Who is responsible for the success of the Katy Trail? And will the Rock Island Trail be a similar success? | MORIT newsletter Fall 2017

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The Katy, as we know it today, was nearly nothing at all. After the MKT Railroad decided to abandon their rail line from Machens to Sedalia in 1986, the question arose as to what should happen to the corridor. Was it valuable enough for the state to acquire for future use? What about the costs of conversion, liability, and maintenance?

Rail-trails and corridor banking were a new concept at the time, being the result of a 1983 federal act aimed at providing recreation while preserving strategic transportation assets. Through the act, disowned rail corridors could be banked for future infrastructure needs while offering ongoing utility and opportunity.

Many thanks are due to Missouri's forward-thinking advocates and political leaders of the time, such as Columbia Mayor, Darwin Hindman, and then Governor John Ashcroft, for being decisive leaders and voices for a multi-use, long-term vision. It was a contentious issue at the time, but the potential of the deal shone through, and in a narrow vote, the state decided to ensure itself long-term transportation options while capitalizing on present opportunities, acquiring the route.

MarkTwainoncewrote,“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes”, and in historical refrain, the Rock Island Trail, with all the same potential, finds itself in the very same situation as the Katy did 30 years ago. Mayor Hindman continues his tireless advocacy now for the Rock Island, and MoRIT’s state-wide member body has spread words of promise and the hope of bringing the Katy Trail’s successful model to their towns. All of these channels lead to the Governor's office, and we hope to share the same vision for a cross-state trail that attracts visitors, revitalizes Missouri’s small towns, and holds secure a valuable asset which strengthens the strategic position of state leadership long into the future.

MoBikeFed comment: This is just one small excerpt from the Missouri Rock Island Trail, Inc's beautiful Fall 2017 newsletter.

Please take a look at the entire issue:


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