MoDOT announces historic $20 million Missouri Moves program; 1/3 of funds dedicated to bicycling, walking, multimodal

For over a decade we have been working to build allies and statewide support for multi-modal transportation funding for MoDOT.

Legislator visits by citizens during our annual Capitol Day made a huge differen
Legislator visits by citizens during our annual Capitol Day made a huge difference again this year

It has been a long slog, and though we have seen many hearts and minds change, we have yet to see any state funding change.

Until recently.

Last month the Missouri General Assembly approved and this week MoDOT announced the first state transportation funding program in modern Missouri history to allow funding for highways--and transit, bicycling, and walking.

This is a historic step forward for Missouri--and a step whose historic significance should not be underestimated.

For decades, Missouri's fuel tax has been dedicated to roads and highways only.   The state has funded public transit at an occasional low level, and usually given no funding at all for bicycling and walking.

Going forward, that must change. Our transportation planning and funding must meet the needs of Missouri's people--who walk, bicycle, drive and use transit, buses, vans, airplanes, boats, and every other type of transportation option available--and not the needs of Missouri's automobiles alone.

After years of work by many allied groups across Missouri, this is the first concrete step Missouri has taken in this direction.

How Missouri's first multimodal state transportation fund came to be in 2016

Currently, by the Missouri Constitution, MoDOT's portion of state fuel tax dollars are dedicated for state roads and bridges only. Since the majority of MoDOT's funding comes from those state fuel tax dollars, it puts a big crimp in the ability of MoDOT to meet the needs of Missourians who walk, bicycle, and use transit.

MoDOT's Cost Share program, which is designed to allow MoDOT to help with local projects, was eliminated a few years ago when MoDOT encountered its recent budget difficulties.

This year, several key state legislators wanted to renew the program. We and our allies made the case that Missouri's future in is multimodal funding solutions that allow local jurisdictions to fund the type of transportation solution most appropriate to the community--whether that is roads, highways, transit, bicycling, walking, or some combination of all of the above.

MoDOT has never before had flexible state transportation funding
MoDOT has never before had flexible state funding that could be used for roads, transit, bicycle, walking, and other multimodal transportation needs

The argument was made more pointed by the fact that the General Assembly was allocating General Revenue funds for the Missouri Moves program--meaning that taxes paid by all Missourians, not just drivers, pay the bill. "A program that is funded by all Missourians must meet the transportation needs of all Missourians" is a powerful argument.

In the end, with the help and support of many allies across the state and numerous state legislators of both parties, this view prevailed.  The funding legislation allowed use of the funds for roads, highways, bridges--and also bike, ped, transit, and other multi-modal transportation projects such as railroads, ports, and airports.

This is a major and very significant victory for transit, bicycling, and walking in Missouri because it is the first time the state has allocated funding in this way. 

Turning Missouri's first multimodal transportation funding program from idea to implementation

Though the legislation allowed the funding to be used for bicycling, walking, transit, and other multimodal projects, exact implementation by MoDOT was a concern. As soon as the funding legislation passed, we and key allies contacted MoDOT leadership with our ideas and concerns.

We are very pleased now that MoDOT has chosen to allocate a full 1/3 of the funding for multimodal and bike/ped projects. This is major progress for Missouri.

Your city, county, or local agency can apply for Missouri Moves funding for important pedestrian, bicycle, and transit projects

Now we need Missouri cities, counties, and other agencies to step up with excellent projects for this new funding source.

Pedestrian, bicycle, and transit projects are all eligible.

For the 2/3 of the funding dedicated to the state highway system, we are particularly encouraging communities and agencies to submit projects that include Complete Streets elements--creating safer access for people who walk, bicycle, and use transit while also improve safety for motorists in any project submitted.

MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna
MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna

MoDOT announced the availability of the funding yesterday. Please share this with your city and county staff, city council members, and other agency staff who may be able to apply for funding, and encourage them to submit important, needed, bicycle, pedestrian, and transit projects for funding:

Missouri Moves Cost Share Program Funding Now Available

Application Period 6/15/2016 through 7/29/2016.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is seeking projects that could be funded with the Missouri Moves Cost Share Program.

The purpose of the Missouri Moves Cost Share Program is to build partnerships with local entities to pool efforts and resources to deliver transportation projects.  The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) funds this program with General Revenue appropriations from the General Assembly.

The Missouri Moves Cost Share Program provides financial assistance to public and private applicants for state and local projects satisfying a transportation need.  Eligible projects include roads, bridges, bicycle/pedestrian accommodations and multimodal facilities. A total of $20 million is available.  MoDOT participates up to 50 percent of the total project costs.  One-third of the funds are set aside for multimodal and bicycle/pedestrian projects.  Up to 25 percent of the funds may be distributed to projects in any one MoDOT district.

Senator Kurt Schaefer of Columbia championed the Missouri Moves funding
Senator Kurt Schaefer of Columbia championed the Missouri Moves funding and also supported allocating it in a flexible, multi-modal way

Projects are selected by the Cost Share/Economic Development Committee, which consists of the Chief Engineer, Chief Financial Officer and the Assistant Chief Engineer. They are then recommended for Commission approval via a STIP amendment. 

Missouri Moves Cost Share Program guidelines, application, and rating matrix are available on MoDOT’s website at  Applications are due July 29, 2016.

Please note, there is an informational video conference on this program scheduled for 10:00 a.m. next Monday, June 20, 2016. Please work with your local district office to participate.

For more information contact Carol Kliethermes at 573-526-2561. 

Thanks to many for this historic step

Many thanks go to Senator Kurt Schaeffer of Columbia who championed the Missouri Moves funding and supported the multi-modal direction for the program; to Representative Tom Flanigan of Carthage, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, who also supported the program, and to numerous members of the Missouri House and Senate Committees who supported the multi-modal direction of the Missouri Moves program as it progressed through both chambers.

Many thanks also goes to the many advocates who visited with their members of the House and Senate at Bicycle & Pedestrian Day at the Capitol, and to our many allied organizations and groups across the state who worked to show their support when the opportunity arose during the 2016 legislative session.

House Appropriations Chair Tom Flanigan of Carthage
House Appropriations Chair Tom Flanigan of Carthage

Creating a world-class bicycle and pedestrian transportation system is one of the top priorities of MoBikeFed's Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri. Ensuring that sufficient funding is available for bicycling and walking is vitally important for achieving that goal and that policy goal that is most strongly supported among our membership across the state

Your ongoing membership and generous financial support help turn our Vision into reality!