The new federal transportation law, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), poses plenty of challenges for bicycling and walking. For the past four years, Advocacy Advance has been working to demystify the federal funding process and help advocates and agency staff maximize funding opportunities. So it only made sense that, with the launch of the Navigating MAP-21 campaign, we expanded our popular Action 2020 workshops to help agency staff and advocates understand and utilize MAP-21.
Last week, we held the first of the MAP-21 Action 2020 workshops in Concordia and Jefferson City, Missouri. More than 100 advocates, agency staff, and elected officials met to learn more about the opportunities and challenges of MAP-21, funding sources and best practices, how to make bicycles and pedestrians a priority, and network with other professionals. The workshops were hosted by the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation and the Missouri Association of Councils of Government (MACOG). Here are some highlights from the week:
- First MAP-21 Action 2020 workshops: The new information about MAP-21 stirred some excellent discussions at both workshops. Advocates spoke highly of the progress the Missouri Department of Transportation has made towards accommodating bicycles and pedestrians. Luckily, Missouri is already a model for sub-allocating its STP and CMAQ funds — which will make it easier to direct dollars to bicycling and walking projects through the new Transportation Alternatives state grant process. We look forward to great things coming out of MAP-21 in Missouri.
- Rural communities walk and bike, too: The workshops were also unique because the Advocacy Advance team spent a week in the state. This allowed us the time to host two workshops, as well as visit some of the smaller rural communities in central Missouri. We visited Warsaw (population 2,100) to ride the mountain, road and water trails. Mac Vorce and Randy Pogue, both with the city of Warsaw, were gracious hosts and very proud of their community’s efforts to increase walking and bicycling. Check out the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation blog for a picture tour of the day. The League is looking forward to a Bicycle Friendly Community application any day now!
- Train the trainers: We also used the extra time to “train the trainers” during the workshops. Approximately half of Missouri’s population lives outside the major cities (Kansas City and St. Louis, both bronze-level BFCs) in small communities and rural areas. It’s often challenging for these communities to apply for federal funds, due to a lack of resources or knowledge about the opportunities. Our host organizations had the great idea to train agency staff and advocates on the MAP-21 Action 2020 curriculum so they can share it with rural and small communities. Regional planning commission staff and advocates learned how to run a successful workshop and had time to practice speaking about funding in front of the group. If you’re interested in a future workshop in Missouri, contact Brent Hugh with the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation.
The Advocacy Advance team was really impressed with the progress Missouri is making already. After a whirlwind week of traveling throughout the state, we left energized and positive that we’ll be shortly sharing best practices from Missouri.
MAP-21 Action 2020 Workshops are part of the Advocacy Advance program – a partnership of the League of American Bicyclists and Alliance for Biking and Walking. The workshops are designed to ensure advocates, agency staff, and elected officials have the knowledge, skills, and resources to maximize the new Transportation Alternatives program and access untapped and under-utilized federal funding sources for bicycles and pedestrians. To learn more, visit www.advocacyadvance.org.
League State and Local Advocacy Coordinator
Mr. Wempe joined the League in September 2011. For the three years prior, he worked as a transportation planner and Safe Routes to School Coordinator in Fort Collins, Colo. He holds a BA in Economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.