KC Light Rail

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Does WyCo need the Legislature’s approval?

Mayor Funkhouser may have finally cracked the regional funding nut.

Funkhouser has uncovered the possibility that Wyandotte County may not need approval from the Kansas Legislature to opt in to a regional funding mechanism, based on a pre-existing bi-state agreement (WyCo pays KCATA to operate several bus routes today). If that's true, he may be able to cobble together a four-county consortium – Wyandotte in Kansas; Jackson, Platte, and Clay in Missouri – for a 1/2-cent sales tax this year that doesn't include Johnson County. From previous reports, a 1/4-cent sales tax polls better than the 3/8-cent tax KC would have to ask for if we go it alone. One might surmise that a 1/2-cent tax would fall somewhere in between. Chances could improve even more if voters see a solid plan before they enter the ballot box. Recent workshops suggest that if a handful of routing issues (East side spur, Grand vs. Main/Walnut, North Kansas City) are resolved by summer, the city might just have its first workable plan ever.

The Mayor expects to have an answer on whether or not to include Wyandotte County by May. Ballot language for a November election must be submitted by August.

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