KC Light Rail

Your source for news and information on Kansas City’s light rail progress

Funk and Chastain to meet, swap LRT recipes

Just kidding… but the two will be having a light rail "summit" (Steve Penn's words, not ours) during Chastain's July visit to KC. We hope — based on each man's excessive use of first-person singular pronouns — that they bring their wives along to diffuse all of the Type A talk that's sure to ensue. We offer our own advice to each:


  • Give your regards to (and give up on) Broadway. The last group you want to fight is a neighborhood association. Let the city go with Main/Grand, as most people who have an opinion on the matter are no longer concerned with the precision of the ballot language.
  • Listen. Mayor Funk is a very smart man. Stay on topic and be reasonable, or he will intellectually crush you like a Swallowtail Butterfly.
  • Relax. Dave Helling is the only one that's really out to get you. Everyone else just wants to build consensus.


  • Pause the insistence on regionalism. Note we didn't say "give up" or "screw Kansas", but unless you've visited Topeka lately, we suggest (again) giving the locally-funded starter route a shot. Not only would it be leverage with Chastain for changing other specifics, but it stems the tide that's growing against you on the issue.
  • Listen. Chastain is an insistent and battered man. People are continually trying to cut him down on a personal level to try and make him go away, but that only makes him more tenacious.
  • Relax, and bring Ed Ford, too.

8 Comments so far

  1. InsiderGuy June 28th, 2007 1:29 pm

    “Relax. Dave Helling is the only one that’s really out to get you. Everyone else just wants to build consensus.”

    May I offer an edit:

    “Relax. Dave Helling is the only one that’s really out to get you. Everyone else just wants you to go away.”

  2. Dave June 28th, 2007 2:34 pm

    clever! {^_^}

  3. Dave June 29th, 2007 8:31 am

    from a 5/24/07 article in the Star:

    “In addition to having more economic development potential, [BNIM’s Steve] McDowell said, the Main-Grand alignment would have fewer political obstacles. MainCor, the property owner group in midtown along Main Street, has endorsed a light-rail route, while the Broadway-Westport Association is on record opposing the Broadway alignment.”

    granted, their opposition was pre-election and based on the original wording — which included closing broadway through penn valley park to vehicle traffic — but it’s still an obstacle.

  4. northlander July 2nd, 2007 10:52 am

    With KC using money to build the KC Live downtown even bean counter Funk knows KC is at it’s limits on getting any more bond money with the LR and water/sewer going for about $10 billion just a small reccession would put KC usder. Don’t think a Capital One card will handle this one.

  5. cm davis July 7th, 2007 7:40 am

    Dear Mayor Mark Funkhouser:

    You provided the following quote to Steve Penn in his Kansas City Star commentary of June 28, 2007 (Page B-1) on the Clay Chastain light rail plan: “I don’t think his plan is feasible. It’s not regional. And it’s funded only by Kansas City. We don’t have enough money in Kansas City to fund a good plan. We need to tap into regional sources.”

    Have you communicated this to the members of your City Council? It appears not because several of them are proceeding along a path that would indicate that Kansas City can indeed afford light rail. Councilman Ed Ford, and members of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee have held meetings, with guest speakers, about building light rail in our city. Meetings at which, I might add, no opportunity or invitation for public input was offered. Likewise, meetings mentioned in Mr. Penn’s column between Mr. Chastain and whomever, will be without media presence. What’s the big secret?

    Why are you and the City Council wasting time talking about something we can’t afford? It is a simple tenet of economics and financial budgeting that if you cannot afford something, you do without. We have a huge sewer issue looming, perhaps costing as much a $5 billion. Where is that money going to come from? Which do you think residents of Kansas City would prefer, light rail or toilets that flush?

    Along with Mr. Penn’s column, there has been other Star coverage about the upcoming visit of Mr. Chastain to our city and his intention to sit down with you, members of the T & I committee, various groups or individuals that have proposed plans, as well as meeting “privately on July 16 with opponents to his plan.” Who are the opponents?

    This light rail madness must stop. We cannot afford it, and we do not have a smidgen of the densities of people or businesses required to justify even a starter line. Routes proposed so far do nothing more than connect TIF districts. We do not need light rail.

    I urge you to take the opportunity with Mr. Chastain to tell him we do not need him meddling in the affairs of our city any longer. He does not live, work, vote or pay taxes here. He does not and will not provide one dime to anything, light rail or otherwise. He has no legal status here, and his threats are empty. Voters have been wrong before, and those supporting this proposal were wrong in November 2006. They were bamboozled.

    The vote needs to be rescinded in its entirety, and all talk of light rail must cease. We need to focus on the work of providing the greatest array of improvements for the greatest number of folks in our entire city, and not cater to the special interests of a few elites. We have had enough of that sort of governance in the past, and are looking to you for a strong statement of change.

  6. Dave July 7th, 2007 3:06 pm

    if “all talk of light rail must cease”, then you had better not continue reading this site.

    while the sewer issue is an absolute biggie, we’re *not* the only major US city facing the problem, and it’s very likely the EPA will be forced to assist all cities in becoming compliant. besides, if we’re going to tear up every street between brookside and the river we might as well be laying rails at the same time. don’t worry about your property value, cm, because study after study proves that the effect is a net positive.

  7. cm davis July 8th, 2007 9:08 am

    i will read this insipid site because i wish to be current on the nonsense being said about light rail. the fact that it must cease doesn’t change, but as long as there are those who would fleece the taxpayers with yet another boondoggle like this insures we will be subjected to endless blather about it. it will NEVER get built; we don’t need it and we cannot afford it. our city isn’t smart enough to coordinate a sewer project with a light rail project. look at the sort of morons who are pushing it…clay chastain and his ilk? gimmie a break. if there is anyone who should be crushed like a swallowtail butterfly, it’s the latte-swilling idiots of groups like the urban society, BNMI, et al. how many of them ride public transit from their homes in hyde park? the routes proposed thus far will have NO effect on property values, because all they do now is connect TIF districts. Areas that need this sort of boost, and the riders that live there, are completely ignored…again.

  8. Dave July 8th, 2007 1:28 pm

    so would you support a north-south line down prospect? or perhaps an east-west route connecting the northeast to KCK? while there is concensus at some level, it’s certainly not a done deal.

    i’d believe you about “never” if this was 2001, but voters actually approved a plan and have been rather vocal about expecting something. it’s no longer “if”, but “when”. that you believe our writing is insipid only underlines the fact that naysayers believe the swelling tide of public opinion is a threat and they will now say anything they can (”latte-swilling”, “boondoggle”… how original!) to regain control of the conversation, even if those statements are patently untrue. you’re not preaching to the choir, dear sir, because people come here for information and discussion about the system they *want*.

    if you want to be a part of the discussion, that’s fine… we welcome all who bring productive and factual information to the table whether we agree or not. insults and silly tirades will get your IP address/range banned, and you’ll no longer be able to post comments… it’s your choice.

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