KC Light Rail

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

Archive for December, 2008

I-35 BRT submitted as stimulus project

Johnson County Transit has submitted the I-35 "fixed guideway" (i.e. Bus Rapid Transit) project to be considered for the economic stimulus package that's being hashed out over the holidays. Unfortunately, KDOT hasn't figured out whether it can run a bus on a freeway shoulder — especially one with much-maligned left exits. BRT was recently selected as the "preferred alternative" over commuter rail due to cost and ridership concerns.

KCK has applied for funding for "State Avenue Rehabilitation", which includes "curb, sidewalk, and street rehabilitation, street lights". Presumably this would help improve the corridor in advance of the State Avenue BRT line that is in early planning stages.

The rest of the list is here. KCMO's list is blank at this time.


Round-up: Welcoming 2009

No Soup For You:

  • No free holiday cab service this year (KMBC)
  • Krugman: Obama stimulus not enough (CBS News)
  • Where are oil prices headed in 2009? (CNN)
  • Light rail attracts 150,000 in opening Phoenix weekend (KNXV)

Metro Route Changes (effective 1/5/09):

  • #28-Blue Ridge Ends Independence Trips
  • #28X Changes Afternoon Times
  • #51-Ward Parkway Adds Stop
  • #57-South Oak Changes Times On One Trip
  • #71-Prospect To Eliminate One Trip
  • #101 Changes Times On One Trip
  • #102 To Serve Prescott Plaza, End Union Station, Bethany Medical Service
  • #106-Quindaro Changes Times On One Trip
  • #129-I-29 Express Adds Rush Hour Trips
  • #135 Changes Times On First Trip
  • #142-North Oak Adds Rush Hour Trips
  • #243 Changes Route Near Argosy
  • #260 Changes Indian Springs Route
  • Independence Fare Increase, Service Changes
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KC files brief in Chastain legal challenge

Kansas City's attorney filed a brief today responding to the appeal of the dismissal of Clay Chastain's challenge to the City Council's repeal of his light rail petition initiative that passed in November 2006.

Did you follow that? Well, it's not that important. The challenge was dismissed and the appeal will probably be dismissed, as well. Meh.

In retrospect, the Council's outright repeal of the "unworkable" plan seems especially foolish — not for any legal reason, but simply for the fact that changing the plan with a subsequent vote would have avoided the November 2008 failure at the ballot box.

But here we are, regardless, with our smelly buses, waiting patiently for county leaders to get moving on a regional plan so Chastain can't come back with another initiative (because, let's face it, he will). Recent budget crunches at all levels will put the inevitable off for another year, and Kansas City will continue to evade a reputation as a serious metropolitan area.

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Call Congress for a greener stimulus

Please contact your Congressional representatives this week to tell them you want as green an economic stimulus as possible. This is especially important for Missouri residents since our own Senator Kit Bond is on the powerful Senate appropriations committee.

While we've noted that Kansas City's own stimulus project list contains money for trails, sidewalks, and sewers — as well as a MoDOT request for more buses — there are a lot of road/highway/interchange items on the list that would not qualify as green whatsoever. Yes, they're "shovel ready", but if the lists must be cut — and they will be — the priorities should go with jobs and green. They are not mutually exclusive.

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Round-up: This week in stimulus

  • KC to try for federal stimulus money (KMBC)
  • Top Democrat aims to boost mass transit's funding share (Wall Street Journal)
  • Transit funds present quandary for Obama (Boston Globe)
  • Obama has one chance to get infrastructure spending right (Wired News)
  • States, cities spar over stimulus money (stateline.org)
  • Stimulus competition grows as companies vie for funds (Bloomberg)
  • SLT interchange on radar for federal stimulus funds (Lawrence Journal-World)
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Transcript of LaHood press conference

Here's the full transcript of President-elect Barack Obama's press conference introducing his new Secretary of Transportation (and others). We've clipped the important bits:

We have a task before us to rebuild America. As a nation, we need to continue to be the world leader in infrastructure development, Amtrak, mass transit, light rail, air travel, and our roads and bridges all play a vital role in our economy and our well-being as a nation.

We cannot stand by our infrastructure ages and crumbles. We must pursue solid policies that allow our states and communities to address their transportation needs. We have a tremendous opportunity before us to rebuild our infrastructure and reinvigorate our economy, and I look forward to the challenge.

A hallmark of my career has been my work with our local and state leaders as we have improved the infrastructure of Illinois. I’ve served on the House Transportation and infrastructure committee as we reauthorize the Federal Highway Bill. I understand first hand what good infrastructure and transportation means to communities, and understand it is the local folks who know best their transportation needs. We’ll bring that same approach to the Department of Transportation.

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