Today, environmental, mass transit, anti-sprawl, and non-motorized transportation groups criticized a conference touted as addressing "total transportation needs" - citing an overabundance of agenda items and speakers representing only highways and roads. The conference - scheduled for tomorrow, Jan 7 at the Ramada Inn in Jefferson City - is jointly sponsored by the Governor, the Missouri Department of Transportation and Missouri Department of Economic Development. It is apparently intended as a follow-up to a year-long study of Missouri's total transportation needs.

The Governor's Total Transportation Commission took a broad look at all modes of conveyance - from pedestrians to air travel - and made sweeping recommendations for addressing the state's long term needs. But tomorrow's Conference agenda addresses mostly road-building concerns. Most speakers, panelists, and agenda items are primarily focused on continued development of roads at the expense of all other modes.



-Ron McLinden, Transportation Committee Chair of the Missouri Sierra Club: "We're pleased the Governor wants to demonstrate his commitment to total transportation, but we're disappointed he is lending the prestige of his office to an event which more nearly resembles a gathering of highway interests and contractors."

-Roger Pryor, Senior Policy Director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment: "From the looks of the speaker list, it appears as if the highway lobby is getting together to strategize how to get more money under the guise of "total transportation."

-Pryor: "Just take a look at who is NOT represented on the agenda: urban poor, women, minorities, handicapped, social service providers and clients, environmentalists, "smart growth" advocates, bicyclists, airline industry, pedestrians, trails organizations - and then tell me what is so "total" about this conference."

-Ken Midkiff, Director of the Missouri Sierra Club: "This is not a comprehensive conference on transportation -- it is a Total-business-as-usual Conference, paying homage to the thinking of the 60s and 70s. Over reliance on highways and automobiles has imposed a high price on our society. We need to have an open dialogue about expanding the focus - this conference emphatically does not do that."


The individuals quoted above - and others whose interests and concerns have been excluded - will be present for additional comments and to answer questions in the rear of the hall immediately following the conference.

Call 573-815-9250 for more information.