For local governments, and even in the upper levels of government, there always are challenges. Thoughts emerge when thinking about the many challenges.
The first that comes to mind is the Highway 47 corridor between Washington and St. Clair, the connection between Interstate 70 and Interstate 44. As all Franklin Countians know, the congestion between Washington and Union is the most critical. The two lanes are outdated for today’s traffic.
If it is going to be improved to four lanes in the near future, it’s going to take cost-sharing with the state. If that doesn’t happen, the project will remain way down on the list of planned state improvements. The reason is the lack of funds for state transportation projects.
A cost-sharing project means raising a tremendous amount of money. If that path is to be followed, Franklin County and the cities served directly by the highway are going to have to take the lead. It’s a major challenge. There is a Highway 47 Corridor Committee that commissioned a study of the present conditions and future needs. The study was paid for by the county, the three cities on the highway and road districts. The study will be the subject of future news stories. It recently was completed.
Also on the county’s agenda is the building of improvements to the jail and 911 dispatching center. That’s a multimillion dollar project. The need was well outlined to the people, and a sales tax was approved to finance the work. The tax also will fund law enforcement officers’ pay increases.
Union will build a new city hall and Washington will move forward on a new swimming pool. The cities have other projects on their agendas.
The year 2019 promises to be eventful. County and municipal officials will be busy. The public will view how they meet the responsibilities of their offices. They can’t please everybody. That’s impossible. Regardless of what they do, there will be critics.