Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee
Meeting today, Jan. 14, 2016
I try to be active in this committee and always learn new things at every meeting. I am kind of the “odd duck” since the folks attending are really involved for commercial reasons, contractors, suppliers, labor, and the governmental entities, all looking at the physical development and money side of things. Most issues are economic related, but I keep a close watch out for transportation safety related issues for the members of our community using the various modes of transportation, not just the roads themselves.
This morning the topics discussed on the statewide arena involved the possibility of turning roads over to local agencies and how that would seriously hurt the local cities and counties lacking the funding to take care of the roads, thus all this would do is shift the burden from the state to the local entity which would have to turn around and ask for more funding from the state, thereby not resulting in any real savings.
At the airport this last year saw 920,000 passengers, up from 850,000 in ‘14; bigger planes and more routes in the future; 1 million upgraded customs facility being completed; continued expansion of private hangars at old airport; all very good for our local economy and community.
Greene county reported that FEMA is in town doing damage estimates on our roads, estimated to be about only $100.000 in damage, far better than it could have been, lucky it was not worse, because the roads were in good shape and withstood the floods pretty well.
City Utilities has been finishing the Bus transfer station which should be open by May 6, timing it with the First Friday Art Walk to involve the public as much as possible.
OTO has moved from the square to Chesterfield Village, and reported on updating its transportation plan and funding.
Dan Wadlington, for Sen. Blunt, reported on the difficulties with FEMA damage estimates and getting paid for repairs that Missouri counties are encountering to fix the flood damages to roads across the state.
In April, the 1/8th cent sales tax issue will be up for a vote competing with another tax increase, so it will be a tough vote, and the Chamber is going to be promoting the increase to improve funding for many projects.
I reported after yesterday’s executive committee meeting with the Missouri Coalition for Road Safety how we are going to be reaching out to Chambers, City Councils, and County Commissions for ideas and help for safety programs across the 21 county region so we can reduce the number of preventable fatalities on our roads which has last year jumped to a recent record high, and needs to be reversed. Transportation is critical for our economy, but safety on the roads also affects our economy. Loss of family, workers and tax payers, has a huge ripple effect in many dimensions.
This Committee has been growing and now has to move to a larger conference room which is a great problem as it continues to involve more numbers and greater diversity of members for input on transportation issues.
This all might sound very dull and boring, but transportation is the life blood of our economy and essential to the members of our community, and must be kept running, and doing so as safely as possible.