KC Light Rail

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

Pitch: Know Thy Enemy

This week's Pitch has a great overview of what any November ballot initiative is up against — the same Kansas City elites who buried the 2001 plan — and the names are strikingly familiar. While characters like Wendell Cox typically carry the anti-transit torch on a national level, local foes dig deep to squash transit mega-projects that threaten their road-hungry/racist/status quo motives.

We've been keeping our own tick-list of "light rail enemies", and the Pitch's David Martin pegs the obvious ones without missing a beat. Others waiting in the wings are "neighborhood leaders" from Hyde Park, Cordish cronies, and the city's own aviation department (hint: they're completely reliant on parking fees, which improved transit to KCI would threaten).

Regardless, we're pretty sure KC voters will see through any stealth anti-transit campaign — as they saw through the anti-bus-tax campaign this spring that pretended to be all about about excluding TIF payments.

UPDATE: The Pitch's Plog adds another foe to the list.

7 Comments so far

  1. Noll June 26th, 2008 8:44 am

    Most people are not against mass transit in general or light rail in particular. But most people are against the boneheaded light rail plan pushed through by the idiot from Virginia that will not make matters here better.

  2. Joe Medley June 26th, 2008 10:56 pm

    R. Crosby Kemper became president of UMB in 1956, the same year the old streetcar system was dismantled in Kansas City. At the time, it was a reasonable thing to do since the cost per mile of operating buses was considerably less than the cost per mile of operating street cars. The reason: cheep gas. (I wonder how those figures would compare now.)

    Even though there are nice places on Grand, like the stretch between 20th street and Crown Center, which I love, most of it could use some work. Kemper’s comment that Grand is his favorite boulevard makes me wonder if he’s been there in the last thirty years.

    Bottom line: Kemper is out of touch. If he can’t keep up with what’s going on in the world, he needs to shut his mouth.

  3. Eric June 27th, 2008 1:48 pm

    Another Kemper to the list… Crosby Kemper III. He’s chair of the board of the Show Me Institute, a libertarian think tank that includes light rail on its hit list of government programs that should be eliminated.

  4. Dave June 27th, 2008 1:58 pm

    libertarian, eh? don’t you mean librarian? ;-)

  5. Brent July 13th, 2008 10:52 am

    “OLD” Hyde Park….I don’t think anyone in “Hyde Park” opposes the route, in fact, most seem to be excited about the possibility (although at this point, it seems unlikely) that the East/West line would run down Linwood. Old Hyde Park (west of Main) has historically been against it though.

  6. K August 4th, 2008 4:57 pm

    From Portland, Oregon. Love the us versus them mentality by labeling disenting voices as a “foe”. Similar mentality here in PDX. Not everybody who disagrees with you should be labeled a foe.
    Light rail “feels good” until you get the bill; >$180 million per mile here in PDX not counting maint., employees and power.
    Now add in the “carbon footprint” of construction and it is far more expensive and far more polluting than buses.
    Buses are cheaper by tens of millions and far more flexible. They also come in zero emission electric versions.
    Also, light rail is always a crime magnet, always; ask any transit cop in any city that has it.

  7. Matt Fisher August 8th, 2008 9:50 pm

    Actually, I’m the guy who wrote the Wikipedia article about Wendell Cox. I felt they needed an article so people would be able to understand this shady person.

    Here’s another enemy you need to know:
    *Randal O’Toole (he’s ironically from Oregon). There’s a response to trash arguments in a junk science piece by O’Toole, “Debunking Portland”.
    *Bill Vincent of the unabashedly pro-BRT organization, the Breakthrough Technologies Institute. This group has put out trash claiming that BRT is “greener” than electric rail and therefore “better” for fighting global warming; I’ve got a response. (Full disclosure: I’m from Ottawa, ON, Canada’s capital, which is often viewed as a Mecca for BRT by its boosters, with our Transitway BRT. We’re discussing converting it to electric LRT with an expansion of our “diesel light rail” O-Train.

    Anyway, these ideologues like Cox have connections to ExxonMobil, along with other people who deny global warming. Citizens should be informed about who Cox, O’Toole, etc. are, so as to “know thy enemy”.

Leave a reply