Tuesday, August 20, 2019

North Central Kansas Local Consult Summary:



Don’t wait to shape the future of our state.

That was the message delivered by the more than 80 stakeholders who participated in the North Central region’s Local Consult Round 1:  Visioning Transportation Futures meeting on Monday.

Transportation plays a critical role in many aspects of our lives including one of the most vital – access to health care.  Stakeholders noted that health care access can be improved both through providing more mobility options for Kansans to travel to medical facilities and through expanding broadband across the state to allow more opportunities for telemedicine.

Overheard at the meeting:
“We always talk about preparing for the bad things that may happen, but how do we maximize the joyful opportunities we have in our communities to build the future my children and grandchildren deserve?”

As participants made their way through the scenario planning exercise, they emphasized the importance of ensuring transportation policies and programs are flexible and adaptable enough to capture future economic opportunities and confront unknown challenges.

Overheard at the meeting:
“We need to find ways to keep doing the things we do well such as intermodal facilities, but also give ourselves the flexibility we need to be prepared for the things we don’t know about yet.”

Participants discussed the need to build our system at the right strength in the face of more floods and bad winters. Because Kansas needs to export crops, priority/freight corridors must be built to stand the test of weather challenges.

During the breakout group discussions, stakeholders noted that highway improvements are not the only way to generate economic growth.  The State should consider investing in broadband to generate more economic opportunities across Kansas. And multimodal investments (transit, aviation, rail and bike/ped) are necessary to provide the quality of life needed for communities to thrive.

Participants also noted the concerns about transportation funding both at the state and local levels.  It’s not just about how much revenue will be available but being mindful that tough decisions may be necessary to ensure critical needs are being met.  For example, they noted that Saline County has considered using a 2-mile grid to help prioritize roads and bridges it needs to maintain while also ensuring citizens will have the necessary connectivity to be successful.

Stakeholders emphasized that creating partnerships between all levels of government was critical not only for making good policy decisions but also for ensuring we make strategic investments.

The emphasis on partnerships was not limited to government agencies as participants stressed the importance of engaging the private sector.  For example, there may be opportunities to work with Uber and Lyft to expand mobility options across the state.

North Central Kansans had strong concerns about the availability of water in the future.  They noted if Kansans are unable to live in certain areas due to water shortages, it directly impacts both infrastructure needs and the population necessary to support it.

There were also concerns about the need for affordable housing.  Participants suggested there might be a role for KDOT and the State of Kansas to foster public private partnerships to spur more housing development.

Transportation investments are about the future. North Central Kansans want a future that has more mobility options, expands access to healthcare and generates economic growth across the state – and they’re ready to get to work building it– today.

Overheard at the meeting:
“Technology + training + infrastructure + marketing = a state where people want to live and thrive.”

2 comments:

  1. Amy Lange, ConcordiaSeptember 10, 2019 at 11:51 AM

    Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the scenario planning segment. This was a great way to pool expertise for creative problem solving. I enjoyed hearing from fellow Kansans and helping to shape the future of transportation in our great state.

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    Replies
    1. Amy, Thanks for taking part in the Local Consult Meeting! We appreciate your participation! We hope to see you again for round two later this year!

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