Missouri Agencies Deciding on 10 Year Plan for $8 Billion – How You Can Help

In Advocacy, Featured Story, News by Brent HughLeave a Comment

For the first time in history, MoDOT is fully including bicycle and pedestrian projects and needs in its transportation planning process–a process that will decide $8 billion in spending over the next 10 years across Missouri. 

 

Missouri's 8 Metropolitan Planning Organizations

Missouri’s 8 Metropolitan Planning Organizations

How can you get involved to make your community better and safer for bicycling and walking?

We’ve been talking about it for year, but now it’s really happening: MoDOT’s transportation planning partners across Missouri are meeting and collecting citizen surveys to decide their priorities for spending the funds in the proposed $8 billion, 10 year Missouri transportation plan.

Whether or not the proposed new funding passes, these sessions will set future priorities for MoDOT across the state for years to come.

And–this represents our best opportunity in a lifetime to encourage MoDOT create better safety and access for people like us who bicycle and walk.

What can you do?

  • Look up your local planning agency in the chart below.  Note that people in or near larger cities may have two agencies–one for your immediate metro area and another for the rural area surrounding it. Whether you’ll want to contact one or both depends on where you live, work, travel, etc.
  • Follow the links to fill out public surveys or attend meetings
  • If your agencies don’t have a survey or meetings listed, contact them to ask what their plan is and indicate your support for including biking, walking, and trails in their transportation priorities
  • Check your area’s deadlines–some are very soon!–and get feedback to them before the deadline if possible.
  • Most agencies will be posting their proposed lists of project priorities on their main websites soon. Check back and be ready to give feedback on their proposed priorities.  Do proposed plans and priorities provide the safe, connected, convenient bicycle and pedestrian networks Missouri communities need? Biking and walking is 5-10% of trips in Missouri and 14% of roadway injuries. Are biking and walking receive the priority needed to make Missouri a healthy, livable, and economically competitive state?
  • Even if your area’s public meetings and/or surveys are finished, it is still very worthwhile to contact your agency. Lists are being created this spring and finalized by summer–so there may still time to be involved in the process, suggest a specific project, receive updates as the process moves forward, or get involved in future work.
  • What should you ask for?  We have created a guide to working with your agency and list of ideas for bike/ped project suggestions.
  • But I don’t support the tax increase! Any tax increase in Missouri is a controversial issue and many people, organizations, and agencies will oppose it.  But Missouri’s statewide transportation funding system is facing a very serious crisis right now, and some funding plan is almost certain to be passed either this year or some time in the near future.  The priorities we are setting now are going to set a precedent for any future solution to Missouri’s transportation funding problem.

    If biking, walking, and trails are left out of this new Missouri transportation funding plan–as they have been from out statewide transportation funding for the past century–it will be another generation before we have another chance to remedy the situation.

    So we suggest: Whatever your position on the tax increase, please still get involved in letting our planning agencies know our real bicycle and pedestrian needs across the state, because these set the stage for this and all potential future funding proposals.

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Brent Hugh

Dr. Brent D. Hugh has two bachelor's degrees and three graduate degrees in the fields of mathematics and music performance from Brigham Young University, Utah State University, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music. He has been webmaster, president, and now Executive Director of the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation. Under his leadership, MoBikeFed has grown from an organization with a few dozen members and $500 annual budget to the current membership of over 1400 active members and over $200,000 budget. MoBikeFed is a statewide advocacy organization that works to make the state a better, safer place to walk and bicycle.

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