On Friday, July 25, the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Foundation endorsed Amendment 7 and we found their reasons compelling and worth repeating.
Upon careful review of MoBikeFed’s Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri, the Board and staff asked, “Will amendment 7 help us achieve the long term goals set out in our Vision?’ And they concluded yes!
The reasons they listed are below and the full release can be found here – http://mobikefed.org/2014/07/mobikefed-endorses-amendment-7:
- Amendment 7 changes the Missouri Constitution to allow state funding of bicycle, pedestrian, and transit projects–for the first time in history. Changing Missouri’s constitutional prohibition on bike/ped spending has been one of MoBikeFed’s very top long-term goals. This prohibition has stopped MoDOT from accommodating biking and walking for decades and is one of the primary reasons Missouri roads and highways are far less accommodating to bicycling and walking than those in other states.
- Amendment 7 puts the emphasis on safety, creating better transportation options such as biking and walking, and maintaining, rather than expanding, our state’s highway system. As a result of the proposed Constitutional Amendment, MoDOT’s new long range plan includes these as three of its four primary goals–a major change in tone and direction for the agency. Giving Missourians Better Transportation Choices–including biking, walking, and transit–is now a top-level goal of MoDOT.
- Amendment 7’s Project List will give a major boost to the objective in our Vision to “Create a world-class bicycle and pedestrian system in Missouri”:
- More than 60 projects add or improve sidewalks along MoDOT roads in communities across Missouri–one of our top requests of MoDOT.
- Several projects make key regional trail connections.
- The list includes major investments in citywide and regional bicycle, pedestrian, and public transit systems in the Kansas City and St Louis areas and competitive grant funding in many other areas of Missouri to help meet the many pressing bicycle and pedestrian needs in those areas.
- Major new connections to the Katy Trail are on the list, including the final piece of the Rock Island Trail into Kansas City, a major bike/ped connection across the Missouri River between St Charles and St Louis Counties, and completion of the missing pieces of Katy Trail through Sedalia.
- A large number of road and bridge projects on the list will include routine improvements helpful for bicycling and walking–everything from smoother pavement for bicycling to routine repair/replacement/upgrades of existing sidewalks to new bicycleable shoulders on a few projects.
- The possibility of funding biking and walking projects with this new funding has already changed the conversation about bicycling and walking in MoDOT Districts, at MoDOT’s regional transportation planning partners, and in communities around Missouri. Some Districts and Planning Partners did far better than others to incorporate important biking and walking projects; we’ll be continuing the conversation to work to bring every part of the state up to the highest level. But in every part of the state, we saw an important first step in accommodating for biking and walking.
- Many more details about Amendment 7 bicycle and pedestrian-related projects in every part of Missouri are in our Amendment 7 Project List Summary.
- Because the funding source is a sales tax rather than a fuel tax, it changes our conversation about transportation in Missouri in a fundamental way. A transportation tax that comes from everyone must benefit everyone and provide transportation options for everyone. In the lead-up to Amendment 7 we have just started this new conversation. But if Amendment 7 passes, we will work hard to ensure that this conversation will continue in this new direction that must be far friendlier to biking, walking, and public transportation options in Missouri–because those options are now endorsed by the Missouri constitution and paid for by all Missouri citizens.