KC Light Rail

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

Archive for February, 2009

Profiles in Courage or Absurdity?

Two very different takes on the continued legal challenges from Clay Chastain: Star columnist Mike Hendricks and Scott Wilson on Pitch Weekly's Plog.

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RTA issues statement on diverting transit funds

The Regional Transit Alliance has issued a statement opposing the diversion of funds from the 1/2-cent transportation tax that supports the ATA. This tax is in addition to the 3/8-cent bus tax approved by voters in April 2008.

You can send an email directly to your council representatives, mayor, and city manager (the source of the recommendation), by using this form. All you need is your street address.


MARC issues stimulus recommendations

MARC has issued its list [PDF] of recommended surface transportation projects to be funded by the stimulus plan (ARRA). Of interest to the transit community:


  • State Avenue Improvements, Unified Government of Wyandotte County ($5,000,000) – Will directly support the future State Avenue BRT route, which itself is unfunded (or is it, Senator Brownback?).
  • Operation Green Light System Enhancement, MARC ($1,000,000) – Synchronizes traffic signals across municipalities, improving travel times for buses.


  • Troost Bridge Replacement, Kansas City ($8,000,000) – Required for implementation of Troost BRT service.
  • Operation Green Light System Enhancement, MARC ($3,700,000) – See above.
  • Regional Transit (Smart Moves) Implementation Plan, MARC ($261,250) – Planning for the Smart Moves BRT system.
  • Traffic Control Center Phase 1, Kansas City ($750,000) – While Phase 1 is just for "rebuilding and rehabilitation of the current Traffic Operations building", once completed the center could improve bus or light rail travel times (if they were prioritized, of course).

The rest of the list is for roads and bridges that are too far flung to make a dent in our anemic transit situation. A different set of projects specifically directed at mass transit has yet to be released.

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Appellate court hears Chastain challenge

Read about the continued courtroom drama here, but heed this: "Chastain conceded to the three-judge panel that if the repeal was struck down, there may have to be yet another light-rail vote."

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Kansas counties host regional transit meetings

KDOT and MARC are hosting a series of public meetings in five area counties — Johnson, Wyandotte, Douglas, Leavenworth, and Miami — to "develop recommendations that are technically feasible, politically acceptable, and financially realistic." Our translation: Tell us where you want buses to go and don't bother asking for commuter or light rail. The first meeting was last week in Lawrence (sorry!). KC metro meetings start tomorrow night in Olathe and continue into next month. Things to keep in mind, if you plan to attend:

- The Kansas side of the KC metro has no weekend or evening bus service.
- KDOT is actively studying Amtrak service in this area.
- Bus rapid transit has been proposed for the Metcalf Avenue, State Avenue, and I-35 corridors.
- Unified Government Transit (Wyandotte), The JO (Johnson), the T (Lawrence), and ATA (KCMO) do not have interoperable payment systems or trip planners.
- KDOT actually funds local transit services (more than MoDOT!).
- Leavenworth and Miami counties have no regular transit service and no inter-city travel options other than private automobiles (no Amtrak, no Greyhound, no nothing).
- Lawrence just merged its city transit operator with that of the University of Kansas last year (and approved dedicated local funding for the first time).
- There is no current regional plan to make connections between modes (trails don't connect to bus routes, bus routes don't go to the airport, inter-city buses don't stop in the same place as inter-city rail, sidewalks often don't exist); this, of course, makes auto travel a necessity for nearly everyone… people who are underage or elderly, people who drink, and people who otherwise are physically impaired or cannot drive themselves.

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KC area could net $20m in transit capital stimulus

The Federal Transit Administration released preliminary figures for transit capital assistance to urban areas today. The Kansas City metro could receive as much as $20 million from the recently passed ARRA. St. Louis and Springfield will tentatively receive $45 million and $3 million, respectively. Based on what we know, this funding would go directly to the transit operators, probably based on a priority set by the MPO (MARC, in KC's case).


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