HB 698, preventing creation of any new State Parks, passes MO House - but with Amendment allowing Rock Island Trail State Park

HB 698, sponsored by Rep. Pietzman of Troy, has just passed the Missouri House by a voice vote. The bill prevents Missouri State Parks from purchasing any new land until all current deferred maintenance is up to date.

HB 698 would have stopped any new state parks--including the Rock Island Trail--but a friendly amendment saved the trail

As we warned in a previous article, and discussed with legislators yesterday at our annual Capitol Day, HB 698 as originally drafted would have prevented State Parks from accepting the 144 miles of the Rock Island railroad corridor that Ameren is prepared to donate to Missouri State Parks later this year.

That is the bad news. Now the good news:

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Capitol Day 2017: Citizens visit the Capitol with messages about trails, safe roads, importance of bicycle, pedestrian, and trails funding in Missouri

Supporters of bicycling, walking, and trails in Missouri visited Missouri's Capitol Monday for the 14th annual Bicycle & Pedestrian Day at the Capitol.

We held our annual legislators ride and rally and visited the office of every Missouri state elected official with an information packet about our legislative priorities for 2017.

News media from around the state covered Monday's event. The Jefferson City News-Tribune wrote:

The advocacy efforts of the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation's Capitol Day on Monday centered around four issues — the foremost was support for an anticipated expansion of the Rock Island Trail, likely threatened by a bill to limit acquisition of land for state parks.

"It's an amazing investment in rural communities we don't want to miss," the federation's Executive Director Brent Hugh said of the trail's expansion.

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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:

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Kansas City voters approve $600 million bond package for complete streets; St Louis approves MetroLink expansion

In recent years, voters across the nation have proven they are willing to approve major infrastructure initiatives if they include public transportation, bicycling, walking, and trails. 

Tuesday we saw that the trend holds true in Missouri as well: Kansas City voters passed a $600 million "Complete Streets" bonding package by an overwhelming marging, and St. Louis voters approved a half-cent sales tax for MetroLink expansion and other infrastructure improvements.

Kansas City's new infrastructure proposal gives emphasis to Complete Streets, sidewalks, bike lanes, trails, and accessibility

The Kansas City Star summarized the Kansas City bond issues that passed Tuesday:

For years, Kansas City residents have pleaded for better roads, bridges, sidewalks and flood control. On Tuesday, voters put those community priorities ahead of individual pocketbook concerns and approved a massive, $800 million infrastructure package and the property tax increases to help pay for it.

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Missouri Municipal Elections Tues, April 4th, 2017: Voter guide - Find your polling place, ballots, candidates, issues

Missouri's municipal elections are being held across the state on Tuesday, April 4th, 2017.

"I bicycle - I walk - I run and I vote" is one of the most powerful statements we can make to any elected leader, in our work to make Missouri a better, safer place to walk and bicycle.

So whatever your party, whoever your candidates, whatever your issues, please get out and VOTE on Tuesday, April 4th.

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