House names members for Transportation Task Force, Corlew to chair

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson has named Rep. Kevin Corlew, R-Kansas City, as the chairman of the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force.

Rep. Kevin Corlew speaks before the signing of his expert witness standard bill March 28, 2017. (Travis Zimpfer/MISSOURI TIMES)

Rep. Kevin Corlew speaks before the signing of his expert witness standard bill March 28, 2017. (Travis Zimpfer/MISSOURI TIMES)

The task force, established by the passage of HCR 47 in the 2017 legislative session, will work to identify issues and make recommendations as to how to repair the Show-Me State’s aging transportation infrastructure.

“Our state has a robust transportation system with the seventh largest highway system and the sixth highest number of bridges, but we rank only 47th in the nation when it comes to the amount of revenue we spend per mile. As a result, we have seen this system continue to age and fall into disrepair,” Corlew said in a statement. “The task force will give us a great opportunity to thoroughly assess our current situation and then develop solutions that will give us a long-term plan to maintain and improve the thousands of miles of roads here in Missouri.”

The task force’s job will evaluate the conditions of Missouri’s roads and bridges, as well as the funding available. The panel will then make recommendations on how to improve the condition of Missouri’s roads and bridges, and identify any additional funding that may be necessary to finance those projects.

“This is a pressing issue for our state and one we are serious about addressing. When we look at other states that have developed comprehensive transportation plans, the success stories come from those that bring all the key players to the table to build a consensus on the kind of system the state needs and is willing to finance,”  Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, said. “By bringing key leaders in state government together with experts from the private sector, we hope to develop a plan that can gain widespread support and adequately address the needs of our aging system of transportation.”

Richardson also named State Reps. Bill Reiboldt, R-Neosho, and Nate Tate, R-St. Clair, to serve on the task force, as well as Gretchen Ivy, an experienced civil engineer with nearly 20 years of experience in environmental planning, statewide transportation planning, bridge type studies, toll planning/feasibility analyses, freight planning, and traffic engineering, and Steve Halter, the Director of Economic Development in Butler County and the President of the Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce.

The five House members and two members from the private sector appointed by Richardson join five senators, seven more individuals from the private sector, and representatives from the Governor’s Office, Missouri Department of Transportation, Missouri Department of Economic Development, and the Missouri Highway Patrol.

Corlew says the task force plans to begin its work during the last week of June. The first meeting has been scheduled for June 28 at 1 p.m. at the State Capitol in Jefferson City. They will make a report of their recommendations to the General Assembly by January 1, 2018.

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