JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – In an effort to address Missouri’s crumbling roads and bridges, a group of lawmakers and civilians will work together to develop recommendations to repair the state’s aging transportation infrastructure. House Speaker Todd Richardson today announced his appointments to the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force, which was created by HCR 47 that was passed during the 2017 legislative session.
State Rep. Kevin Corlew, who sponsored HCR 47, was selected by the Speaker to chair the panel. Corlew said the task force has a difficult but important challenge ahead of it as it works to ensure Missouri’s transportation system continues to serve the needs of Missourians in the years to come.
“Our state has a robust transportation system with the seventh largest highway system and the sixth highest number of bridges, but we rank only 47th in the nation when it comes to the amount of revenue we spend per mile. As a result, we have seen this system continue to age and fall into disrepair,” said Corlew, R-Kansas City. “The task force will give us a great opportunity to thoroughly assess our current situation and then develop solutions that will give us a long-term plan to maintain and improve the thousands of miles of roads here in Missouri.”
The task force will work to evaluate the current condition of the state’s transportation system, and the current level of funding for transportation projects and whether the funding level is adequate to maintain and improve the state’s roads and bridges. The panel will then make recommendations regarding ways to improve the condition of Missouri’s roads and bridges, and any additional funding that may be necessary to finance the projects.
“This is a pressing issue for our state and one we are serious about addressing. When we look at other states that have developed comprehensive transportation plans, the success stories come from those that bring all the key players to the table to build a consensus on the kind of system the state needs and is willing to finance,” said Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff. “By bringing key leaders in state government together with experts from the private sector, we hope to develop a plan that can gain widespread support and adequately address the needs of our aging system of transportation.”
In addition to Corlew, Richardson also named the following House members to serve on the task force: State Reps. Bill Reiboldt, R-Neosho; and Nate Tate, R-St. Clair.
Richardson appointed Gretchen Ivy to serve as one of the private-sector members of the task force. Ivy, who is a resident of Kansas City, is an experienced civil engineer with nearly 20 years of experience in environmental planning, statewide transportation planning, bridge type studies, toll planning/feasibility analyses, freight planning, and traffic engineering.
Steve Halter will also serve as a private-sector member of the Task Force. Halter is the Director of Economic Development in Butler County and the President of the Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce. His experience in business and economic development matters will be an asset to the transportation group.
The five House members and two members from the private sector appointed by Richardson will be joined on the task force by five Senators, seven more individuals from the private sector, and representatives from the governor’s office, Missouri Department of Transportation, Missouri Department of Economic Development, and the Missouri Highway Patrol.
The task force is scheduled to work throughout the 2017 interim and will report a summary of its activities and any recommendations for legislation to the General Assembly by January 1, 2018.
Corlew says the task force plans to begin its work during the last week of June. The first meeting has been scheduled for June 28 at 1 p.m. at the State Capitol in Jefferson City.