KC Light Rail

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Who Knew? Northlanders Kept Light Rail Vote Afloat

The Kansas City Star's Mike Rice points out that the part of Kansas City that is north of the Missouri River and outside of Jackson County helped the light rail initiative pass (Cass County at 51%; Platte County at 55%). Chastain himself notes that the route “will facilitate their commutes by allowing them to avoid the bottlenecks over the Missouri River bridges” and that “it could help revitalize areas of North Oak Trafficway, create more healthy mixed-use developments and reverse urban sprawl.”

What's more problematic, however, is that the proposed route passes through two municipalities in these counties that are not part of KCMO proper (Gladstone and North Kansas City). Both of those municipalities have remained quiet on what the vote means to their long-term plans for smart growth (both Gladstone and North Kansas City are landlocked by KCMO).

Rice also uncovers another group who could present a major roadblock to the plan up north: the Kansas City Aviation Department, which runs Kansas City International Airport — the northern terminus of the proposed route. KCI says in no uncertain terms that they perceive light rail as competition to the airport's parking and car rental fees (the latter are going to support the construction of the Sprint Center).

5 Comments so far

  1. Eric December 26th, 2006 12:06 pm

    It’s really interesting that this light rail plan passed in all parts of the city, including most Northland precincts. Previous plans have failed in the Northland and central city turnout wasn’t enough to offset that loss.

    So this shows a clear majority of Kansas Citians are ready to move forward with a new transportation system.

  2. Joe Medley December 26th, 2006 2:20 pm

    I hope KCI and their supporting interests to not have enough sway to scuttle the plan.

  3. Dustin December 26th, 2006 3:07 pm

    Does anybody truly think the final version of this plan will actually have the funds to make it all the way to the airport? At least before 2050? I’m skeptical. . .

  4. Dave December 26th, 2006 4:14 pm

    I think everyone involved is pretty clear about how the plan will have to be carved into at least two phases. To Joe’s comment, thankfully the prevailing wisdom is put the airport connection will be in the future phase, so by that time there might be a new person in charge! Also, it gives the Northland some time to increase the density on that leg, which will help with federal funding.

  5. LT May 20th, 2007 6:59 am

    We are so spread out in the Northland that we would need everyone south of the river to come North and move to transit streets to make it cost effective. City hall has let leap frog building go on for to long. Without fill in transit will be a bust.

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