Earlier this year, the Missouri State Legislature passed a measure to place a constitutional amendment for a 75-cent transportation sales tax on the 2014 primary ballot. State law requires such proposals to have a list of projects to be completed with the tax revenue, so the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) solicited the help of the state’s regional planning commissions and a number of private firms to work with local communities to create local consensus around a list of priorities.
The Missouri Association of Councils of Government (MACOG) was one of several regional planning entities that assisted MoDOT with creating and prioritizing a list of regional transportation projects based on local input. The process began at the grassroots level, where regional teams gathered lists of transportation projects that had been previously gathered through a ‘listening tour’ in 2013. New projects were then solicited by MoDOT, MACOG, and other regional entities via email, websites, social media, surveys and meetings with community leaders. This set a foundation for MACOG and the private firms to bring with them to the numerous public meetings within each county of their region.
Throughout the public engagement process, the local lists were amended and prioritized by general consensus at public meetings. The resulting county lists were then combined at the regional level and again prioritized to create a regional prioritization. Finally, MACOG and the other regional entities presented their list to MoDOT and worked to create a budget for each of MoDOT’s district. This final budget document accompanied the proposed constitutional amendment.
The entire outreach process took about seven months to complete and demonstrated the strong relationship between MoDOT, MACOG, and local stakeholders. The public process identified many new projects throughout the state, and gave more attention to alternative transportation modes that had often been ignored in many regions. Although the amendment failed at the ballot box, the process made everyone more aware of the need for transportation funding, and the list of projects will now serve as a foundation for future planning efforts and funding allocations.
The Amendment 7 Prioritization Process was awarded a 2014 Excellence in Regional Transportation Award. View descriptions of other award winning projects here.