Navigating MAP-21: Prioritizing Local Input in Missouri
by Doug Hermes, Statewide Planning Coordinator at the Missouri Association of Councils of Governments
Here in the Show-Me State, we’re working hard to break down silos, bring stakeholders together and make sure local input guides the use of federal transportation dollars.
This desire for partnership was evident last August, when the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation and the Missouri Association of Councils of Government (MACOG) hosted two Advocacy Advance workshops. Attended by agency staff, elected officials, and advocates from around the state, officials from the Missouri Department of Transportation laid out their plans for MAP-21 and bicycling advocates learned how to become engaged in the process.
First of all, for remaining Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School funds remaining SRTS funds — and a portion of the new Transportation Alternative funds —MoDOT is keeping the same rules and procedures as 2012. Bicyclists will have a chance to weigh in on the changes at a series of stakeholder meetings in early 2013, before the new rules are rolled out in the fall.
That’s important because, over the past decade, the rules have often benefitted biking and walking. Especially for programs like Transportation Enhancements and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program, Missouri has given local and regional government more power to make funding decisions. Because of this local engagement, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure is more often seen as a priority.
In urban areas, for example, three Metropolitan Planning Organizations — covering more than half the state's population — have adopted Complete Streets policies. Now, as the local committees set the rules and priorities for MAP-21 dollars, they’ll take complete streets into account. And in the rural parts of the state, MoDOT and MACOG are working together to strengthen the role of Missouri's RPCs and local governments in the modified funding programs of MAP-21.
MoDOT, local officials, advocates, and citizens all find that local input, priorities and accountability help ensure that precious federal funds are spent most effectively. Bicycle and pedestrian advocates find that the more local the decision making, the more their high priority projects naturally bubble up to the surface.
Learn more about the new transportation bill and get involved in your state's campaign on the Advocacy Advance .