The US Department of Transportation has confirmed in a letter to Gerald Miller of Muskogee that it did receive an application from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation for a grant to help pay for the proposed bypass of Muskogee by US 69.
“An application for this project was submitted to the United States of Transportation the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development Transportation Discretionary Grant Program,” Finch Fulton, deputy assistant secretary of the DOT wrote.
The letter did not say where in the process of approval the grant request is, but the fact that one was made indicates the Oklahoma department is pushing forward with the plans.
The proposed bypass would reroute US 69 from its current location on 32nd Street through the west side of town. The new route would take the highway closer to 54th Street, starting at the Summit exit in the south and ending near the Arkansas River bridge in the north.
UPDATE 3:50 P.M.: The Oklahoma Department of Transportation says the US Department of Transportation is wrong about the grant application. According to Kenna Mitchell, Public Information Manager for Division 8 of the Oklahoma DOT:
It appears the USDOT gave Mr. Miller incorrect info, as we didn’t apply for a BUILD grant for the proposed US-69 improvement project.
Our agency only submitted two applications for this round of BUILD Grants, for projects on I-35 in McClain County and also on SH-28 in Mayes County.
There were applications from the Muskogee area by:
· The City of Muskogee for a “Muskogee Main Street Connection Complete Streets Project OK”
· The Port of Muskogee for a rail improvement project (our agency is a partner on this project). This project was awarded $5,789,210.
While we’re not sure exactly what happened, the USDOT appears to have incorrectly thought one of these was connected to the project Mr. Miller was inquiring with them about. We are asking the USDOT to make a correction with Mr. Miller directly, as our agency didn’t submit a grant application for US-69.