Transportation task force set to meet Wednesday at the Capitol

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JEFFERSON CITY - The "21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force" will meet for the first time Wednesday afternoon at the state Capitol.

State Rep. Kevin Corlew, R- Kansas City, who is also serving as the chair for the task force, created the task force in the last legislative session. 

The task force includes 23 members, including MODOT Director Patrick McKenna. 

McKenna said it is important to have a task force to look at a long list of things across the state. 

"We obviously haven't solved all of the transportation funding issues, so it is important to have a task force like this to really bring to light the issues and the concerns the public have," McKenna said. 

He said the he thinks the committee is being structured as an action committee. 

"Having members of the public, having bipartisan and bicameral support and membership on this, and also having representation from the governor's office on there as well as certainly the department of transportation, economic development and the Missouri State Highway Patrol, I think it is a well rounded group and it should be very productive," McKenna said. 

McKenna said the task force is intended to discus the issues across all modes of transportation. 

He said the task force will evaluate transportation across the state, look how to solve problems and form public policy. 

"It is very difficult to form public policy around raising revenue or otherwise," McKenna said. "There are different approaches to that, certainly some of the members have different approaches to how they think it should be solved, whether they think it should be new revenue or recommitted revenue that exist in the state." 

McKenna said the average driver in the state spends approximately $30 a month for access and use for public roads in the state. 

"We are funded on a national and a regional level pretty low in the country and in our region," McKenna said. 

He said surrounding states are increasing user fees and investing in their transportion, and McKenna said that should be a concern for the state. 

"We want to be competitive, we want to have a competitive environment, we want our people to be able to travel, and for the economy to be able to move reliably on this system and safely," McKenna said. 

The task force is set to meet at 1 p.m. Wednesday in House Hearing Room 3 at the Capitol.