When our blog posts are plastered with discussions of public money for private gain, recent news regarding the Rock Island Trail brings some welcome relief.
Senate Bill 196 creates a fund to allow private donors to help defray the costs of building a 144-mile long hiking and biking trail, which runs east–west south of the Katy Trail. The bill was needed because, while the trail is a priority for policymakers, current state funding isn’t enough to acquire and construct the trail.
This is good news for Missourians and, in particular, outdoor-recreation enthusiasts. It’s also good news for liberty-minded folks who favor funding infrastructure and other public goods privately (and voluntarily). Should negotiations between the current landowner (a railroad) and the state go well, and should enough money be raised, Missouri could have one of the longer continuous trails around.
While this isn’t the first privately-funded trail project in the state (there are some very nice private biking trails and parks, especially this one in Springfield), it is exciting to see the infrastructure in place to make such a large-scale project happen. Congratulations to policymakers for doing what makes entirely too much sense: creating the opportunity for enthusiasts to give to projects they're passionate about.