Regional trails, roads, transit tax proposed for Kansas City metro area

The KCStar is reporting today that a regional tax is being proposed for the Kansas City metro area that would include funding for roads, trails, and public transit.

The proposed tax would first have to be approved by both the Kansas and the Missouri legislatures. Then it would come before KC-area voters.

The choice of transit, trails and roads as regional issues is based on a combination of need and politicking.

“These investments make greater sense if we can do them on a regional scale,” said David Warm, executive director of the [Mid-America Regional Council]. . . .

The council has also been working several years on a connected, metrowide system of biking and hiking trails, called Metro Green. About 150 miles of trails currently exist, mostly along major creeks, and Metro Green's goal is for more than 1,000 miles.

Past public opinion polls done for the council have shown trails are popular in the suburbs. But as Tom Lovell, Lee's Summit's parks director and a member of the council's trails leadership board, put it: “Metro Green needs money.”
The Missouri Bicycle Federation will strongly support such a proposal if the roadway element includes "complete streets" language for routine inclusion of bicycle and pedestrian accommodation on roads, and the transit element includes routine accommodation of bicycles on transit.

Part 652.5 of the Federal-Aid Policy Guide states that "Consultation with local groups of organized bicyclists is to be encouraged in the development of bicycle projects." Bicyclists will be primary users of a trails system and are also an important group of users of the road system and transit system.

As such, organized bicycle advocacy groups such as the Greater Kansas City Bicycle Federation and the Missouri Bicycle Federation should be represented in the legislative process from the earliest possible time.