KC Light Rail

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Archive for the 'Funding' Category

Financial forum to touch on transit?

Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser has referenced transit as a discussion point for his Dec. 22 Forum on Financial Preparedness, which is designed to survey the city's troubling fiscal status as the country continues through a deepening recession. We've emailed the mayor's office for further detail based on this statement in the Business Journal:

Contained among those projects are transit, sewer and bridge projects, Funkhouser said.

As we posted last week — um, lack of motivation… m'kay? — the "official" list of stimulus projects doesn't include anything outside of smallish requests for trails and sidewalks, which doesn't correlate with the high rank transit garnered on the mayor's priority list.


Your government: “We don’t actually care about transit, SRSLY.”

It's all here in black-and-white on the US Conference of Mayors website. A laundry list of infrastructure projects and not one of them has anything to do with public transportation. Lots of crap for the KCI and Water Services, however. Thanks, Kansas City!

And do you think this is unique to the municipal level? Nah. MoDOT's big wish list has a request for 200 buses (likely to be shared between the 6 or 7 agencies state-wide), but the total ask is twice as big as what's expected from the economic stimulus. We're guessing the buses get cut first in favor of roads and bridge. Thanks, Missouri!

Our only hope is that the next transportation funding bill levels the playing field so that all modes are competitive and get the same federal match. Gas taxes are going to need to rise — as will transit fares — so get ready for that eventuality. This, of course, requires an improvement in the sloth-like pace of county leaders who thought things were moving to fast… and by too fast we mean two years.


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.



All the answers were in today's Star. Still got questions? If not, please check out this great article in today's Washington Post about the rebirth of the American City through the lens of the presidential campaign (it's kinda transit-related, we promise).

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Lies about light rail financing and the city’s bond rating

Fact: KCATA will be issuing its own debt for light rail construction financing and that debt will have no impact on the city's current debt load or it's bond rating. Period.

Don't believe us? See it in print here (Article III, Section 7).

Don't be fooled by salacious blog posts prompted by whispers from the opposition. The City is NOT on the hook for any light rail debt. It's no different than KCI having its own bond rating.

In fact, the city's bond rating is still doing very well. Any many are touting bonds as a recession-proof investment.


Infrastructure stimulus in the works?

While the idea of another economic stimulus package is floating around Washintgon (socialism! gasp!) some lawmakers are trying to focus the discussion on killing two birds — failing infrastructure and potentially high unemployment — with one stone: a federally-funded infrastructure push similar to the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression. After all, if we're going to spend billions bailing out the economy we might as well get something for it besides toxic paper and $600 Treasury checks that no one will spend.

Keep in mind that not only do we have a transit backlog, but both sides of the state line have road and bridge repair backlogs, as well as KC's much-discussed Combined Sewer Overflow replacement project.


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