State transportation department officials have traveled more than 25,000 miles through all 114 counties to hear Missourians’ suggestions about the state’s transportation system twenty years from now.

The meetings have produced more than 12,000 suggestions for the department’s direction. Director Dave Nichols says a way to pay for or the things the Missourians want is a topic for a later day.

All of that talk has produced four general goals–taking care of the present system; continued development of safety features; spending money on transportation projects that encourage economic growth, and giving Missouians more choices.   Nichols says today’s department is mostly a road and bridge department.  He says it’s encouraging to see Missourians talking about rail, transit, bike and pedestrian facilities, and improvements in ports and airports.

Nichols admits a twenty-year look forward is pretty long, given the department usually makes specific plans for no more than five years. “It forces us to be a little visionary instead of thinking of the current issues of the day,” he says.

The department is not done taking comments. It wants Missourians to respond to the four goals and make other comments on its website.  Here’s a link:

AUDIO: Nichols interview (14:06