HJR 68, historic $6 billion Missouri Transportation Funding Plan that fully includes bicycling and walking, passes Missouri General Assembly & heads for Missouri voters

By a vote of 105 to 45, the Missouri House has just passed HJR 68, the historic Missouri Transportation Funding Plan.  Now it will go before Missouri voters in November or August (at Governor Nixon's discretion). If passed by voters, it will be the first time in history that Missouri state transportation funding can be used for bicycling, walking, transit, and all other Missouri transportation needs. 

The Missouri General Assembly has approved the $6 billion state funding plan
The Missouri General Assembly has approved the $6 billion state transportation funding plan, first in Missouri history to fully integrate bicycling and walking. Voters will get the final say on the plan in November.

This measure does not require spending on bicycling, walking, transit, or any other particular element.  Rather, it allows spending on those items.  The top impediment to better bicycling and walking in Missouri over the past century has been that the Constitution prohibits current Missouri transportation funding from being spent on bicycling, walking, transit--or any other item than roads and bridges for automobiles.

So the proposal does not guarantee any funding for bicycling and walking.  But it creates the the biggest opportunity for Missouri bicycling and walking in a century.  Your membership and generous support has helped create this opportunity--and we will need it over the new years to ensure that we take full advantage of this opportunity and this new potential that we have been seeking for a century.

The measure has now passed both the Missouri House and the Senate and will appear on the November 2014 ballot. At that time, Missouri voters will have the final say on whether the 3/4 cent sales tax will pass into law.

What changed this session?

What is next?

  • MoDOT's regional transportation planning partners have already started work on the project lists for the upcoming 10-year period that this proposal will fund--approximately $5.4 billion in funding 
    MoDOT's regional transportation planning partners are working to decide project
    MoDOT's regional transportation planning partners are working to decide project lists and priorities right now.
  • MoDOT & its planning partners will finalize those project lists some time over the summer
  • We need to ensure that those lists include a fair share for bicycling and walking and that road and bridge projects include needed bike/ped elements
  • Cities and counties each receive 5% of the new funding and they, too, will be deciding their projects and priorities for the funding
  • Missouri voters will vote on the transportation funding proposal in the November 2014 election (the Governor does have the discretion to move the election to a different date by calling a special election; it is unlikely this will happen)

Highlights from House floor discussion of HJR 68 today

Discussion of HJR 68 on the House floor today consisted mostly of discussion and Q&A with the bill's sponsor, Rep. Dave Hinson of St. Clair.  No on spoke in opposition to the Resolution. Here are some of the highlights:

Rep. Dave Hinson
Rep. Dave Hinson

  •  5% of funding goes to cities, 5% to counties--so this benefits statewide transportation but also each county and each city
  • Investment in transportation insfrastructure has a 27-fold return on investment
  • How will the state transportation funds be distributed? Hinson: They will be distributed according to the current MoDOT funding formula.  The proposal will benefit both urban and rural areas.
  • What are MoDOT's plans to spend the funds? Hinson: Each of MoDOT's regional transportation planning partners will release a project and priorities list.  They will release the list after the legislative session, however, so that the list does not become politicized.
  • Bob Burns, St Louis City/County: What about alternatives like light rail? Hinson: This plan does allow funding for those options.  Many people in urban areas and young people want to have alternatives to driving.  This proposal helps support that.
  • Nate Walker, Adair County: Infrastructure improvements, economic development, and safety are important.  He was formerly MoDOT Highway Safety Director.  We have reduced automobile fatalities in Missouri significantly over the past decade because of the emphasis on safety.
  • Chris Kelly, Columbia: Are my bicycle peeps OK with this?  Hinson: Yes. Kelly: Then he is pleased to support the proposition.  [This is in reference to the work to defeat the anti-bicycle amendment to HJR 68.  Kelly and other House Democrats led the charge to defeat the amendment.  At Bicycle & Pedestrian Day at the Capitol, Kelly printed and distributed stickers with a bicyclist and a slogan, "Support the Peeps!"]
  • What is the equivalent in fuel tax to the 3/4 sent sales tax? Hinson: It would be about a 25-28 cent fuel tax increase to raise the same amount of money as the 3/4 cent sales tax.  
  • This is the best option that has been put forward and the only one that we have seen that has a chance of passing a vote of the people in Missouri.

The measure was truly agreed to and finally passed by a vote of 105 for, 43 against.  It had significant bipartisan support from both Republican and Democratic House members.

Now we have our work cut out for us to ensure that the full potential of this bill to improve conditions and safety for bicycling and walking in Missouri is realized.

Please spend some time contacting your own regional transportation planning partner(s) to find out their current status in creating your regional project list for this proposed new funding.

And see you at the ballot box in November!

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