Joplin Globe Editorial: Restore Rock Island funding - Cutting it is a Poor Business Decision

Monday the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of HB 3020, allocating Missouri's portion of the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. The committee bill removed the entire $69.2 million Governor Parson had recommended for construction of the major "hard parts" of the 144-mile Rock Island Trail State Park. 

The Rock Island Trail will combine with the Katy Trail and other interconnected
The Rock Island Trail will combine with the Katy Trail and other interconnected trails to create a 500+ mile cross-state trail system across Missouri. The trail will be built eventually - but with the proposed ARPA funding, it COULD become an economic powerhouse for central Missouri within just a few years.

Thursday, the full Senate passed HB 3020 - and still, there was not even $1 for the Rock Island Trail.

The Joplin Globe let us know how they feel about this decision - and they didn't pull any punches:

The decision to zero out funding for the Rock Island trail is a poor business decision for Missouri.

Last December, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources with the blessing of Gov. Mike Parson accepted ownership of the 144-mile rail corridor, with the vision of turning it into a trail that would stretch across central Missouri.

The governor put $69.2 million in his budget to begin work on the trail, and the House approved it. But on Monday, the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee cut the money.

To our way of thinking, the longer the state waits to develop the trail, the more money it loses.

These kinds of trails are revenue engines and job creators for communities along them and for the state, and we think lawmakers needed to focus on the long-term return on investment. . . .

Missouri, because of federal COVID-19 relief funds, has the money for the Rock Island. . . .

Keith Laughlin, president of the Rails-to-Trail Conservancy, told this paper not that long ago that adding the Rock Island would create a “bucket list” destination for Missouri that would draw people from across the country as well as overseas.

“There is a tremendous opportunity to build a whole economic development strategy around that, particularly for central Missouri,” he said.

We urge lawmakers to restore funding for the Rock Island.

Well said.


One of the top goals of MoBikeFed's Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri is building a world-class bicycle and pedestrian transportation system in Missouri.  The addition of the Rock Island Trail to Missouri's statewide trail system is the biggest single advance we have seen in Missouri in over 20 years.

Your membership and generous financial contributions help turn our Vision into reality--building the statewide public support for bicycling, walking, and trails that make major advances like the Rock Island Trail possible.

Join MoBikeFed's Advocacy Network

MoBikeFed is a statewide group of people like you, working together for better bicycling, walking, and trails in Missouri. When you join our advocacy network you receive occasional important advocacy alerts and bicycle, pedestrian, and trails news from around Missouri.

Working together we make a real difference! Join our advocacy network: