Capitol Day 2017: Rock Island Trail, Transportation Funding, Loose Dogs, Distracted Driving - our top legislative priorities for April 10th

Bicycle and Pedestrian Day at the Capitol is coming up soon--Monday, April 10th, 2017.  What are the most important legislative issues we are working on--and that participants will be discussing with their state legislators Monday?

Economic importance of bicycling, walking, and trails to Missouri

One of the most important reasons we advocate for more bicycling, walking, and trails in Missouri--and a reason that every elected official can understand--is because they are important to our economy.

Thanks to the (wonderful!) Adventure Cycling Association for sharing their bicycle tourism brochure with us so that we could make a Missouri-specific version for use on Capitol Day, we have a beautiful brochure we will share with Missouri legislators Monday that makes these important points:

  • Bicycle Tourism generates $71 billion annually ($2.8 billion economic direct spend in Missouri)--and the market is growing
     
  • Touring bicyclists stay longer and spend more--they stay 3 days longer and spend $240 more than the average tourist
     
  • Trails typically generate an annual economic return about equal to the initial, one-time cost of construction
     
  • Trails help sustain small businesses in cities and towns all along the trail
     
  • The longer the trail system, the further people will travel to visit it--and the longer they stay. That is why Rock Island Trail State Park is so important to Missouri--because the a statewide trail loop system longer than any other in the nation will attract more tourists to travel further, stay longer, and spend more.

HB 698: Acquisition of new State Parks lands – Rock Island Trail (Rep. Pietzman)

We strongly support the creation of the new Rock Island Trail State Park, which together with the Katy Trail State Park will create an internationally significant 500+ mile statewide trail loop and tourism destination in Missouri.

Rock Island Trail communities have been working for the creation of the trail for over 25 years because of the important economic benefits it will bring the Rock Island communities.

Ameren is poised to donate the Rock Island corridor to the state of Missouri. The Committee Sub for HB 698 would prevent the state from accepting this valuable donation.

Amendments are in preparation for HB 698 that will allow the state to receive the Rock Island corridor donation. We strongly support these amendments and strongly oppose HB 698 unless it includes the amendment(s) required to solve this problem.

Unlike other recent controversial new State Parks, Rock Island Trail State Park is strongly supported by the affected communities.

HCR 47: A Task Force on State Transportation Funding (Rep. Corlew)

We strongly support work to find the right transportation funding solution for Missouri.

Walking, bicycling, and transit are basic transportation needs in Missouri and state funding for these transportation modes has been too long neglected.

We strongly support inclusion of representatives of organizations representing Missourians who walk, bicycle, and use public transportation in the Task Force

HB 1134: Dogs causing serious injury when on public property (Rep. McDaniel)

Dogs running out in front of bicyclists injure 450 Missourians annually—counting only those injuries serious enough to require an emergency room visit. This is one of the top six causes of injury to people who bicycle.

Just the out-of-pocket medical costs for those emergency room visits total $1.4 million annually.

Other Missourians are seriously injured by dog bites and attacks by loose dogs on public property.

An unfortunate loophole in current Missouri law means that owners are not responsible when their animals seriously injure someone, when the animal is on public property.

HB 1134 closes that loophole by making dog owners responsible for serious injuries caused by their animals, if the animal is on public property. We strongly support HB 1134.

Distracted Driving / Hands Free Electronic Device Use / Fair Fare Passenger Safety Act

Texting while driving and driving while distracted are a major preventable cause of injuries and fatalities on Missouri roads. Missouri is one of just four states that still allows texting while driving.

We strongly support legislation to ban distracted driving practices, including texting while driving, and to require hands-free use of electronic devices while driving.

HB 293 (Higdon), the Fair Fare Passenger Safety Act, applies these prohibitions to paid drivers, which is a good step forward. HB 293 was passed by the House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee on a 9-1 vote.

2017 bills include HB 312 (Walker); HB 546 (Hansen); SB 165 (Schupp); HB 378 (Brown); SB 253 (Nasheed); HB 293 (Higdon)

 

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Working for more, better, safer bicycling, walking, and trails in Missouri is the ultimate goal of MoBikeFed's Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri. Working on legislative initiatives that help us accomplish those goals is important part of making that Vision a reality.

Your ongoing membership and generous financial support helps make Capitol Day possible and help make our Vision become reality.

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