilding part of Salem Avenue in Dayton; and the replacement of 10 RTA buses. And much more.

The projects all affect quality of life and business.

“That’s why we’re all in transportation planning,” said Brian Martin, MVRPC executive director. “Quality of life is huge.”

In all, local municipalities have requested 42 projects that would require $33.5 million in federal funds — but only $15 million for surface transportation projects is available, said Paul Arnold, MVRPC manager of short range programs.

“That’s typical, “Arnold said. “STP (surface transportation projects) is usually our most competitive source of funds.”

Said Carol Graff, a Beavercreek Twp. trustee and the chairwoman of MVRPC, “We always have limited resources.”

The MVRPC’s big task is prioritizing. To help with that, commission staff wants to hear from citizens. And their input is valued, Arnold said.

“I think the people should have the opportunity (to comment), although very few people do take that opportunity, unless it (an idea) is controversial,” Graff said.

Criteria for the projects include: What helps traffic flow best and what’s in the best interest of the region as a whole, she said.

“Our staff is going through each and every one of these projects and doing our own scoring of them,” Arnold said.

It’s an annual process: Staff will rank projects, then present that ranking to the MVRPC board, with a final of list adopted in March.

The city of Dayton has requested funds for the fifth phase of the reconstruction of Salem Avenue. But it also seeks funds for a widening of Wayne Avenue from Wyoming Street to Waldo Avenue, and a resurfacing of Webster Street from East Third Street to East Monument Avenue.

Franklin has requested improvements to North and South Dixie Highway. Kettering has applied for a resurfacing of East David Road from Ackerman Boulevard to Wilmington Pike. Vandalia has applied for the rebuilding of Northwoods Boulevard from North Dixie Drive to Interstate 75.

“The process allows each jurisdiction to come forth with what they would like to see to improve the network within their jurisdiction,” Graff said.

Graff pointed to the recent remaking of Interstate 75 through downtown Dayton as an example of how transportation projects affect lives.

“75 has been the most ambitious and the most advantageous (project) to the region in recent years — and it’s been the most costly,” Graff said.

The state receives federal transportation dollars, which then splits the money into budgets for organizations like MVRPC.

The public meeting will be 4 to 6 p.m. Nov. 8 at MVRPC offices, 10 N. Ludlow St., off Courthouse Square in downtown Dayton, Suite 700.

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