Municipalities and other government and public agencies in Southwest Missouri have about a month to apply to the Missouri Department of Transportation for a share of the $1.9 million available for projects ranging from bicycle and walking trails to historic preservation efforts.

Known as Transportation Enhancement funding, the federal money is routed to the states every couple of years. This $1.9 million is available for MoDOT’s District 7, which includes Barry, Barton, Dade, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald, Newton and Vernon counties, as well as several other counties.

Among the projects that have been paid for in the past with the federal enhancement funding are improvements to the Ruby Jack Trail, a rails-to-trails project that, when finished, will run from Carthage to the Kansas state line, and the paved Turkey Creek Trail, which connects the Frisco Greenway Trail to the intersection of Newman Road and Florida Avenue, said Scott Bachman, district planning manager for MoDOT.

“We’ve also done trails through Landreth Park and some trails associated with the Audubon nature center in Wildcat Park,” he said.

According to MoDOT, applications must contain a commitment of a 20 percent local funding match and cannot exceed $300,000 per application.

“The applications are due to our office by 4 p.m. on Sept. 29,” Bachman said.

All applications also must contain a commitment to have the proposed work ready for construction by Nov. 9, 2011. “If it’s sooner, that’s great,” Bachman said.

The applications will be evaluated by a committee including representatives from the Harry S Truman Coordinating Council, the Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission, the Southwest Missouri Council of Governments and the Joplin Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Possibilities

Many activities are eligible for enhancement funding, including:

-- Trail building and safety and education programs for pedestrians and bicyclists.

-- Preservation of abandoned railway corridors.

-- Acquisition of scenic easements, and scenic or historic sites.

-- Landscaping and beautification, and elimination of outdoor advertising.

-- Reducing water pollution as a result of highway runoff.

-- Archaeological planning and research.

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