Marion, Monroe and Shelby county residents will see transportation-related projects come to fruition soon, thanks to recent payouts from the abolition of the U.S. Highway 36/Interstate 72 Corridor Transportation Development District.
Each county has received a $199,000 check as part of its share of excess sales taxes collected by the dissolved district, which was formed to build 52 miles of two more lanes on U.S. 36 from 8 miles west of Hannibal to Macon, creating a four-lane expressway.
Voters in Marion, Macon, Monroe and Shelby counties approved a half-cent sales tax in April 2005 to pay for the $34.3 million project, completed in 2010. The district's board of directors, comprising county commissioners, and mayors and presidents of local communities, voted in August 2017 to repeal the tax. Then in April 2018, voters formally abolished the district.
The district's remaining collected tax dollars are what have been equally distributed among the four counties. Here's a breakdown of how Marion, Monroe and Shelby counties are spending their checks:
Marion County Presiding Commissioner Lyndon Bode said the commission has placed the $199,000 into its cash reserves account for emergency transportation projects.
But if the county doesn't receive a federal transportation grant it's applied for, the money might go toward replacing the County Road 313 bridge near Taylor. The bridge dates back to 1929 and has deteriorated significantly over the years.
The cost to replace it is estimated at more than $1 million.
"Getting this money for transportation projects is great for not only the county, but also Northeast Missouri," Bode said. "We feel that by putting the money into our reserves account, this money will help defray the costs of transportation projects that benefit all residents of the county for years to come."
The Monroe County Commission took a mathematical approach to equally distributing its money among residents. Fifty percent of the money has been kept by the county for road and bridge work, and the other 50 percent is going to the county's five communities.
"We took the population of the county, divided it by the dollar amount and came up with a dollar amount per person," Presiding Commissioner Mike Minor said. "We then gave cities the money based on their population size."
The communities will apply the money toward transportation projects of their choice.
"They were pretty happy about getting this money, and we were happy to give it to them," Minor said.
The Shelby County Commission plans on using its funds to upgrade its 911 call system. Presiding Commissioner Glenn Eagan said the system is outdated and new technology has been needed for three or four years.
"We want to upgrade the building, the radios and call-taking equipment," Eagan said. "It was last upgraded in 2008, and 10 years later, it's time for another one. Receiving this money has worked out great for us for this project."
Eagan added that $3,000 also has been given to five of the six communities in the county. Shelbina received $4,000 because the commission holds its meetings there.