Missouri Transportation Funding: 43 bicycle, pedestrian, trails organizations unite to ask legislators to support bicycling and walking

This summer, forty-three pedestrian, bicycle, trails, health, disability, and community organizations came together to send a united message to more than 400 Missouri elected officials and decision makers.

Missourians who walk and bicycle have a voice at the Capitol in Jefferson City
Missourians who walk and bicycle have a voice at the Capitol in Jefferson City

The sign-on letter went to Missouri legislators, members of Congress, Governor Nixon, MoDOT leadership, and transportation decision-makers across the state.

The letter makes the case for improving walking and bicycling as an important part of any transportation funding plan:

Missouri does not need extensive new or greatly expanded roads or highways. But Missouri does need to:

  • Maintain the road and highway system we have
     
  • Improve safety for all users of the road system
     
  • Add transportation choices--such as walking and bicycling--that far too often are simply not available to Missouri residents.

The letter makes specific requests to each official who received the letter, including:

  • Make access, connectivity, safety, and funding for people who choose to bicycle and walk an integral part of any solution to Missouri’s transportation funding problem.  Funding for roads and streets must include funding for safe, connected access for people of all abilities who choose to or need to walk and bicycle along and across those roads and streets.
     
  • Bring groups who represent the Missourians who walk and bicycle to the table and include us in the discussion about solutions to the funding issue.  We want to contribute to proposed solutions to the Missouri’s transportation funding problem.

Stay tuned as discussion on the Missouri transportation funding situation moves forward in coming months and years.  At key times, we'll be asking our members and supporters across the state to contact their own legislators with messages that support the goals outlined in the letter.

Organizations signing on the the letter

Many thanks to the organizations from across Missouri who united to sign the letter:

 

 

What is in the letter?

Below is the full text of the letter as sent to Missouri state legislators:

Weare a united coalition of organizations representing millions of Missourians who use our state’s transportation system to walk, run, hike, and bicycle.

Missouri’s transportation funding shortfall is a critical challenge in need of a solution.  As solutions are considered and developed, we want policymakers to recognize walking and bicycling are an important part of Missouri's transportation system. Walking and bicycling should be included in any transportation funding solution.

  • Walking and bicycling bring quantifiable economic benefits to Missouri. Recent research shows that bicycling and walking brings over $2.8 billion in consumer direct spend to Missouri’s economy, supports over 28,000 jobs, and brings $219 million in local and state tax revenue to the state.
     
  • Attention to creating and maintaining safe and pleasant walking and bicycling environments makes our communities better able to compete for business development and human resources on a national and global scale.
     
  • Cities and states around us are prioritizing safe connected access for the millions who regularly walk and bicycle. They are better positioned to attract businesses and individuals who value active living and a range of transportation.
     
  • Including safe spaces to walk and bicycle on existing corridors through our cities and towns is one of the most cost-effective transportation investments that can be made and adds incredible value to these existing transportation corridors.
     
  • Providing safe, connected places to walk and bicycle for people of all abilities creates opportunity and freedom of choice in transportation—opportunity for Missourians of all ages, levels of ability, and income levels to reach work, school, health care, shopping, and recreation using the form of transportation they choose.
     
  • Missouri does not need extensive new or greatly expanded roads or highways. But Missouri does need to:
    • Maintain the road and highway system we have
    • Improve safety for all users of the road system
    • Add transportation choices--such as walking and bicycling--that far too often are simply not available to Missouri residents.

These goals were identified and received broad mainstream support throughout the very comprehensive statewide public outreach effort undertaken by MoDOT during its Missouri On The Move public outreach effort.

The lack of safe, accessible places to walk and bicycle in Missouri communities is serious.  A recent Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services survey showed that:

  • 45.6% of Missourians have no sidewalks at all in their neighborhoods
     
  • 76.5% of Missourians have no safe place to bicycle in their community

As you are working to address Missouri’s transportation funding problem, we ask you to:

  • Make access, connectivity, safety, and funding for people who choose to bicycle and walk an integral part of any solution to Missouri’s transportation funding problem.  Funding for roads and streets must include funding for safe, connected access for people of all abilities who choose to or need to walk and bicycle along and across those roads and streets.
     
  • Bring groups who represent the Missourians who walk and bicycle to the table and include us in the discussion about solutions to the funding issue.  We want to contribute to proposed solutions to the Missouri’s transportation funding problem.

Thank you for considering this important issue.

Additional requests to specific leaders

Different groups of legislators and officials received additional asks, depending on their exact responsibilities.  For example, Governor Nixon and his staff received this additional request:

  • As you prioritize filling the open positions on the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, make support for an integrated multi-modal transportation system, meeting the needs of all Missourians, including those who drive, walk, bicycle, and use public transit, and accommodating Missourians of all levels of ability and disability, as one of the top selection criteria.

MoDOT leaders received this additional request:

  • Continue moving forward vigorously with MoDOT’s stated goal to give Missourians better transportation choices by expanding and improving bicycle and pedestrian options for people of levels of ability and disability throughout the state.

The Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission, which oversees MoDOT and is in the process of selecting a new MoDOT director, received this additional request:

  • As you choose the next MoDOT Director and other top MoDOT leadership positions, include support for an integrated multi-modal transportation system, meeting the needs of all Missourians, including those who drive, walk, bicycle, and use public transit, and accommodating Missourians of all levels of ability and disability, as one of the top selection criteria.

Missouri members of Congress and their staff, who are currently working on renewal of the multi-year federal transportation transportation re-authorization, received these additional requests:

  • Support increasing funding for pedestrian and bicycle programs back to SAFETEA-LU levels in the reauthorization bill.    

  • Support the unified agenda of national bicycle and pedestrian groups for the transportation reauthorization bill, including:

    • Specific provisions to improve safety for people who walk and bicycle.

    • A fix-it-first approach that makes better and more efficient use of our existing network of highways and public transportation. Making these systems more efficient includes making them safe and accessible for all users, including those of all ability levels who walk and bicycle.

    • Increasing multimodal choice throughout the transportation system; encouraging a Complete Streets approach at all levels of government, which creates accessibility for all roadway users including people of all abilities who choose to walk and bicycle.

    • Increasing local, community-level choice and control in setting transportation priorities.

 

A top priority of MoBikeFed's Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri is to create a strong, unified movement in support of bicycling, walking, and trails across Missouri.  Another top goal is to work to create a world-class bicycle and pedestrian transportation system across Missouri, including working towards needed funding to create a complete, safe, and accessible system than can be used by all Missourians.

In our regular surveys of our members and supporters, securing a fair share of funding for bicycling and walking in any transportation funding proposal has been repeatedly identified as among our members' very top priorities.

Your ongoing membership and generous financial support help turn our Vision into reality!

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