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Roundabout, interchange on table for city of Prineville

Roundabout on Hwys. 26 and 126 expected to be complete within five years, interchange on Tom McCall Road is 10-20 years out
Two transportation projects have been eyed for the City of Prineville.
   "There's only a couple of projects and we're working with the City of Prineville," said Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Peter Murphy.
   The city has its own transportation system plan and he said the state has the state transportation improvement program, or STIP.
   "And one of the future projects is that roundabout at (Highways) 26 and 126," Murphy said. "Then there's an interchange at 126 and the Millican-Tom McCall Road."
   Murphy said the roundabout is described as being done within a five-year period and the interchange is between 10 and 20 years out.
   "So neither one of these is a short-term project," Murphy emphasized. "The other is neither has funding identified and neither is in the STIP."
   He added that because neither has had projected funding, it's hard to determine how much they will be bid for.
   "Those are projects that were brought to us through our transportation system plan update that were needed projects to improve on our transportation infrastructure," said Prineville Mayor Mike Wendel. "And of course anything with transportation - the big elephant in the room is funding."
   "There's never enough transportation dollars to go around," Wendel said. "So we'll be looking to the state, we'll be looking to the federal government and we'll be looking to the county government to help fulfill those needs."
   Murphy commented on the likelihood that the two transportation proposals could be included in the STIP. He said projects are prioritized with regions and with ODOT officials in Salem.
   "It runs up the chain of command and has to be approved and endorsed by them in order to become part of the plan," he said.
   There's also the competition factor, as Murphy pointed out.
   "There's a lot of people who want projects. No question about it," Murphy said.
   Usually, gasoline tax money pays for transportation projects. The tax was set at 23 cents per gallon in 1994.
   "I suggest that if people see these as necessary projects, they begin the process of letting ODOT know about it," he said, suggesting they speak to the Prineville City Council about what they want. "I'm not telling them what to do, but it seems that with the endorsement of the council that would represent that there is a consensus of opinion in the community to move the project forward. It doesn't guarantee necessarily anything, but it's a good first step."