Attend MoDOT Long-Range Plan Meetings in Kansas City – March 12, 13 and 14
Posted by Transit Action Network on March 11, 2013
The project website http://www.missourionthemove.org/about-on-the-move/ says,
“On the Move is a community engagement effort led by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to gather direction and insight from Missourians on major transportation issues and priorities across the state.”
Three “listening sessions” are scheduled for Kansas City this week.
March 14, 2013 5:00 pm Link to RSVP: http://www.missourionthemove.org/event/on-the-move-listening-session-kansas-city-region-3/
While the purpose of the meetings seems simple enough — to gain public input to update the LRTP — it’s complicated by the fact that legislation is moving through the Missouri General Assembly to put a one-penny sales tax for transportation on the ballot in 2014. That tax would be for a ten-year period, and would fund a list of specific projects.
Thus, there’s some ambiguity about whether these meetings are just about long-range needs, or whether they are also about coming up with a project list. Even top MoDOT staff have not been able to express clearly how the listening sessions will relate to the project list.
Our hope is that the listening sessions will stay focused on the big picture — Missourians’ long-term needs and desires — rather than individual projects. Ask people about long-term needs and that’s what they’ll think and talk about. Ask them what projects they want and the session could turn into a “my project is more important than yours” contest.
Nonetheless, transit advocates need to attend the listening sessions this week to help assure that additional funding for transit is included in whatever package is ultimately presented to the voters. Identify and prioritize the long-term needs and desires first, then choose projects to fulfill that list.
We suggest you take the following perspective into whichever listening session you attend:
- Roads and bridges are important, but Missouri also needs to increase its investment in other transportation alternatives.
- Missouri’s population is aging, and with that goes an increased need for both urban and rural public transit. Missouri currently provides less than $1 million per year to all transit providers combined — only $119,000 this year for KCATA. Nearly every other state with an urban population invests much more in transit.
- More and more people are voting with their pocket books to drive less and use transit more. That’s reflected in the decline in the percent of adults who have a driver’s license, a trend that’s evident in every age group but especially among young adults.
- MoDOT should continue to add accommodations for cyclists and pedestrians along its routes, particularly in cities and towns.
- Missouri needs a stable source of funding to continue and increase the popular “Missouri River Runner” trains linking Kansas City and St. Louis. These trains are operated by Amtrak but funded by Missouri.
So please attend one of the meetings and tell them to make transit a priority.
You can also express what you want to see in Missouri’s transportation future online.
See The Blue Ribbon Citizens Committee on Missouri’s Transportation Needs Final Report 2013