SEMPO grant precursor to “Safety Action Plan”

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – Last week, the Southeast Metropolitan Planning Organization, or “SEMPO”, received a $160,000 grant to help them develop a comprehensive safety action plan… 

SEMPO Executive Director Alex McElroy says it was a highly competitive application process.

“We were excited that it was competitive and that we were viewed upon favorably by the grant reviewers, and once completed, it’s going to put our members in a good position then to compete for capital construction grants that would address safety issues in our area, so it’s kind of a win-win for everybody,” said McElroy.

The money stems from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law in November 2021, specifically a section called “Safe Streets and Roads for All.”

SEMPO will identify areas that they feel should be addressed, such as accident-prone intersections and places where pedestrians intermingle with vehicle traffic, and develop a plan to make those areas safer… 

Added McElroy: “It’s going to keep me busier during the year. I gave my board a heads-up that on top of the planning funds and the projects we undertake within a given fiscal year, we’re going to have this on top of it, so it’ll be a little bit busier for us, but it’s more of an exciting, happy busy than it is burdensome.” 

McElroy says SEMPO’s plan will share some similar characteristics with Missouri’s “Show-Me Zero” program, the strategic highway safety plan.

“I have no doubt we’ll be using the state’s action plan as kind of a model in the development of our plan, but ours is going to be much more specific to the SEMPO region,” said McElroy.

McElroy says there is a motto he and his team follow when it comes to planning… 

Concluded McElroy: “Transportation planning can be very future-oriented, so we try to go by the motto, ‘If we’re planning for what we have, we’re behind the curve.’” 

SEMPO will look to stay ahead of the curve in developing their safety action plan.

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