This week Missouri State Representatives introduced two bills which, if passed, would severely restrict the ability of Missourians to choose bicycling for transportation. These bills would be devastating to the progress that active transportation advocates across the state have made to ensure that bicycling is a safe and convenient transportation option.
As a supporter of active transportation, it is critical that you contact your State Representative and advocate that they oppose these bills.
Amendment to remove bicycling from transportation funding bill
Last year Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) held planning meetings to allow Missourians to identify what projects they felt were priorities in an environment of extremely limited funding. MoDOT consistently heard across the state that Missourians value multi-modal transportation, including biking, walking and public transit. The Missouri Constitution, however, restricts MoDOT from spending state funds on any projects other than roads and bridges. Under our current funding structure, MoDOT cannot fund the multi-modal transportation network that Missourians think should be a priority.
In response to the crisis of insufficient transportation funding, state legislators have proposed a 1% sales tax transportation bill (HJR 68). For the first time in the state of Missouri, this bill would explicitly allow state transportation funding to be used on biking, walking and public transportation.
Yesterday Representative Paul Curtman, Pacific, introduced an amendment to remove the word “bicycle” from the transportation funding bill. Curtman added the anti-bicycle language to an unrelated amendment in a last-minute sneak attack before a vote. Long-time bicycle supporter and Katy Trail legislation sponsor Representative Chris Kelly, Columbia, caught the attempt to remove bicycling from the transportation bill and delayed the vote. The vote on the amendment will now occur on Monday night or Tuesday. This allows us time to call on our state legislators to vote against this amendment and ensure that bicycling is included with all other forms of transportation in this landmark bill.
Sales taxes remain a controversial funding mechanism in Missouri. However, it is imperative that, if the sales tax bill progresses and comes to a vote of the people this November, bicycling is explicitly supported along with all other forms of transportation.
Representative Bart Korman, High Hill, introduced a bill to ban bicycles from state-owned roads when there is a parallel bicycle path or trail within 2 miles of the road (HB 2279). Representative Korman introduced this same bill in 2013. This bill would severely restrict the ability of Columbians to use a bicycle for transportation. Because of Columbia’s extensive trails network which PedNet and our members have so strongly advocated for over the last 14 years, there are trails within 2 miles of many of our state-owned roads (Providence, College, Stadium, Paris, Business Loop, etc.). If this bill passes, bicycling would be illegal on many of the major roads in our city.
What can you do?
Look up your Missouri State Representative’s contact information here. Then email or call your State Representative with this simple message:
“I support including bicycling in HJR 68, the transportation funding bill, and I urge you to vote against Rep. Paul Curtman’s amendment (5302H02.01F) to remove bicycling from HJR 68. I also urge you to oppose Rep. Korman’s HB 2279 to ban bicycles from certain state highways.”
For more information, read Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation’s advocacy alert.