Missouri's $8 billion transportation funding proposal: Will it include bike/ped? Let MoDOT know at Listening Sessions across Missouri, Feb 5 - Apr 11

This week, Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission Chair Rudy Farber announced an $8 billion, ten-year Missouri Transportation Funding plan.  House and Senate bills have now been introduced--details here.

Currently dollars from Missouri's state road fund cannot be used for bike/ped projects. If we are looking for the single most important reason Missouri's roads, highways, and communities over the past century have been built to exclude safe bicycling and walking--that's it. 

Waiting for MoDOT by Zaskem on FlickR
Waiting for MoDOT by Zaskem on FlickR

This new Missouri transportation funding source gives us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to dramatically change that situation for the better. 

You can make a real difference for bicycling and walking in Missouri by attending these Listening Sessions and speaking up in the small group discussion sessions about your priorities for improving conditions for bicycling and walking in Missouri.

What is being proposed--so far so good

Early indications, based on our meetings with members of the House and Senate Transportation Committee this week, are that the legislation will do what it needs to and what we have been asking, in years of meetings with MoDOT and elected officials:

  • It will, for the first time, allow state transportation funds to be used for all transportation needs, including bicycling, walking, and transit
  • It will put much more of the transportation decision-making power in the hands of local communities, who are far more likely to understand and support the diverse needs of citizens in their communities

MoDOT's Listening Sessions and proposed project lists--it's vital to include bike/ped, and you can help

Now it's time for MoDOT to step up and do what they need to--and they are doing that by holding a series of "Listening Sessions" all over the state.  They are asking local officials and citizens to let them know what our transportation system should look like--and what projects they should propose to be funded and built by this new funding.

The project lists will be the best single indication of what MoDOT is planning to do with their billions of dollars--and whether bicycle & pedestrian projects will receive their fair share of this transportation funding.

Please consider attending the MoDOT Listening Session in your area.

What are Listening Sessions like? What can you ask for?

Listening Sessions consist mostly of small group discussion.  You'll work with a few others around your table to help MoDOT develop a vision, a direction, and specific projects for the new funding.  MoDOT's On The Move FAQ covers the basics of what will happen at a Listening Session and a summary of the first Listening Session held in Columbia is here.

What you can ask for at the Listening Session:

  1. Consider using phrases like:  
  • Can we balance highway maintenance with the need to invest in more efficient multimodal options?"
  • With the cost of maintenance rising, we must be cautious about building new infrastructure which will add to future maintenance bills.
  • Improving transit, bicycle, and pedestrian facilities are low-cost ways to address many congestion problems.
  1. Want to get a bit wonky? Mention VMT reduction, Traffic Demand Management, or Least-Cost Planning.  This are all far more sophisticated and effective ways to address transportation spending and priorities than MoDOT currently uses.
    Complete Street in a city
    Complete Street in a city
  2. Bike/ped in every project: Every proposed road or highway project should included bicycle and pedestrian elements as needed and appropriate--ie, sidewalks, crosswalks, shoulders, bike lanes. Not every road needs these elements--but every road that needs them, should include them.
  3. Special bike/ped projects you would like to see?  Mention them. Biking and walking has been underfunded in Missouri for at least 75 years.  This new funding initiative puts bike/ped projects on equal footing with other transportation projects.  How will MoDOT ensure the small but vitally important bike/ped projects are built and not overlooked?
  4. MoDOT should update its outdated bicycle policy and design standards: MoDOT has worked hard to improve their internal pedestrian and ADA policies.  But MoDOT's internal bicycle policy still needs updating. Can MoDOT get its bicycle policy updated before this new funding proposal comes to a vote?  One reason issues like the 2013 bicycle ban legislation still show up is MoDOT designers are confused about what proper bicycle facilities belong in what location or circumstances.  A really good, comprehensive bicycle policy and design standards could improve this situation a lot.
  5. Bike/Ped in MoDOT's Long-Range Plan: MoDOT's upcoming Long-Range Plan should include a complete section on bike/ped and develop a prioritized list of high priority bicycle and pedestrian projects of statewide importance.  This was a lesson learned from MoDOT's most recent Long-Range Plan (2007), which mentioned bike/ped only in passing, and MoBikeFed's High Priority Bike/Ped ADA Project List, which very clearly identified a need.
  6. Propose specific, most-needed, bike/ped projects for MoDOT's project list: You can submit project ideas directly to MoDOT here. The main purpose of the listening Sessions is to develop a project list.  What exactly is MoDOT planning to do with this $8 billion in new funding?  This project list will give the answer. So it is essential that bike/ped receive it's fair share of projects on this list--we should be looking at between 6.5% and 15% of total funding for bike/ped. So, think about the most important, most vital, most needed bicycle and pedestrian projects on MoDOT roads and highways in your area (most roads with letters or numbers are MoDOT roads, every city has some and most often they are the main roads in the area--Route C, Highway 40, US 69, Interstate 35).  What roads and bridges are missing sidewalks, missing crosswalks, missing shoulders, missing bike lanes? Suggest those projects to MoDOT.  Bike/Ped/ADA Project list and ideas are here.

How to attend a MoDOT Listening Session

If you want to attend and speak at a MoDOT Listening Session, you must RSVP online.

Full list of planned Listening Sessions: 

Missouri Highway with shoulders
Missouri Highway with shoulders

Feb. 5                         Columbia
Feb. 19                       Cape Girardeau
Feb. 21, 26, 28            St. Louis/St. Charles
March 5                       Joplin
March 7                       Springfield
March 12, 13, 14          Kansas City
March 19                     Lebanon
March 21                     Poplar Bluff
April 3                         Kirksville
April 4                         Hannibal
April 9                         Maryville
April 11                       St. Joseph 

Find out more about the MoDOT Listening Sessions here.

 

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