KC Light Rail

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Portland impresses, Kansas doesn’t

Prime Buzz reports that the KC City Council contingent that visited Portland just returned very impressed. It's great to read positive comments from a council member whose district won't be directly served by the proposed starter line — the 5th District's Cindy Circo, in this case — unlike the disparaging comments from the 6th District's John Sharp. Sharp recently commented that light rail would serve Columbia better than it would serve KC, from his perspective.

Meanwhile, the stark reality of light rail support in the Kansas Legislature finally appears: the regional legislation proposed by Mayor Funkhouser won't be on the next legislative agenda. Regardless, there is still work to do on the Missouri side (you know, the OTHER three counties in the proposed five-county alliance).

Also, if you haven't marked your calendars for the Wednesday, Feb. 27 light rail scoping meeting… do it now!

7 Comments so far

  1. northlander February 20th, 2008 10:31 pm

    People want to live where governments provide safe environments,quality schools,maintain the intrastucture,and spend taxpayer money wisely. Kansas City should get its house in order before talking light rail. The water/sewer increase will be more than KC can handle.

  2. Dave February 20th, 2008 10:43 pm

    Portland has a combined sewer problem, too, and they seem to manage (~$1.4B). If you do a little research, you’ll see that all light rail cities have the same budget problems, infrastructure problems, crime problems, etc. KC is not unique and improved transit has become a priority to support future growth.

  3. northlander February 21st, 2008 6:46 pm

    It would seem that Overland Park is going BRT and others in Kansas will follow.The main reason is cost. We only have to wait to see which goes into operation first,light rail or BRT. With Ed Ford going one way and the Mayor another, KCMO will be another 5 years talking about transit. I don’t think light rail will get the support it needs to go on Main St. or Broadway.
    By the way do they have a Power& Light District to pay for like us?

  4. Dave February 22nd, 2008 12:09 am

    the OP crowd wasn’t talking any specifics about funding the proposed BRT line tonight. it was “multi-jurisdictional” and “already in progress”… i read that to mean “smartmoves” and “don’t ask”. OP has no dedicated transit tax, so one would need to be presented to voters. AND it would probably terminate in downtown KC. how does that trump KCMO exactly?

  5. northlander February 22nd, 2008 9:27 pm

    I think it will end in Mission KS. City just might come up with the money to start the line and the JO would take over ,time will tell.

  6. Wayne February 23rd, 2008 9:15 am

    The OP plan for Vision Metcalf is vastly different from Funkhouser’s Folly which was designed to funnel riders through downtown KCMO. OP has plans for its own entertainment district (in the Spint Complex) so our conventioneers won’t have to go to downtown KCMO. We also will have the ability to run our BRT direct and non-stop to KCI so we don’t have to go to downtown KCMO just to get to KCI. The JO has already decided against light rail down I-35 as far too expensive - BRT will do the job there also. How we pay for our public transit (the JO) should not cause any concern. The county funds the current system. Unlike MO plans there will not be separate systems in JOCO. Its not set in concrete yet, but most likely OP will include the transit element in the cost of the Metcalf revitalization effort. OP will build the guideways, transit stops, etc. The JO would integrate whatever OP builds into their system. We are not stupid enough to run 2 public transit systems that perform the same function.
    Future expansion plans will include a Johnson Drive line down through Mission first. When we decide its time to connect to KCMO, it will probably be with the Olathe BRT down I-35. When that is in place, there will be a link from the Metcalf BRT at Metcalf and I-35. No way will OP go to downtown very soon. Saving a KCMO downtown is a KC dream but not an OP priority. We are trying to revitalize a city with a transit element as part of a comprehensive county system. The JO has a 5 year plan that was put together by Johnson County citizens and Jo management. OP’s transit element will become part of that overall plan. Without a comprehensive multi-modal public transit plan, KCMO fights over 4 light rail plans and can’t even agree on whether they want to put back a 3/8 cent tax for their bus system. Johnson County has a completely different public transit problem than KCMO and we are trying to solve that problem through cooperation between cities and the county. If KCMO had all the energy wasted on bickering and wrangling over public transit, it could power a light rail train for the next 100 years.
    I predict Johnson County will join with its neighboring Kansas counties of Wyandotte, Leavenworth, and Miami to form an Eastern Kansas Transit Alliance. It will be a first step toward a seamless public transit system to link these 4 counties and facilitate their integration into a Kansas metroplex as big and as powerful as our neighbors across the state line. Obviously it will be to the advantage of all of us to be part of a seamless area wide transit system but it can’t be done utilizing leadership from those who have no plan except to access Kansas money. If KCMO will just look up from its arguing it will see Kansas developing an affordable and workable transit system with BRT’s whizzing back and forth across Kansas county lines as it serves the needs of its people rather than that of special interest groups. Wyandotte’s West village is the top tourist attraction in Kansas and when the water park and casino are in place, it will create 6,000 new jobs - all without an earnings tax. 5,000 new slot machines will be in place compared to 8,500 in Missouri. I can envision BRT linking West village to Johnson County in a way that both areas will benefit financially and culturally. Sometimes it is very hard to accept the truth - but the truth is that soon, very soon, Eastern Kansas will be self sufficient. There will always be a symbiotic relationship between the Mid-America communities across the state line. The difference from the past is that it will not be parasitic - Kansas won’t need Missouri. When Kansas builds 13 miles of BRT line for every mile of light rail KCMO builds (for the same money) transit reality will set in and others will see that the correct way to implement public transit is the way all public projects should be built - with careful attention to getting the most value for the least cost.

  7. northlander February 23rd, 2008 5:25 pm

    It seems that either MARC or the ATA should of come up with a plan long ago.[master plan] This is what happens when certain people want Light Rail to on certain streets,and not where its needed. OP will renew some old and connect the dots for transit. without the debt that KCMO wants to have.

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