The Permian Basin Metropolitan Planning Organization hosted one of their five public workshops to gather input from the public on their priorities for their new 25-year transportation plan.
MPO’s 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan consists of various transportation projects intended to reflect the needs and priorities the community of Midland and Odessa would like to see implemented over the next 25 years, from 2020 to 2045.
The organization deals with investing in transportation improvements big and small such as installing traffic signals, widening shoulders and building interchanges, as well as pedestrian and bike routes and transit systems.
“Ultimately, the people’s opinions tie into the decisions that are made to improve the network around here,” MPO Executive Director Cameron Walker said during the Thursday meeting. “If you can get people and goods through a region better and safer, what you’ve done in the long run is affected the economic value of it.”
During the meetings, members of the public have voiced their priorities for what areas they would like to see invested in by MPO. The four most popular options so far have been the maintaining of roads, reduced congestion, safety improvements and economic development.
“What we’re seeing still is the dominance of people’s choices for investing in the transportation system are geared around the highways,” Walker said. “However, we are glad to see there’s some funding suggestions tied to bicycle and pedestrian facilities as well.”
Walker said the public has also voiced that safety is extremely important to them, which he said MPO wasn’t surprised by.
Don Bonifay, one of the few people who showed up to the workshop, said his two largest concerns were safety and the capacity of highways and roads.
“Speeds are a lot higher than they used to be, so safety is a major issue,” Bonifay said. “Not just for highways and roads, but here in the city itself.”
There will be two more public hearings in Midland next week for the public to voice their priorities: One will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday at the EZ-Rider Administration Building, 10300 Younger Rd., and another one from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 2300 Butternut Lane.