MARC is working to better incorporate conservation into transportation planning in the Kansas City region. The current federal transportation legislation emphasizes strengthening links between the planning and environmental review process in developing transportation plans and studies.
About the Eco-Logical Grant
In early 2008, MARC was awarded funding from the Federal Highway Administration’s Eco-Logical grant program, which supports making infrastructure more sensitive to wildlife and ecosystems through greater interagency cooperation and conservation.
Creating an Action Plan
With this grant, MARC worked with Shockey Consulting Services, LLC; Parsons Brinckerhoff; Environment International, Ltd.; and an advisory group to conduct a series of workshops to help create the Linking Environmental & Transportation Planning Action Plan, and develop a project summary and best practices guide. This work led to a clear understanding of what needs to be done to better integrate transportation and environmental planning in the Kansas City region.
Impacts on Transportation Planning
This effort is reflected in the region’s current Metropolitan Transportation Plan, Transportation Outlook 2040, which was approved in June 2010. For the first time, this 30-year plan includes policy direction to implement climate protection, energy and natural resource conservation measures as a part of future transportation investments. Project selection criteria for MARC’s planning and programming processes were also revised to include environmental considerations.
Developing a Regional Mitigation Strategy
One of the key recommendations of the Linking Environmental and Transportation Planning Action Plan was to create a regional mitigation strategy. To build upon recent successes and momentum, MARC launched a series of workshops in 2011 titled Above and Beyond Mitigation: Advancing the Eco-Logical Action Plan. The series resulted in framework criteria for a model environmental integration and mitigation process for Greater Kansas City. The Linking Advisory Group continues to further develop the criteria and policy recommendations that came out of this workshop series.