The Missouri Transportation Alliance has been studying what sorts of MoDOT policies citizens will support. Click here for a report on the findings by Brent Hugh of the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation:
The good points from our point of view:
- MoTA is recognizing that people want to be able to have the choice to bicycle, walk, and use transit. (In fact I have heard that the request to include “Complete Streets” is the top online comment they have received–click here to leave your own comment in support.)
- The decision to allow funding to be used for all types of transportation, not just roads and highways, is very significant.Under our current system, the state highway fund can only be used for roads and highways. That makes MoDOT reluctant to fund other transportation options–even sidewalks and bike lanes in some cases–even when they make sense in context.
- The new funding source is likely to be something other than a fuel tax. A tax raised from general funding sources creates a far greater moral imperative to provide for real transportation options for the 30% of Missourians who don’t have a driver’s license–and the much higher percentage who would like the choice of transit, bicycling, walking, or some other way of getting to places.
- One of the top items in our agenda in talking with MoTA was to have far greater accountability and transparency in MoDOT’s decision-making processes, and to better integrate public and community input in setting its priorities.The decision to include Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Regional Planning Commissions in MoDOT’s decision-making process for these new state transportation funds seems like a very simple and clean way to do this.
Contrary to the third point, I think increasing the fuel tax in Missouri is a good idea. Missouri is among the states with the lowest fuel taxes. A few cents more could be used for any number of worthy transportation projects, including projects that encourage citizens to drive less.