Oxford infrastructure projects presented in D.C.

Published 11:30 am Sunday, April 2, 2023

By Robyn Tannehill
Guest Columnist

It was an honor to represent our community in Washington, DC this week. Building relationships with our State and Federal leaders has been a priority over the past six years. We are incredibly blessed to have strong representatives serving in key committee roles within the House and Senate.

Oxford is a thriving community. You have heard me say before that we are victims of our own success in some ways. This is the case when it comes to the perception that we are doing so well, we don’t need help. Our growth presents great opportunities but there are also challenges that come with being located in the fastest growing county in the State percentage wise. 

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We shared that story this week along with identifying the reasons why investing in Oxford is beneficial to the entire state.

We made sure that they understood the difficulties of 28,000 tax payers footing the bill for water and sewer infrastructure to support more than 200,000 people flushing the toilets some weekends. 

We gave examples of our stressed road infrastructure that accommodates 60,000 people most days of the week. We made sure they realized that in 1998, we had 3,800 water customers and today we have close to 17,000.

We made several specific requests this trip:

We asked for $5M to expand the University Avenue/Highway 7 interchange project to include a connector road from Pegues Road into Oxford Commons. The University Avenue/Highway 7 interchange project is nearing the end of the design phase. Yes, I know it seems like these road projects take forever. They do. We refer to this as “the speed of government” which is similar to the speed of a snail.

We asked for $5 million for design and construction of regional water supply improvements for the City of Oxford’s WRDA- authorized Section 219 Environmental Infrastructure (EI) program in the FY 2024 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill.

We also requested a congressionally-directed funding provision in the amount of $2.5M within the Economic Development Initiatives account of the FY 2024 THUD Appropriations Bill to provide for renovation, capital improvements and historic preservation of the Oxford Park Commission Community Facility (Old Teen Center) located under the blue water tower.

In addition to meeting with Senator Roger Wicker, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and Congressman Trent Kelly and their staffs, we had the privilege of meeting with members of Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s staff at the Federal Department of Transportation to discuss our application for a federal grant to improve Jackson Avenue West from Gertrude Ford Drive to Highway 6. 

We met with staff at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to discuss future expansions of our water supply system. I had the privilege of meeting legislators in key positions who will be making congressionally directed funding decisions including Missouri Congressman Sam Graves who serves as Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

If you happen to see Roger Wicker Cindy Hyde-Smith or Representative Trent Kelly thank them for supporting key infrastructure initiatives that directly help advance community and economic development in the greater Lafayette-Oxford-University (LOU) community.

We are stronger together. 

Write to Mayor Robyn Tannehill at robyn@oxfordms.net