On November 21, 2005, the congregations of MORE2 adopted the Access to Opportunity Resolution. One-on-one meetings with public officials and community leaders following the May 2005 Issues Assembly revealed that inadequate transportation in the metropolitan area is a significant barrier that is preventing people, especially our youth, from access to Living Wage Jobs and Education. By adopting the Access to Opportunity Resolution, the congregations of MORE2 made the commitment to fully support implementation of the Smart Moves plan — a comprehensive, regional transportation initiative developed jointly by the Mid-America Regional Council, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, Johnson County Transit, and Unified Government Transit — while seeking short term solutions to the issue as well.
In January 2006, the MORE2 Access to Opportunity Task Group — composed of more than 30 volunteers from each of the covenanting congregations — began the process of:
· Educating the MORE2 congregations concerning: the need for an adequate regional transportation system that would improve access to jobs and education, and the provisions of the Smart Moves Plan.
· Providing the congregations of MORE2 with the resources necessary to advocate for legislative authority and to implement the Smart Moves Plan.
Throughout the legislative session, MORE2 congregants advocated for the passage of the Smart Moves plan sponsored in the Missouri Senate (SB 825) by Senator Chris Koster and co-sponsored by Senators Charlie Shields, Charles Wheeler and Yvonne Wilson; handled in the Missouri House by representative Bryan Pratt; and sponsored in the Kansas House (HB 2751) by Representative David Wilk. While the legislation never moved out of committee in Kansas, it received significant support by Missouri legislators in the metropolitan area and was enacted as law in Missouri following passage in the Missouri House.
The Access to Opportunity Task Group will continue to focus on the following:
· Building relationships with local and state elected officials —especially in Kansas — and with local transit agencies through one-on-ones, group meetings, and education opportunities in congregations
· Building strategic partnerships with transit advocacy groups.