Transit Action Network (TAN)

Advocates for Improved and Expanded Transit in the Kansas City Region.

Posts Tagged ‘MoDot’

Video, Podcasts, Cartoon – VOTE NO On MO Amendment 7

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 30, 2014


Votenoon 7 billboardThe Missouri election on a 10-year 3/4 percent sales tax increase for transportation is next Tuesday August 5th.

Missourians for Better Transportation Solutions recorded this video about the bill. http://bit.ly/1qIbeJL

Recent radio show podcasts discussing the election:

KCUR 89.3 FM July 28: Examining Tax Proposals In Missouri (second half is on Amendment 7- first half is on KC streetcar election)  http://kcur.org/post/examining-tax-proposals-missouri

KKFI 90.1 FM Community Radio,  July 22:  Mo Amendment 7 – Not All Taxes Are Created Equal http://content.blubrry.com/kkfi901fm/RadioActive_Magazine_2014-07-22.mp3 (Correction: The widening of Interstate 70 across rural Missouri remains the most expensive item in the project list. This project would receive $500 million (not $500,000) from this tax, with the rest of the $1.5 billion cost coming from existing revenue sources. The $1 billion that is already identified is enough to re-build I-70.)

Transit Action Network believes we shouldn’t pass a constitutional amendment to radically change the way we pay for roads and bridges. Section 30 of the Missouri Constitution states clearly that transportation projects are to be paid for with gas taxes, sales taxes on vehicle purchases, and vehicle license fees. We shouldn’t pay for roads based on how much we shop instead of how much we drive. Don’t let trucks off the hook. The trucking industry won’t pay hardly any additional taxes to fix roads and bridges based on this bill, yet they do the most damage. Missouri sales tax for everyone else will increase 18%.

What happens to the difference between money collected and money spent on approved projects? 

There is a $1.3 billion difference between the $4.8 billion project list MoDOT put together to spend the receipts of this sales tax and the $6.1 billion of revenue Governor Nixon predicts the tax will generate. Our understanding is that MoDOT did not calculate any increase in the yearly sales tax revenue for the whole 10 years, which is an extremely conservative approach for estimating the revenue generated from this tax. Governor Nixon averaged a yearly 1.5% increase, which seems reasonable. In the bill HJR 68, which is what we are voting on with Amendment 7, our legislators instructed MoDOT to create a list of approved projects, to be paid for by this tax, to put before the voters. Once MoDOT runs out of that list, what happens to any remaining money, since the bill says it can’t be transferred to another account?

Transit Action Network asked BOB BRENDEL, Special Assignments Coordinator for MoDOT and he replied,According to the language in Amendment 7, revenues will be distributed into three funds: County Aid Transportation Fund, Municipal Aid Transportation Fund, and the Transportation Safety and Job Creation Fund. In the event there are additional funds available beyond the estimated amount, the funds would be distributed across the state based on the approved distribution formula.” In other words, MoDOT can build whatever it pleases with potentially an additional $1 billion, not just the approved projects.  That is not what legislators intended. Passing this bill may give MoDOT up to 1/6 of the tax money to build whatever it wants.

So why is the sales tax increase so much? MoDOT Director Dave Nichols says he needs an annual construction budget (i.e., the money over and above routine operations like mowing and maintaining signs and signals and such, to replace worn-out sections of roads and bridges) of $485 million, and that beginning in 2017 MoDOT expects to have only $325 million.  That’s a shortfall of just $160 million annually, yet Amendment 7 would give MoDOT nearly three times that amount.  Why so much? Ask the highway construction lobby!NO ON 7

Cartoon: http://bit.ly/1mUDpNc

Governor Nixon’s statement: ” We can all agree on the need for a robust discussion about Missouri’s long-term transportation infrastructure needs. Along with a highly-skilled workforce, quality schools, and healthy communities, well-maintained roads and bridges are key to our economic competitiveness.  However, any proposal to change how we fund transportation must be considered in the context of the overall tax policy of our state and funding for other priorities like education.”

Full text of Governor’s statement: http://governor.mo.gov/news/archive/gov-nixon-issues-statement-transportation-tax

 See Missourians For Better Transportation Solutions website for more information. http://www.votenoamendment7.com
Previous TAN article with more information and links. :http://wp.me/pV5fE-2pS
Advertisements

Posted in Action, Regional Transit Issue | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Transit Talk July 22- Not All Taxes are Created Equal – Vote No On Amendment 7

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 22, 2014


KKFI 90.1 FMTransit Action Network discusses the Missouri 10-year 3/4 percent Amendment 7 Transportation Sales Tax on KKFI 90.1 FM Community Radio with public policy specialist and transit advocate Sheila Styron of the Whole Person, Linda Smith, President of the League of Women Voters and David Kingsley, retired statistics professor from the department of health policy & management at Kansas University Medical Center.

When Tuesday, July 22 at 6 pm

Where: KKFI 90.1 FM Community Radio, Radio Active Magazine (They also stream live) KKFI.org

Podcast of show: http://content.blubrry.com/kkfi901fm/RadioActive_Magazine_2014-07-22.mp3 (Correction: The widening of Interstate 70 across Missouri remains the most expensive item in the project list. It would receive $500 million (not $500,000) from this tax, with the rest of the $1.5 billion cost coming from existing revenue sources.

HJR 68 Full text of bill, which is both a sales and use tax increase and on the Aug 5th ballot. HJR68

Not all taxes are created equal. The idea that we should pay for roads based on how much we shop rather than how much we drive is a radical change on how we pay for roads and bridges. Find out why you should Vote No on this state sales tax for transportation.

Anyone wondering why this sales tax is a constitutional amendment needs to understand that the state is really trying to change the way we pay for road work, by pushing the tax  burden onto  middle and low-income individuals, working families and seniors, instead of the main users of roads, the trucking industry.  Currently Section 30 of the Missouri Constitution states clearly that transportation projects are to be paid for with gas taxes, sales taxes on vehicle purchases, and vehicle license fees.

Why don’t we raise the fuel taxes since Missouri has had this level since 1996?

fuel taxes

Changing to a sales tax gives the trucking industry a free ride even though they use the roads the most and do the most damage. Trucking corporations don’t even pay a sales tax when they purchase a truck in Missouri since they have an exemption. In addition, the heavy construction industry has lobbied heavily for this bill since it would continue the unprecedented amount of roadwork MoDOT has been doing using federal stimulus money.

This is the largest tax increase in Missouri history, $6.1 billion dollars, and the Missouri sales tax will rise 18% from 4.225% to 4.975%. Total state and local taxes will be over 11% in many places. This combined rate is already 14th highest in the nation and this increase will put us 9th in the nation (ahead of Illinois and just behind New York and California).NO ON 7

We agree with Governor Nixon in our opposition to this bill and  “on the need for a robust discussion about Missouri’s long-term transportation infrastructure needs.”  Governor’s position https://governor.mo.gov/news/archive/gov-nixon-issues-statement-transportation-tax

Missourians for Better Transportation Solutions, www.votenoamendment7.com, which we joined for this effort, along with over 40 groups and individuals, put together a list of reasons to vote against the bill.

Reasons to Vote No On Amendment 7

Summary from this document

  • The tax unfair – Trucking Industry gets a free ride
  • The tax is excessive – largest increase in our history
  • This is the wrong investment for Missouri – The recent binge in highway construction hasn’t created significant economic development
  • Amendment 7 is bad for Missouri Investment – total combined sales tax will be above 10% many places creating further incentive for internet purchases and a lost of revenue for local businesses.

One reason to be against Amendment 7 we rarely see mentioned is how bad it is for cities and counties. Although the state has multiple taxing methods it can use to pay for needs, cities don’t, and adding a ¾ percent sales tax from Missouri cripples the ability of local governments to raise sales taxes for local needs, like police and fire departments. In fact, politicians and planning agencies all over the state rejected this idea of a sales tax for roads earlier this year, when lobbied to support an initiative petition to do this same thing.  After being rejected statewide, the lobbyists convinced our elected officials in Jeff City to put this sales tax on the ballot anyway.

Good articles explaining why you should VOTE NO ON 7

Terry Garney ‘s article in the Columbia Daily Tribune addresses the “radical departure from the way Missouri pays for roads.”

“ The amendment would make Missouri’s average combined state and local sales tax rates among the highest in the nation, exceeding 11 percent in some areas. The statewide average would be ninth-highest in the nation.”   http://bit.ly/1qt5oeY

***

Jim Fitzpatrick in Kansas City has published two insightful blogs about the campaign http://bit.ly/1qwrqxt and http://bit.ly/1mhAduT

“This time, I’m sorry to say, Freedom Inc. sold out to the Heavy Constructors, commonly called “the heavies.” They’re called that for more than the obvious contraction of their name. They bring a lot of political pressure to bear in any number of places, including the Missouri General Assembly, which voted to put Amendment 7 on the ballot.”

“That (gas) tax has stood at 17 cents a gallon – sixth lowest in the nation as of last year — since 1996, or almost 20 years. If the Missouri General Assembly and the “concrete cartel” (essentially, the heavy constructors, the engineering companies and the materials suppliers) want to raise more money for transportation needs, they should come back to us with a proposal to raise the gas tax.”

***

The Show-Me Institute has written an op-ed about why they are against Amendment 7. The Southeast Missourian ran a version of it http://bit.ly/UkMyHO. Someone remarked that it is rare when Governor Nixon and the Show-Me Institute agree on something.

Anticipating the funding bonanza, local governments around the state have put forward wish lists that would tap into sales tax money. Rather than confining themselves to critical transportation needs, cities and counties put forward lists filled with expensive wants.”

“Paying for highways based on how much people shop, and not how much they drive, creates a free-rider problem. It promotes congestion, road degradation, and sprawl. It also is fundamentally unfair to force occasional drivers to pay as much or more for new roads as interstate trucking companies.”

***

Good Roads MO (http://www.goodroadsformo.org/) continues to have good information on their website.

“This new tax would again divert sales taxes to rural areas while most of the taxes are paid by urban Missourians. The distribution of the tax to local governments is heavily weighted based on rural land value.

“Missouri’s combined state and local sales tax rates are already the 14th highest in the country. Should Amendment 7 be approved, Missouri will have the 9th highest sales tax rate in the nation (ahead of states like Illinois, just behind states like New York and California). ”

***

Transit Action Network supports well-maintained and safe roads and bridges, good transit and bike and pedestrian facilities, but we reject paying for them with a huge sales tax increase.  Not only is a sales tax the WRONG Tax for paying for roads and bridges but are all of the projects really needed?

Just because MoDOT and regional planners had a feeding frenzy piling on projects, doesn’t mean all the projects are needed or should be paid for at the state level. For instance, vehicle traffic on I-70 is down 9% from its peak in 2005-2006.  Do we really need to subsidize the trucking industry so they can have 6 lanes across rural Missouri? Afterall, the trucking industry will pay next to nothing for all this roadwork if we pass this sales tax. Instead the tax burden will fall on middle and lowe-income individuals.

Although we can’t speak for the project lists from the rest of the regions, we feel the transit portion of the Kansas City region was hijacked.

Here is how MoDOT explained the process to choose projects.

“After incredible feedback from Missourians across the state, MoDOT and planning partners (Mid-America Regional Council – MARC in the KC region) have finalized a list of regional and community priorities that would be completed if Amendment 7 were to pass. Each region’s list of priority projects reflects the local needs as communicated by citizens and local leaders. “

However for the KC transit portion of the list, that is not what happened.

Here is the list the citizens and local leaders came up with through public meetings for  Transportation Outlook 2040 (Region’s Long-range Transportation Plan) , the Regional Transit  Coordinating Council (RTCC) and the Total Transportation Policy Committee (TTPC).Original KC_Regional_Trans_Priorities

During all three of these open and transparent meetings Kansas City had the opportunity to make the case that the Streetcar expansion was more valuable to the community than most of the projects and the streetcar should replace the vast array of projects spread around the region. They never made that case.

At RTCC, when the streetcar wasn’t even listed, KCMO asked for a token $5 million, which the group granted. Over the weekend, the city started its behind closed door campaign and got MARC to move the amount to $32 million, which is what you see on the list TTPC approved. This list was sent to MoDOT to reflect the local needs.

As MoDOT reviewed the list, they had closed-door meetings with Kansas City, and together, maybe with others, eliminated most of the original transit projects, and replaced them with $124 million for the KC Streetcar Expansion plan and reduced transit dollars from 30% to 26% with the difference going to more roads.  Many of the projects are good and need to be done with alternative funding to a sales tax,  but the region’s priorities should have been honored instead of cutting deals for support.

MoDOT’s final project list for KC region. Compare it to the original list.

http://www.modot.org/MovingForward/Regions/documents/FINALDistrictProjectList-KC.pdf

With this change, Mayor James decided to support of this unfair, unjust bill. We understand people with political power will use it, but rarely is it done in such a blatant, aggressive manner. MARC, all the other regional partners and the original transit project list were totally pushed aside and MoDOT and Kansas City  “made sure” the new list was approved at MARC.

Some specific projects that were eliminated so Kansas City could take most of the money for the streetcar expansion  

$11 million for mobility management including “Coordination of Paratransit Services (for the disabled)

$13.5 Million for “Regional/KCATA Downtown Transit Center/Super Stops (KCATA just had public meetings for this planned improvement)

Urban Corridor program (new MAX lines)

  • $16.5 million North Oak-CBD to Barry Rd or MO 152 (Northland misses out again)
  • $8.5 million Independence Ave – CBD into Eastern Jackson County

Trails

Decrease of $36 million – Purchase and construction of Rock Island ROW for the Katy trail-not enough money to pay for it now.

***

Most people who are for this bill are either connected to the construction or trucking industry, believe the projects are so important that the taxing method doesn’t matter to them, they are afraid this is the only way to get money, or they are getting a project they want so badly that they hold their nose and vote for a sales tax anyway. None of these reasons are valid reasons to saddle the whole state with a huge inappropriate, unfair tax for 10 years.

Posted in Events | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

EVENT: Insist MoDOT Publish Whole Project List with Dollars for AUG 5 Election

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 16, 2014


MOTMMoDOT 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.MOstateflag

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.

KC_Regional_Trans_Priorities

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 listThe 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
Gamber Center
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
Vesper Hall
400 NW Vesper St.
Blue Springs, MO
Wednesday, June 18, 4-7 pm
 
Truman Memorial Building
416 W. Maple Ave.
Independence, MO
Thursday, June 19, 4-7 pm
 
Heritage Hall
117 W. Kansas St.
Liberty, MO
Tuesday, June 17, 2-5 p.m.
 

 

Posted in Events | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Is MoDOT About to Sabotage Our Amtrak Service?

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 1, 2014


MOTMWe have been hearing — direct from MoDOT staff — that getting a reliable funding stream for Missouri’s twice-daily Missouri River Runner passenger rail service is one of the advantages of having the proposed 3/4 percent sales tax for transportation.

Now we hear that the trains will not be part of the sales tax project list, and that we’ll continue to have to go to the General Assembly for annual appropriations out of general revenue.

Boarding at KC Union Station

Boarding at KC Union Station

So we posed the question to MoDOT via Twitter:

“@MoDOT – Serious question: How do you propose that @MoRiverRunner be funded? What about funding additional service? Response please. Thx.”

We have received their response:

“@MoRiverRunner definitely a valuable service for Missourians. MoDOT will continue to pursue general revenue funds for it.”

 Translation: Passenger rail won’t be part of the sales tax package.

This makes no sense to us. If the voters pass this sales tax then Legislators will say:  “Hey, MoDOT, we let you ask voters for a sales tax with the flexibility to fund transportation choices. Now you are back here again asking for money for Amtrak? Give us a break!”

Amtrak at KC Union Station

Amtrak at KC Union Station

If this is true, it would run counter to MoDOT’s expressed desire to provide expanded transportation choices, in response to citizen input during the recent “On The Move” long range transportation plan process.

What gives, MoDOT?

The explanation we got just days ago from a mid-level MoDOT representative was that they were concerned that the sales tax funding might not extend beyond the ten-year span of this “temporary” sales tax. Well, if that’s the case, how do they justify doing anything? Nothing is certain about the future. Isn’t ten years of certainty for passenger rail a whole lot better than ten years of annual uncertainty?

MoDOT staff have worked for years with Amtrak and the Union Pacific (the host railroad) to speed up the trains and prepare for eventually expanding the service by adding a third and fourth daily round trip. Don’t undercut all that work by putting the Missouri River Runner trains back on a year-at-a-time, hand-to-mouth basis. If you do, MoDOT, your credibility will be seriously damaged.

Amtrak passengers loading at Jeff City to go to St. Louis.

Amtrak passengers loading at Jeff City to go to St. Louis.

Posted in Amtrak, Local Transit Issues, Rail, Regional Transit Issue | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Help Pick Missouri Transit And Bike/Ped Projects for the November Election – MAY 22

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 19, 2014


Where: MARC Transportation Outlook 2040 Workshopmarclogo
Sylvester Powell Community Center
6200 Martway Street
Mission, Kansas
 
When: May 22, 8:30 am to 11:30 amTransportation_Outlook_2040

Register via the MARC website at www.MARC.org

MoDOT Headquarters and Missouri State Capitol. No other major department of state government has closer proximity to the General Assembly.

MoDOT Headquarters and Missouri State Capitol. No other major department of state government has closer proximity to the General Assembly.

The Missouri General Assembly passed HJR68 to put a 3/4 percent sales tax for transportation on the ballot in November 2014. MoDOT and its local planning partners– Metropolitan Planning Organizations such as Mid-America Regional Council in Kansas City and East-West Gateway Council of Governments in St. Louis, plus Regional Planning Councils throughout the state – will develop a list of projects to be funded by the tax before the measure goes to voters.

Thus, a lot of local discussion (and deal-making) will be going on in the next couple of months.

In the Kansas City region, this process coincides with (and somewhat complicates) MARC’s already-underway update of its long-range transportation plan, Transportation Outlook 2040.

MARC will use its TO2040 workshop on May 22 to help decide project priorities for the whole region, as well as to narrow the list of projects that would be promised to Missouri voters.

Setting aside for the moment the task of adding projects in the TO2040 update, it’s crucially important to give immediate attention to the Missouri sales tax project list. The 3/4 percent statewide sales tax is projected to yield $5.34 billion over the 10 years it would be in effect, and MoDOT has told MARC its share of the total will be $816 million.

That $816 million will be spent on transportation projects within MARC’s planning area: Jackson, Clay, Platte, and Cass Counties.

Even more important is that the money isn’t restricted to highway projects. Transit, bike, and pedestrian projects are eligible, as are passenger and freight rail, airport, and river port projects. In fact, it is possible in theory that the entire $816 million could be spent without rebuilding or expanding a single highway.

Possible, but not likely. For example, MoDOT wants to rebuild I-70 across the state, and they might like to see the cost of the Kansas City region’s segment of I-70 come out of our $816 million.

MOTMIn addition, MoDOT (to say nothing of the Missouri Public Transit Association) would like to see stable funding for rural and urban transit.

Same goes for passenger rail service, the Missouri River Runner trains operated under contract by Amtrak. At present, MoDOT has to go hat-in-hand to the legislature each year for the $10 million or so it costs to keep the trains running. MoDOT might want our region’s share of that total to also come out of the $816 million.

The important thing for May 22 is that advocates for a balanced transportation investment program need to be there to express the strongest possible support for transit, pedestrian and bike projects — projects to make streets and roads safer for people not driving cars — as well as for stable funding for continuing (and increasing) passenger rail.

Register via the MARC website at www.MARC.org

Earlier TAN article:

That Penny Sales Tax — Here’s What We Are Telling the Legislature

Posted in Action, Events, Local Transit Issues, Regional Transit Issue | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Attend MoDOT Long-Range Plan Meetings in Kansas City – March 12, 13 and 14

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 11, 2013


MOTMMoDOT is inviting input on the latest update of its long-range transportation, “On the Move.” It is extremely important that transit advocates attend the meetings to make sure transit is a priority.

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.

KCI Expo Center, Ambassador Room
11730 NW Ambassador Drive , Kansas City, MO, 64153
March 12, 2013 6:00 pm
Link to RSVP: http://www.missourionthemove.org/event/on-the-move-listening-session-kansas-city-region/ 
 
 
UMKC, Atterbury Student Success Center, Pierson Auditorium
5000 Holmes Street, Kansas City, MO, 64110
March 13, 2013 5:00 pm
Link to RSVP:http://www.missourionthemove.org/event/on-the-move-listening-session-kansas-city-region-2/  
 
Union Station, Chamber Board Room
30 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO, 64108
March 14, 2013 5:00 pm
Link to RSVP: http://www.missourionthemove.org/event/on-the-move-listening-session-kansas-city-region-3/

Mo_transit_fundingMoDOT is asking for RSVP’s to attend these sessions, but we encourage you to attend even if you have not RSVP’d.

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.

http://www.missourionthemove.org/community-engagement/schedule-of-events/

You can also express what you want to see in Missouri’s transportation future online.

http://www.missourionthemove.org/community-engagement/project-suggestion-form/

See The Blue Ribbon Citizens Committee on Missouri’s Transportation Needs Final Report 2013

Posted in Events, Regional Transit Issue | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »