Approximately 125 people gathered in Kansas City for the second Joint Legislative Transportation Vision Task Force yesterday, including legislators, industry leaders, local government representatives, and stakeholder advocates.
Kansas is Beachfront Property – Since the beginning of T-WORKS, we’ve emphasized the importance of our state’s central location as a natural advantage in logistics markets. Within one day and 5 miles of the task force meeting, Overstock.com announced it is filling a distribution center in the Turner district and will employee 100 people. Our geographic advantage is vital for business, as more and more companies move distribution centers to Kansas, and transportation infrastructure will be a key component of future economic development.
Business supports transportation investments – Joe Reardon, CEO, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce addressed the Task Force on behalf of businesses in Kansas City, telling the Task Force nothing affects economic opportunity and quality of life more than transportation. His briefing emphasized the vital role transportation plays in the state and regional economy and he told the Task Force the Kansas City business community supports funding for transportation.
Opportunities and Impacts. KDOT presented information on demographic and economic trends along with information on aviation, transit and bike/pedestrian modes. Even as Kansas becomes more urban, rural residents depend on quality transportation options to access specialized and urgent care that may be miles from their homes. As the state’s population continues to age and technology like automated and connected vehicles continues to develop, how to adapt the state’s infrastructure and programs must be considered. Whether it’s a potential increase in demand for transit, the need for improved signs and pavement markings or new revenue sources, our transportation system and programs will need to adapt in the future.
Local Testimony Highlights Importance of Transportation Options. The Task Force heard about many ways that transportation is important to Kansans: regional transit agencies help Kansans get to work on time and to medical appointments, a private citizen talked about the importance of improving the safety of an intersection to reduce traffic collisions, and bike and pedestrian advocates outlined the need for additional funding to increase safety and infrastructure availability for a mode that is seeing increased use around the state. Other stakeholders shared the importance of improving transportation infrastructure to drive economic growth.
The next meeting will be at Pittsburg State University on Sept. 20. Topics include projected transportation needs and funding and financing approaches in Kansas. The Task Force will also look at system conditions and the approach to funding and finance in other states.
The public is encouraged to attend a meeting and provide public testimony about why transportation is important to you, what’s working well and what could be improved.
Future meetings will discuss transportation modes in more detail:
- Freight / freight rail / passenger rail – Newton, Oct. 4 from 8:00 – 9:30 a.m.
- Aviation / transit / and bike/pedestrian – Wichita, Oct. 18 from 8:00 – 9:30 a.m.
Presentations from the meeting, information about future meetings, and instructions for providing testimony can be found on the Kansas Legislature