Ozarks Transportation Organization sets new goals & looks for feedback

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) - The Ozarks Transportation Organization (OTO) is trying to make the way we travel around town safer, but they need the communities help.

Currently, a public comment period is open so people can weigh in on OTO's list of Safety and Transit Asset Management targets. Federal transportation law requires OTO set performance targets in several areas. A couple of their goals are reducing the number of fatalities by 9% and also reducing the number of serious injuries by 5%. These goals are a dual effort by both OTO and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).

The Ozarks Transportation Organization is federally designated to help state and local governments, and regional transportation and planning agencies, make decisions. They work on many areas of transportation across Southwest Missouri, including roads, pathways and sidewalks, railroads, and even parts of the airport.

Right now, they are encouraging everyone keep safety in ind while traveling in winter weather this season. "Just that everyone be safe, be aware of the workers on the side of the road, you know, when there's bad weather there's going to be some plow truck drivers out there," said Natasha Longpine, the Principal Planner with OTO. "We are really trying to get down those numbers of serious injuries and fatalities."

OTO is also looking for feedback on completed projects over the past year. Those interested can look at the Annual Listing of Obligated Projects (ALOP) and submit their comments. ALOP is essentially a list of projects that have gone on across Southwest Missouri over the past year. What sets these projects apart are they are obligated. When a project is obligated, that means it's been reassured to the agencies doing the projects that they'll be reimbursed with federal funds.

Longpine talked about what people can learn by participating. "Generally, this is not quite the same as being able to direct a project considering it is already done, but at the same time they can provide us feedback on what has been accomplished, or if they see something in the list that they have questions about, 'Oh I didn't realize this was something that had happened, can you tell me more about it,' and also, just going forward they can learn a little bit more about the process," she said.

Both public comment periods end at noon on Thursday, December, 20. People can visit https://giveusyourinput.org/category/public-comment/ to submit their comments online. They can also email comment@ozarkstransportation.org or fax in comments to 417-862-6013. Lastly, comments can be submitted in writing to Ozarks Transportation Organization, located at 2208 W. Chesterfield Blvd., Suite 101, in Springfield.

The OTO Board of Directors will review these topics and comments at the December 20 Board Meeting.