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Federal spending bill could help Starkville roads


Tim Pratt



The U.S. Senate''s pending vote on the omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal 2011 will have a direct impact on transportation in the city of Starkville. 


Included in the $1.1 trillion bill is a request for $850,000 to repave Airport Road and build a new access road from Highway 25 to George M. Bryan Field. The access road would begin across from the entrance to Cornerstone Industrial Park on Highway 25 and end on the west side of George Bryan Field, more than 200 yards away.  


The city of Starkville, Oktibbeha County, Mississippi State University and the Greater Starkville Development Partnership worked with Sen. Thad Cochran and other congressional leaders to submit the earmark request.  


"We''re hoping this will pass," Mississippi State President Dr. Mark Keenum said Wednesday during a round table meeting with city and county officials and GSDP President and CEO Jon Maynard. "We should know something possibly by the end of this week. It could be today. It''s pending, but the good news for our community is our request was included in this (bill)." 


"That''s something we all remain hopeful about," Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman said. "It would be a benefit to the community." 


The access road and Airport Road improvements are just two of the projects on which the city, Mississippi State University and Oktibbeha County are collaborating to improve transportation and infrastructure.  


As part of Mississippi State''s master plan, which will outline growth and other future issues, Keenum said university officials are looking into the expansion of mass transit into the city and nearby portions of Oktibbeha County. Buses already transport Mississippi State students around campus and into town, but an expansion of routes would help alleviate parking problems on campus as the university continues to grow, Keenum said.  


The university also is considering whether or not to construct a parking garage on campus, Keenum said, but talks are preliminary and no plans have been finalized. Possible sites include the area behind the YMCA, near Lee Boulevard and Barr Road, and near McCarthy Gymnasium, Keenum said.




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