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MDOT to hold open meeting

The Mississippi Department of Transportation is settingpriorities for projects to be completed by 2012 and has opened upthe process for the public to comment on their needs, officialssaid.

Ray Valentine, director of intermodal planning at MDOT, said adraft plan of projects has been determined, but the agency islooking for community comments and even input about projects thatshould be considered.

“This is an insight for us to see what they feel is important,”he said. “This is an opportunity for the public to tell us whatthey would like to see in their area.”

Draft copies of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan(STIP) are available online at www.goMDOT.com or the BrookhavenMDOT District 7 office on Highway 84.

MDOT is also holding open meetings on STIP Tuesday in Jackson atthe Regency Hotel and Conference Center and Thursday at theHattiesburg Cultural Center. The first public meeting was held lastweek in Oxford.

The open meetings are new this year, Valentine said, and couldbe considered a pilot program.

“We’ve not done open meetings before, so this is to gauge theresponse,” he said.

A good response to meeting this year could mean an expandedmeeting schedule next year, Valentine said.

He said because of its pilot status, only a few meetings werescheduled and admitted it may be difficult for residents of someareas to attend them.

However, anyone wishing to comment on the STIP may do so bysubmitting a form available at the Web site or by picking up a format their local MDOT office and mailing it to the providedaddress.

STIP is considered the state’s mid-range construction plan,Valentine said, and covers projects to be done between 2007 and2012.