The Missouri Transportation and Development Council (MTD) is a non-profit organization of private citizens, public officials, companies and associations that believe the transportation system in Missouri demands continuing care and attention because it is vital to the state’s economic welfare and quality of life.
MTD has been in existence since 1920 when it was originally formed as the Missouri Good Roads Federation. The name was changed in 1972 to “Missouri Transportation and Development Council,” but the mission has remained the same: to encourage Missouri transportation systems, which will effectively enhance the quality of life, safety and the economic well-being of our citizens.
The Missouri Good Roads Federation was originally formed on August 31, 1920 to advocate for a bond issuance of $60 million to be used for the development of a statewide road system in Missouri. The bonds were to be repaid with vehicle registration fees. Although time was short and transportation difficult at the time, the Federation launched an aggressive statewide campaign that was successful in passing the bond issuance on November 2, 1920.
Incidentally, the president of the Federation was Harry B. Hawes, who would be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives at the same election where voters passed the $60 million bond issue and later serve in the U.S. Senate. Previously, while serving as a state representative, Hawes authored the legislation that established the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).
To put this in historical perspective, the Federation was mentioned in front page headlines above headlines regarding an unsuccessful attempt to charge a notorious gangster – Al Capone. The Federation pre-dated modern air travel and concentrated their efforts primarily on developing “hard roads” in the state.
The Missouri Good Roads Federation not only impacted Missouri greatly with the passage of the bond issue, the Federation’s leadership appeared before Congress to help authorize the matching funds necessary to make the construction projects possible.
Today, the Missouri Transportation and Development Council (MTD) still advocates for funding for transportation improvements and the funding to support those improvements. Highway funding has traditionally been the principal concern; however, MTD is also supportive of all multimodal needs including ports, rail, transit, aviation, etc.
In recent history, MTD worked closely over many years with the Missouri Department of Transportation, businesses from around the state and other stakeholders to find a solution to the transportation funding crisis facing Missouri.
In the 2014 legislative session, MTD supported, and the Missouri General Assembly passed, a proposal that asked voters to raise the state sales and use tax rate by 3/4% to fund transportation improvements. The tax would have generated about $538 million per year, but was rejected by voters.
MTD also supported legislation in the 2015 legislative session that would have increased the motor fuel tax over a period of six years to provide additional transportation funding, but the legislation failed. MTD will continue to pursue all options to increase additional funding.
MTD and Associated Industries of Missouri supported both of these recent funding increase proposals. Both organizations realize the importance of a reliable and up-to-date transportation system to the state’s business community. Employers must be able to move goods and people to and from our facilities, across our state and to and from points across the world if we are going to compete in a global economy. Transportation is always at the top of the list of job creators looking for new places to locate facilities and Missouri must invest in transportation to continue to compete for these projects. But investment in transportation also helps our existing employers and the employees that must get to work every day. Transportation improvements help everyone.
MTD is now a division of Associated Industries of Missouri, but maintains a separate autonomous Board of Directors led by Rod Reid of Shepherd Hills Factory Outlets in Lebanon, MO. The Board makes all decisions regarding transportation policy for MTD.
Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM) and Missouri Transportation and Development Council (MTD) support additional funding for transportation improvements.