KC Light Rail

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The Infrastructure Bailout: Could KC compete for funds?

Momentum continues to build for the next economic bailout package to include a major infusion for infrastructure funding. The chorus of economists pushing the idea point to jobs, jobs, jobs. Why? It takes a lot of local hands to build stuff. Turns out the $600 "refund" checks were a total waste and the hastily-approved toxic assets purchase has already been abandoned. One alternative is to take a page from China's playbook. Yes, our rail systems in the US are considered third world.

The Chinese government says it will create six million new jobs by investing $87-billion in railway projects next year. It also plans to invest a similar amount in urban mass-transit projects, where Bombardier has traditionally been a top supplier of rail cars and other equipment. Bombardier has already sold about 1,300 metro cars in China and it is currently tracking about 200 possible transit contracts in 37 cities across China, Mr. Zhang said.

But after a failure at the ballot box, KC might have to play catch up — again — to capture part of a domestic infrastructure package for urban or commuter rail, or even for the oft-discussed combined sewer replacement project. Earlier this year, Mayor Funkhouser was one of several big city mayors to testify before the US Senate that additional infrastructure spending was needed.

2 Comments so far

  1. Mark Forsythe November 13th, 2008 10:35 am

    Any economist worth their salt will tell you tax rebates do nothing. Imagine if we would have taken all those $600 checks and undertaken a massive infrastructure project? Jobs, money back out into the economy and something tangible to boot!

    China has the right idea. Hopefully a new administration in D.C. will follow suit.

  2. John December 7th, 2008 10:41 pm

    Please KC (my home town), develop a back bone and some cajones, work like the devil, and get a light rail package in place so Obama can help you build a mass transit system.

    The same people who have shouted down these proposals for years, are the same people who’ve gotten us into the epic, crimminal financial Ponzi scheme. Some of them are poor, dumb shlubs, but many are far right kooks and other malcontents.

    Get the starter line plan going again. Like now.

    Why is Kansas City always, I mean always, a day late and a dollar short?

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