Transportation Task Force ready to hear possibilities

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

How would you like to see a four-lane expressway, stretching all the way from the Kansas-Nebraska border, through McCook, to Interstate 80 in North Platte?

The idea -- long talked about as a possibility along the route of U.S. Highway 83 -- is gaining momentum because of the increasing importance of trade connections between Mexico, the United States and Canada.

And -- because U.S. 83 is a direct link between Mexico and Canada in the center of the United States -- it is regarded as the optimum place to put a centrally located North American "land bridge corridor." If dreams are realized, the corridor could someday not only include an express highway, but also natural gas and water pipelines, an electrified railway, fiberoptic telecommunications cable lines, and a superconducting electricity transmission line.

Because of the idea's potential for improving trade and developing the Heartland of America, it will be among the topics discussed at a meeting Aug. 21 at the McCook College Mini-Theater.

The regional session has been called by Gov. Mike Johanns' Transportation Task Force to gather suggestions for a needs assessment of all forms of transportation, including highways, aviation, railways and public transportation.

The state transportation task force member from McCook, Linda Taylor, has called upon the chamber of commerce, the economic development corporation and the City of McCook for ideas to present at the meeting.

The U.S. 83 expressway is one of the proposals which will be presented. Also, the McCook agencies will put forth a suggestion that a north McCook road be created, connecting U.S. Highway 83 near the Work Ethic Camp to East 11th Street on the other side of McCook. As envisioned by Taylor and other community leaders, the north McCook road would provide a northern link, opening up residential and commercial development opportunities in the process.

Another idea for McCook is to improve Ravenswood Road in southeast McCook, making it better suited to serve the industries which locate in the McCook Industrial Park. If you have comments on these ideas, or have other projects to suggest, you are encouraged to attend the regional Transportation Task Force meeting, which will take place in three weeks -- Thursday, Aug. 21 -- at the McCook College Mini-Theater. At the urging of Gov. Johanns, the task force is looking towards the future. The ideas collected here will be considered at a state transportation conference, scheduled in Kearney in November. Then, in December, the task force will present its recommendations to the governor.

The time is now to prepare for the future of transportation. Be there, with your ideas, when the Transportation Task Force meets in McCook three weeks from Thursday.

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