Eight counties | 36 cities | one region

a voluntary council of local governments
serving the missouri meramec area.

MRPC shares regional priorities with legislators

For immediate release

For more information, contact
Bonnie Prigge at (573) 265-2993

Sen. Mike Kehoe stands while discussing transportation needs with the Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s (MRPC) board.

Representatives Steve Lynch and Jason Chipman (from left) and Sen. Dan Brown (far right) were three of four state legislators that attended the Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s (MRPC) Dec. 10 meeting to express their views on current legislative issues and address the board about its 2016 legislative priorities.

ST. JAMES­­—Four state legislators serving constituents within the Meramec Region joined Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) for its Dec. 10 meeting.

Sen. Dan Brown, Sen. Mike Kehoe, Rep. Jason Chipman and Rep. Steve Lynch each spoke to the board about theirviews on current legislative issues, and the board shared its 2016 legislative priorities.

Each year, the MRPC board compiles a list of legislative priorities it considers important to the region and delivers those priorities to the legislators who serve the region.

The top priorities for 2016, as voted by MRPC board members, are:

· In regional transportation: Based on safety, economic development and quality of life issues, MRPC encourages the legislature to explore all options of state and federal funding to effectively address transportation project needs anddevelop a long term funding solution through taxes and fees. Furthermore, should construction funds become available, MRPC encourages the development of statewide corridors and supports the four-laning of Highway 63 from Arkansas to Iowa and Highway 50.

· In regional economic development: MRPC encourages the state of Missouri to consider Fort Leonard Wood as one of its prime industries and protect, maintain and expand the mission of the base and jobs located there, while supportingincentives to encourage expansion of existing businesses in and out of state.

· In health care and social services: MRPC supports the adoption of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to track where and how often people are refilling prescriptions to prevent drug abuse. MRPC supports efforts to improve heathcare and expand Medicaid in Missouri.

· In environmental issues: MRPC encourages the state to expand and continue state loan and grant programs to improve water system and sewage and treatment facilities and encourages the Department of Natural Resources to make available additional funding mechanisms for small, rural communities as well as a on site systems for homeowners.

· In education: MRPC requests that the state legislature ensure rural areas receive rural areas receive their fair share of education dollars.

· In local government: MRPC supports full funding of state mandates of local governments.

The board will formally approve the full list of priorities during its January 2016 board meeting. A report detailing all of MRPC’s legislative priorities will be delivered to all legislators representing residents of the region in late January.

Topics discussed by area legislators in attendance included Medicaid expansion, the importance of state support for Fort Leonard Wood, prevailing wage, transportation funding and term limits.

In other business, the MRPC board:

· Approved a priority ranking of transportation needs within the region, as recommended by the Transportation Advisory Committee, who met prior to the meeting.

· Learned that the federal priorities will be distributed to board members next week.

The board will meet again at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 14, 2016, at MRPC. Meetings are open to the public.

Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 24, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.

To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website at www.meramecregion.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meramecregion.