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Last-minute amendment by Pacific state rep eliminates bicycle funding

April 4, 2014

in State

BikeTrailJefferson City -  A proposal to eliminate bicycling from a major transportation funding proposal before the Missouri House, HJR 68, caused a commotion in Missouri’s bicycling community Thursday.

“We couldn’t believe it,” said Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation Executive Director Brent Hugh. “We have been working with MoDOT and members of the Missouri House and Senate on this issue for more than five years. There is widespread consensus that Missourians want options like bicycling and walking in their communities.”

Representative Paul Curtman, Pacific, introduced the anti-bicycle language as a last-minute change to an unrelated amendment that had already been vetted by bill supporters. Only a parliamentary maneuver by bicycle supporter Representative Chris Kelly, Columbia, delayed the vote until early next week, giving bicycle supporters an opportunity to examine the proposal and respond.paul-curtman-action-2-crop

“It is hard to believe that there are short sighted politicians that are willing to try and sneak amendments through elected bodies that disrespect public opinion and state agencies working to make Missouri a better state and economically vibrant,” said Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation President Paul Wojciechowski. “Focus on a complete transportation system includes biking as more than just recreation.”

Representatives of the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation and other bicycling, walking, running, and trails groups across Missouri have been working with Missouri legislators, MoDOT, and MoDOT’s planning partners across Missouri on this issue for years.

“MoDOT’s recent long-range plan, the result of hundreds of public meetings and public input sessions in every county in Missouri, made a strong endorsement of including bicycling and walking in Missouri’s transportation future. The public is asking for it–and it just shows how desperate opponents are, that they are forced to resort to underhanded legislative tricks,” said Hugh.”In the full light of day, bicycling and walking have strong bipartisan support across Missouri.”

The Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation and allied bicycling, walking, and running groups across Missouri are asking citizens to contact their representatives in support of bicycling and use social media to show their support.

“Making our communities safe and inviting for bicycling and walking just makes sense,” said Hugh.

  • Danny Wade

    If you’re going to tax someone to pay for roads, and exclude everyone but drivers from using the roads, then raise the sales tax on gasoline. Non-drivers are being bled white by all these roads. You want us off? Fine. Pay for them yourselves. Ready for gas to be $10/gallon?

  • flug32

    The proposed new tax is a sales tax NOT a gas tax.

    So really, the shoe is on the other foot here. Why in the world should non-drivers be subsidizing drivers?

    (And of course the answer to both questions, why drivers would subsidize non-drivers and vice-versa, is that we live in a community together and transportation is important to everyone. It doesn’t make that much difference exactly how we fund it.)

  • Danny Wade

    I’m confused, because we seem to be in agreement, but it looks like you are trying to counter something I said.

  • Danny Wade

    I was asking why non-drivers should be subsidizing drivers. Transportation is important to everybody, not just drivers who are the ones putting so much wear on the public roads that they need to be resurfaced every few years.

    The transportation industry pays more in taxes because they do more damage, and they pass along the cost to their customers. We end up paying for that with higher prices.

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