Kansas City, MO City Hall is preparing a new city budget, and you can get involved to make sure it includes and protects people walking, rolling, bicycling, and using public transit!
What is the City Budget?
The city budget is the central document which dictates how much money the city spends and for what purposes. Each year, the City Council releases a proposed budget for the upcoming year. This year’s budget covers the fiscal year from May 2021 through April 2022. Everything from housing and economic development, to cultural endeavors and sustainability, is touched by the budget. You can check out the budget in full by clicking here and the transmittal letter (which includes a brief overview of the budget) here.
What active transportation elements are in the KCMO Budget?
Despite a severe impact to the city budget from the pandemic and economic crisis, we are encouraged that City Hall recognizes the importance of walking, bicycling, and transit during the pandemic and as part of the recovery. That includes:
- Dedicated funding for the implementation of Complete Streets and Vision Zero policies;
- Investing in staff capacity to ensure projects make it from the paper to the pavement faster;
- Continued dedicated funding for ADA curb cuts and corner rehabilitation;
- Preservation of the funding for Zero Fare Transit;
- Dozens of sidewalk, bikeway, and trail projects throughout the city, and more!
How can I speak up for active transportation in the budget?
The budget is just a proposal for now. Everything in the document is subject to review and changes before the City Council finalizes the budget in March. That means we need your help to speak up for biking, walking, and transit!
The City will hold a series of public meetings so people can advocate for what they want put in, or taken out of, the budget.
- Saturday, February 20, 9 a.m.- Noon (Virtual)
- Saturday, February 27, 9 a.m. – Noon; Municipal Arena, 301 W. 13th St.
- Tuesday, March 2, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Virtual)
If you aren’t able to attend one of those meetings, don’t worry! You can still submit testimony for the City Council to consider by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include “Proposed Budget” in the subject line.
What do I say at the meetings?
Because there will likely be plenty of people at each of the meetings, it is important to come prepared on what to say. Consider using some of the bullet points below:
- Please support biking, walking, and transit as part of the pandemic recovery. All of these modes of transportation are part of the broader infrastructure investments we must make as a city and a nation to recover from the pandemic. As such, dedicated funding for those modes must be a priority. [NOTE – If walking and bicycling helped your physical health, mental health, or transportation during the pandemic, sharing your personal story will be very compelling.]
- Multimodal investments align with equity considerations. This pandemic has taken an outsize toll on the financial and physical health of our Black and Brown neighbors. If we are to build a new normal, one which prioritizes their needs, we must support budget allocations which will address these long-standing issues. Investing in biking, walking, and transit, will help a great deal on that front.
- Multimodal helps us address climate change. Beyond the pandemic, we must take steps to ensure our city can meet the challenges created by a changing climate. Given that transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions for our region, we need to support greener modes of transportation, including more walking, biking, and transit.
To learn more about what to say, check out this blog post about how to get the most out of a public meeting. You may also be interested in our Advocacy 101 virtual class coming up on March 4.