MoDOT is holding public comment meetings in the Kansas City region this week about projects to be paid for by Amendment 7, a 3/4 cent sales tax and 3/4 cent use tax increase for transportation, which is on the August 5 ballot. The public is invited to attend the open house-style meetings at any time during the advertised hours to speak to regional planning partners and MoDOT representatives. No formal presentations will be made. RSVPs are not required.
At the meeting please request MoDOT to provide much better information about the project list.
On Friday MoDOT released a preliminary list of projects to be part of Missouri Amendment 7, in order to get public comment. The list contains projects submitted by each region as well as MoDOT’s priorities. MoDOT bundled many projects together, such as the Kansas City region’s list of transit projects, while listing out all the road projects, no matter how small. We want to see everything if we are expected to make comments. Statewide Project List
In addition, no dollar estimates were provided so it is next to impossible to understand the priorities or the real impact. All the projects look equal and they definitely aren’t. For instance the widening of I-70 to six lanes from Independence to Wentzville is where a huge amount of the money will be spent but it is split out by region and looks just like the project next to it instead of the giant on the list. In the KC region list, it is next to increasing funding for OATS, hardly an equal sized project.
It is insulting that MoDOT expects the general public to show up and give meaningful comments based on MoDOT’s published list.
Here is MoDOT’s version for the Kansas City region Transit/Bike /Pedestrian projects – The projects were DUMPED into a category called VARIOUS and it is vague, misleading and impossible to comment on.
|Improvements for: public transportation, non-motorized transportation, intermodal connections and/or congestion mitigation in the Kansas City urban region
By contrast, here is the actual version of the Kansas City region’s project list with cost estimates as well as the percentage distribution between categories our region used. Roads are first but look at all the projects MoDOT dumped into this one little description for nearly everything else.
How is the public supposed to comment on the KC projects given MoDOT’s dismissive representation? Makes you think MoDOT doesn’t really want public comment.
MODOT’s own list of projects was split up by region and buried in the different regional priority lists (with no dollar amounts), so you couldn’t see them separately. That needs to change. No one can see what the MoDOT projects are or how much money MoDOT is planning to spend per project. Therefore, MoDOT made certain the general public would have problems making informed comments on MoDOT’s priorities.
One of our biggest concerns is widening I-70 to six lanes. We are not aware of any current study saying that is necessary. In fact, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) has gone down significantly, both in Missouri and all over the country. In addition, adding lanes in the hope of curing congestion, especially when we have relatively little congestion, has been debunked decades ago. It attracts more traffic. Everyone agrees that I-70 needs to be fixed and safety measures added, such as improving the shoulders to modern standards, but that is a far smaller project than adding a lane in each direction.
MoDOT’s presentation of the projects certainly make it easy to stifle public discourse about the quality or priorities of what is going on the ballot in August. Intentional? MoDOT is damaging its own credibility by doing this.
Go to the meetings and insist that MODOT
1 Publish all of the projects in an informative manner with cost estimates, and then ask for public comment.
2. Separate MoDOT projects from each of the regional project lists
3. Summarize MoDOT and Regional projects by Category (Roads and Bridges, Transit, etc) and show total proposed expenditures and percentages by category.
We realize the dollar amounts are estimates, but they won’t change significantly as they are refined.
MoDOT has all this information readily available, but they chose to publish an almost meaningless list. The public wants the complete information organized in a meaningful manner in order to evaluate the projects. That is not too much to ask when Missouri is asking for the largest tax increase EVER in the state.
Transit Action Network is against Missouri Amendment 7, for a long list of reasons, but we have worked hard with everyone in our region to develop a list of regional projects worth funding, just in case this bill passes. However, Missouri Amendment 7 needs to be sent back to the legislature with a big NO. Subsequent posts will deal with our objections to the funding mechanism.
An initial list of reasons to VOTE NO from Missourians for Better Transportation Solutions
Vote NO on The MO Transportation Tax
|KANSAS CITY DISTRICT MoDOT Meeting schedule
4 SE Independence Avenue
Lee’s Summit, MO
Monday, June 16, 4-7 pm
Union Station – Grand Hall East
30 W. Pershing Rd.
Kansas City, MO
Tuesday, June 17, 4-6 pm
400 NW Vesper St.
Blue Springs, MO
Wednesday, June 18, 4-7 pm
Truman Memorial Building
416 W. Maple Ave.
Thursday, June 19, 4-7 pm
117 W. Kansas St.
Tuesday, June 17, 2-5 p.m.