Transit Action Network (TAN)

Advocates for Improved and Expanded Transit in the Kansas City Region.

Attend Public Meetings – Redesigning Downtown KC Transit – July 17

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 14, 2014


redesign_downtown_transitKCATA is working on a comprehensive long-term downtown transit plan and they want your input. Brief presentations will introduce the downtown service concept to simplify and enhance transit options for downtown transit customers.KCATA

KCATA is proposing new/improved transit centers at 3rd and Grand, Crown Center/Union Station, West Center Loop and East Village, as well as changes to 35 different routes.

Map of Downtown Concept

Map of Downtown Concept

They want to create a more intuitive, faster, and integrated system including:

  • Transit emphasis corridors along Grand Blvd. (north and south) and 11th and 12th streets (east and west)
  • Dedicated bus lanes and improved transit stations
  • Two new transit hubs

Learn more, ask questions and tell them what do you think.

Attend: Public Community Meetings — Two meetings are being held

When: July 17, 2014

Meeting 1:

Time: 11:30am – 1pm

Where:Kansas City Central Library
Multipurpose Room, Vault Level
14 W. 10th Street, Kansas City, MO

Brief presentation at 11:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. followed by open house format. Parking garage at 10th & Baltimore

Meeting 2:

Time: 5 – 6:30pm

 Where: Kansas City Design Center
1018 Baltimore, Kansas City, MO

Brief presentation at 5:15 p.m. followed by open house format. On-street parking available

Fro more information and suggested transit routes to the meetings:  KCATA Downtown Service Improvement Concept

Print and post the invitation: invitation KC downtown transit

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Transit Talk July 8 Upcoming KC Streetcar/MAX Election KKFI 90.1FM

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 7, 2014


KKFI 90.1 FMTransit Action Network interviews Councilman Russ Johnson and KCATA Director of System Development, Dick Jarrold, about the upcoming election on August 5. In-depth discussion of the ballot for the proposed expansion of the KC streetcar system and the Prospect Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)/ MAX. The discussion will focus on how the streetcar plan differs from light rail and the MAX, what is a Transportation Development District, what is actually on  the ballot and why the ballot language differs so much from the streetcar recommendations adopted by the city.streetcar

When: Tuesday, July 8 at 6 pm

Where: KKFI 90.1 FM Community Radio

Link to podcast Radio Active Magazine for July 8

The streetcar/MAX question is the last item on the August 5th ballot and although the ballot looks very long, several pages describe the boundaries of the Transportation Development District (TDD) (much easier to see in the picture) and several pages describe the types of taxes allowed and the maximum tax rates that can be applied, if the city gets enough money  (TDD taxes and assessments plus Federal match plus additional sources) to build a “substantial” portion of the project.

TDD boundary and proposed routes

Ballot, Resolution,Transit Studies and Interactive Map

Aug 5, 2014 Ballot (from KC election board) in parts of Kansas City, Missouri 08.05.14_sample_ballot_ISSUES

Resolution passed by city council regarding streetcar expansion Resolution 140227

SW corner of TDD

SW corner of TDD

Next Rail Final Expansion Report

Prospect MAX Final Planning Report June 2014

Link to Interactive map to identify properties (blue on the map) in the potential property assessment area (1/3 mile from potential tracks)

A summary of the KC streetcar/MAX election on August 5th:

No taxes will be collected as a result of the August 5th election for the KC streetcar expansion plan. No tax rates are even authorized for future collection.

This election sets up a taxing district and potential tax rates. If the first vote passes, then a second election on November 4th will set actual tax rates and authorize collection of  taxes.

If passed, this election would:

  1. Create the Kansas City Urban Rail Transportation Development District (TDD)
  2. Create a list of potential taxing methods –Sales tax, property assessment, and surface parking lot assessment
  3. Define the boundaries for the whole district for the potential sales tax
    1. Maximum sales tax rate is 1 percent
  4. Define the smaller boundary for the potential real property assessment (maximum of 1/3 mile from the tracks)
  5. Define potential real property assessment rates and identify which groups would pay those ratesTDD_local_revenue_sources
    1. Residential – Maximum yearly property assessment for a $100,000 property is $133
    2. Commercial – Maximum yearly property assessment for $1 million property is $1,540
    3. Kansas City – Maximum yearly property assessment for $1 million property is $3,328
    4. Non-profits, including churches and schools – Maximum yearly property assessment for $1 million property is $896 (property value of $300,000 or less pays $0)
  6. Limit the transit projects that can be built in the district and describe their general location
    1. Streetcars or light/rail and a new MAX line
    2. Generally on Main Street, Independence Ave, and Linwood Blvd. for the streetcar and Prospect Ave and 12th Street for the MAX
    3. Length of the routes or the farthest eastern or southern stops are not identified or guaranteed
  7. Create a new Board of Directors of the District
  8. Restrict collection of the taxes until the new TDD Board decides sufficient funds are collected to build a “substantial amount of the project”.
    1. Substantial is not defined
  9. If both elections pass, then the Downtown Streetcar TDD will be abolished and absorbed into this new district.

 

 

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Event: Opening of 105-Rosedale Route June 30

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 29, 2014


Join us at the opening event for the #105-Rosedale Route, which connects Argentine and Rosedale areas in Kansas City, Kansas.KCATA

 When: June 30th, at 11:48 am

Where: Emerson Park@ Strong Ave and S29th ST in KCK  

UG logoKCATA: Weekday ScheduleSaturday ScheduleMap

Transit advocates should rejoice since the implementation of this route is a great example of what grassroots advocacy is all about. Rosedale residents felt the need for better transit and they worked with the community residents, churches, and businesses, as well as, Transit Action Network, KCATA, Unified Government Transit and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Ks., to make this route a reality.

Help spread the word about this new route to make it a success.Rosedale_Development_Association

Beginning Monday, June 30, The Metro’s 105-Rosedale route will provide service Monday through Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The route will run every 60 minutes. On weekdays, the 105 will use a 23-seat vehicle; on Saturdays, it will use a 12-seat vehicle.

The route connects to the 104-Argentine and the 107-7th Street.

The route’s destinations include: Argentine Community Center, Argentine District, Argentine School, Cambridge Apartments, Continental Apartments, Emerson Park, Frank Rushton School, JC Harmon School, Kansas City Transitional Care Center, Mission Road Studios, Rainbow Ridge Apartments, Rosedale District, Save-A-Lot, University of Kansas Medical Center, Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, and Westwood City Hall.

For route and schedule information, contact the Regional Call Center at (816) 221-0660, weekdays from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Background: Rosedale and Argentine Neighborhoods Get New Transit Service May 2014

 

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Transit Stakeholder Forum June 26

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 24, 2014


marclogoJoin MARC, KCATA and the region’s transit operators for the next Transit Stakeholder Forum on June 26.KCATA

Willoughby Design is having a followup meeting with Stakeholders to discuss branding for our regional transit system. They have crafted a branding direction based on regional feedback. Will their guidance truly be regional or will it be city-centric?

When: Thursday, June 26
5–6:30 p.m.
Where: UMKC campus, The new Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Room 414
5110 Cherry St, Kansas City, MO 64110
Metro Routes: Main St. MAX, 155, Troost MAX, 25
www.kcata.org
The JO Routes: The JO Connex/556
http://www.jocogov.org/dept/transit/home

   Parking:  Metered parking is available in the Cherry Street parking garage (Level 5), a three minute walk from the Bloch Executive Hall. Parking costs $1/hour and is cash only.For a copy of the UMKC campus map, visit http://www.umkc.edu/maps/documents/volker_maps/UMKC_Volker_campus.pdfTransit_Coordinating_Council-2

The Transit Stakeholder Forum is a public meeting where you can provide input for the Regional Transit Coordinating Council

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EVENT: Insist MoDOT Publish Whole Project List with Dollars for AUG 5 Election

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 16, 2014


MOTMMoDOT is holding public comment meetings in the Kansas City region this week about projects to be paid for by Amendment 7, a 3/4 cent sales tax and 3/4 cent use tax increase for transportation, which is on the August 5 ballot.  The public is invited to attend the open house-style meetings at any time during the advertised hours to speak to regional planning partners and MoDOT representatives. No formal presentations will be made. RSVPs are not required.

At the meeting please request MoDOT to provide much better information about the project list.MOstateflag

On Friday MoDOT released a preliminary list of projects to be part of Missouri Amendment 7, in order to get public comment. The list contains projects submitted by each region as well as MoDOT’s priorities. MoDOT bundled many projects together, such as the Kansas City region’s list of transit projects, while listing out all the road projects, no matter how small. We want to see everything if we are expected to make comments.  Statewide Project List

In addition, no dollar estimates were provided so it is next to impossible to understand the priorities or the real impact. All the projects look equal and they definitely aren’t. For instance the widening of I-70 to six lanes from Independence to Wentzville is where a huge amount of the money will be spent but it is split out by region and looks just like the project next to it instead of the giant on the list. In the KC region list, it is next to increasing funding for OATS, hardly an equal sized project.

It is insulting that MoDOT expects the general public to show up and give meaningful comments based on MoDOT’s  published list.

Here is MoDOT’s version for the Kansas City region Transit/Bike /Pedestrian projects – The projects were DUMPED into a category called  VARIOUS  and it is vague, misleading and impossible to comment on.

Improvements for: public transportation, non-motorized transportation, intermodal connections and/or congestion mitigation in the Kansas City urban region

By contrast, here is the actual version of the Kansas City region’s project list with cost estimates as well as the percentage distribution between categories our region used. Roads are first but look at all the projects MoDOT dumped into this one little description for nearly everything else.

KC_Regional_Trans_Priorities

How is the public supposed to comment on the KC projects given MoDOT’s dismissive representation?  Makes you think MoDOT doesn’t really want public comment.

MODOT’s own list of projects was split up by region and buried in the different regional priority lists (with no dollar amounts), so you couldn’t see them separately. That needs to change. No one can see what the MoDOT projects are or how much money MoDOT is planning to spend per project. Therefore, MoDOT made certain the general public would have problems making informed comments on MoDOT’s priorities.

One of our biggest concerns is widening I-70 to six lanes. We are not aware of any current study saying that is necessary. In fact, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) has gone down significantly, both in Missouri and all over the country. In addition, adding lanes in the hope of curing congestion, especially when we have relatively little congestion, has been debunked decades ago. It attracts more traffic. Everyone agrees that I-70 needs to be fixed and safety measures added, such as improving the shoulders to modern standards, but that is a far smaller project than adding a lane in each direction.  

MoDOT’s presentation of the projects certainly make it easy to stifle public discourse about the quality or priorities of what is going on the ballot in August. Intentional? MoDOT is damaging its own credibility by doing this.

Go to the meetings and insist that MODOT

1 Publish all of the projects in an informative manner with cost estimates, and then ask for public comment.

2. Separate MoDOT projects from each of the regional project lists 

3. Summarize MoDOT and Regional projects by Category  (Roads and Bridges, Transit, etc) and show total proposed expenditures and percentages by category.

We realize the dollar amounts are estimates, but they won’t change significantly as they are refined.

MoDOT has all this information readily available, but they chose to publish an almost meaningless listThe public wants the complete information organized in a meaningful manner in order to evaluate the projects. That is not too much to ask when Missouri is asking for the largest tax increase EVER in the state. 

Transit Action Network is against Missouri Amendment 7, for a long list of reasons, but we have worked hard with everyone in our region to develop a list of regional projects worth funding, just in case this bill passes. However, Missouri Amendment 7 needs to be sent back to the legislature with a big NO. Subsequent posts will deal with our objections to the funding mechanism.

An initial list of reasons to VOTE NO from Missourians for Better Transportation Solutions

 Vote NO on The MO Transportation Tax

KANSAS CITY DISTRICT MoDOT Meeting schedule
Gamber Center
4 SE Independence Avenue
Lee’s Summit, MO
Monday, June 16, 4-7 pm
Union Station – Grand Hall East
30 W. Pershing Rd.
Kansas City, MO
Tuesday, June 17, 4-6 pm
Vesper Hall
400 NW Vesper St.
Blue Springs, MO
Wednesday, June 18, 4-7 pm
 
Truman Memorial Building
416 W. Maple Ave.
Independence, MO
Thursday, June 19, 4-7 pm
 
Heritage Hall
117 W. Kansas St.
Liberty, MO
Tuesday, June 17, 2-5 p.m.
 

 

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Is MoDOT About to Sabotage Our Amtrak Service?

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 1, 2014


MOTMWe have been hearing — direct from MoDOT staff — that getting a reliable funding stream for Missouri’s twice-daily Missouri River Runner passenger rail service is one of the advantages of having the proposed 3/4 percent sales tax for transportation.

Now we hear that the trains will not be part of the sales tax project list, and that we’ll continue to have to go to the General Assembly for annual appropriations out of general revenue.

Boarding at KC Union Station

Boarding at KC Union Station

So we posed the question to MoDOT via Twitter:

“@MoDOT – Serious question: How do you propose that @MoRiverRunner be funded? What about funding additional service? Response please. Thx.”

We have received their response:

“@MoRiverRunner definitely a valuable service for Missourians. MoDOT will continue to pursue general revenue funds for it.”

 Translation: Passenger rail won’t be part of the sales tax package.

This makes no sense to us. If the voters pass this sales tax then Legislators will say:  “Hey, MoDOT, we let you ask voters for a sales tax with the flexibility to fund transportation choices. Now you are back here again asking for money for Amtrak? Give us a break!”

Amtrak at KC Union Station

Amtrak at KC Union Station

If this is true, it would run counter to MoDOT’s expressed desire to provide expanded transportation choices, in response to citizen input during the recent “On The Move” long range transportation plan process.

What gives, MoDOT?

The explanation we got just days ago from a mid-level MoDOT representative was that they were concerned that the sales tax funding might not extend beyond the ten-year span of this “temporary” sales tax. Well, if that’s the case, how do they justify doing anything? Nothing is certain about the future. Isn’t ten years of certainty for passenger rail a whole lot better than ten years of annual uncertainty?

MoDOT staff have worked for years with Amtrak and the Union Pacific (the host railroad) to speed up the trains and prepare for eventually expanding the service by adding a third and fourth daily round trip. Don’t undercut all that work by putting the Missouri River Runner trains back on a year-at-a-time, hand-to-mouth basis. If you do, MoDOT, your credibility will be seriously damaged.

Amtrak passengers loading at Jeff City to go to St. Louis.

Amtrak passengers loading at Jeff City to go to St. Louis.

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Summertime Transit Tag for Youths – Tranz It

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 28, 2014


METRO ogoOne of our favorite KCATA programs is Tranz It. This youth tag program only runs for three months a year, June, July and August, so a lot of people aren’t aware of it, especially in the suburbs.Tranz_It

Youths sign up for the program with KCATA and for $12 a month, 12- to 18-year-olds can get unlimited rides using Tranz It and take The Metro and MAX to work, school or anywhere The Metro goes. Considering that a regular KCATA monthly pass costs $50, this is a huge bargain. Youths 12- to 18-year-olds can always get half price tickets if they have a Youth Reduced Farecard, but for the summer, you can’t beat the convenience and cost of Tranz It and young people don’t have to carry cash to use the bus.

The summer tag program provides young people an opportunity for independence and freedom in the summer they may lack without a car. Of course there are all the KCATA fixed bus routes that cover much of the metro area, but the local MetroFlex routes are often unknown to young riders. During the school year the more limited MetroFlex service hours make it unavailable to most students. In the summer though, young people need to include these buses when considering a trip. These routes are for anyone, not just older riders or commuters. For instance, if you live in Lee’s Summit and would like a summer job at your local fast food chain but can’t figure out how to get there — look into Lee’s Summit Route 252 MetroFlex. If you live and work in the service area and want to use the bus during the service hours, it will pick you up at home, deliver you to work and return you at the end of your shift. Or you can go to the movies or the shopping districts with your friends. You have to call the previous day to schedule a trip on any MetroFlex, but Route 252 service runs weekdays from 7:30 am until 5 pm and covers much of Lee’s Summit.

http://www.kcata.org/maps_schedules/routes/252_lees_summit_metroflex

Many of the MetroFlex routes have good connections to regular fixed routes. Check out these MetroFlex routes: #296 Bannister/Hillcrest,  #253 Raytwon, #237 Gladstone/Antioch, #296 and #298 South KC and #244 North KC MetroFlex.

KCATA’s MetroFlex guide: http://www.kcata.org/rider_guide/metroflex_on_demand

So get your TRANZ IT, plan your trip, call ahead if you are using a MetroFlex, and enjoy the fun summer activities or find a bus or MAX to that important summer job.

All youths should practice good safety habits when traveling and be sure to tell your family where you are going, who you are going with and when you will be home.

Enjoy the summer on the BUS!!!

For more information on Tranz It call 816-221-0610 or read KCATA’s bulletin:  http://www.kcata.org/rider_bulletins/tranz_it_lets_youths_ride

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Transit Talk on KKFI 90.1FM May 20 at 6PM

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 19, 2014


KKFI 90.1 FMJoin Transit Action Network as we interview KCATA General Manager Mark Huffer and KCATA Director of System Development Dick Jarrold Tuesday at 6pm.
Topics: Prospect MAX (the often overlooked part of the streetcar expansion plan), the Compressed Natural Gas conversion of the KCATA bus fleet, and an introduction to the work of the new Regional Transit Coordinating Council.

Where: Radio Active Magazine (previously Mic Check)  on KKFI 90.1FM Community Radio

When: Tuesday May 20 at 6pm

LINK TO MAY 20 SHOW 

 

 

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Help Pick Missouri Transit And Bike/Ped Projects for the November Election – MAY 22

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 19, 2014


Where: MARC Transportation Outlook 2040 Workshopmarclogo
Sylvester Powell Community Center
6200 Martway Street
Mission, Kansas
 
When: May 22, 8:30 am to 11:30 amTransportation_Outlook_2040

Register via the MARC website at www.MARC.org

MoDOT Headquarters and Missouri State Capitol. No other major department of state government has closer proximity to the General Assembly.

MoDOT Headquarters and Missouri State Capitol. No other major department of state government has closer proximity to the General Assembly.

The Missouri General Assembly passed HJR68 to put a 3/4 percent sales tax for transportation on the ballot in November 2014. MoDOT and its local planning partners– Metropolitan Planning Organizations such as Mid-America Regional Council in Kansas City and East-West Gateway Council of Governments in St. Louis, plus Regional Planning Councils throughout the state – will develop a list of projects to be funded by the tax before the measure goes to voters.

Thus, a lot of local discussion (and deal-making) will be going on in the next couple of months.

In the Kansas City region, this process coincides with (and somewhat complicates) MARC’s already-underway update of its long-range transportation plan, Transportation Outlook 2040.

MARC will use its TO2040 workshop on May 22 to help decide project priorities for the whole region, as well as to narrow the list of projects that would be promised to Missouri voters.

Setting aside for the moment the task of adding projects in the TO2040 update, it’s crucially important to give immediate attention to the Missouri sales tax project list. The 3/4 percent statewide sales tax is projected to yield $5.34 billion over the 10 years it would be in effect, and MoDOT has told MARC its share of the total will be $816 million.

That $816 million will be spent on transportation projects within MARC’s planning area: Jackson, Clay, Platte, and Cass Counties.

Even more important is that the money isn’t restricted to highway projects. Transit, bike, and pedestrian projects are eligible, as are passenger and freight rail, airport, and river port projects. In fact, it is possible in theory that the entire $816 million could be spent without rebuilding or expanding a single highway.

Possible, but not likely. For example, MoDOT wants to rebuild I-70 across the state, and they might like to see the cost of the Kansas City region’s segment of I-70 come out of our $816 million.

MOTMIn addition, MoDOT (to say nothing of the Missouri Public Transit Association) would like to see stable funding for rural and urban transit.

Same goes for passenger rail service, the Missouri River Runner trains operated under contract by Amtrak. At present, MoDOT has to go hat-in-hand to the legislature each year for the $10 million or so it costs to keep the trains running. MoDOT might want our region’s share of that total to also come out of the $816 million.

The important thing for May 22 is that advocates for a balanced transportation investment program need to be there to express the strongest possible support for transit, pedestrian and bike projects — projects to make streets and roads safer for people not driving cars — as well as for stable funding for continuing (and increasing) passenger rail.

Register via the MARC website at www.MARC.org

Earlier TAN article:

That Penny Sales Tax — Here’s What We Are Telling the Legislature

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Regional Transit Coordinating Council Meeting May 14

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 13, 2014


marclogoTransit_Coordinating_Council-2Attend the Regional Transit Coordinating Council’s next meeting

When: May 14, 2014 @ 1:30 pm
Where: Mid-America Regional Council
600 Broadway Ste. 200, Kansas City, Missouri 64105KCATA

This council is having a real impact on regional transit issues.

Tomorrow’s meeting will cover

  1. Quick Wins: Regional Call Center Integration, Google Transit Feed, and Fare Study Update
  2. Presentation on Regional Branding Strategy – Willoughby Design will present the regional transit brand process, discuss public feedback gathered to date, and next steps.
  3. Transit Project List for Transportation Outlook 2040 and Missouri Statewide Tax and Priorities
  4. Programming and Planning
    1. Paratransit Coordination Work Plan
    2. Special Transportation- Job Access Partnership and RTCC Update
    3. Project Applications (CMAQ, STP, TA) Follow-Up
    4. TIGER VI Application
  5. Transit Stakeholder Forum Update and Next Meeting – Staff will present outcomes of March 27th meeting and discuss next meeting

There is a public comment section at the beginning of the meeting. You must sign up.

 

 

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Watch the APTA Bus Roadeo at Kemper Arena Sunday May 4

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 2, 2014


APTA_Bus_RoadeoThe APTA (American Public Transportation Association) is holding its 2014 International Bus Roadeo, and Bus and Paratransit Conference in Kansas City, May 2-7.

The 2014 International Bus Roadeo Competition will be held on Sunday, May 4, at the Kemper Arena and it is open to the public.

Seventy bus operators will showcase their skills in safe driving by maneuvering different size buses. The Operator Competition includes events such as pre-trip inspection, judgment stops, turning, and clearing obstacles. Thirty-two maintenance teams will show their vehicle maintenance skills. The Mechanic Competition requires skills in the identification of defects in engine, transmission, brakes, multiplex and HVAC modules.

 

 

WHO:           International Bus Roadeo Competition
WHAT:        Bus Operators Competition and a troubleshooting Maintenance Competition
WHEN:        May 4,   8:00-11:30 a.m. & 1:00 – 3:30 p.m.
WHERE:      Kemper Arena, 1600 Genessee Street, Kansas City, MO

The winners for the International Bus Roadeo will be announced at an awards dinner on Tuesday, May 6.

Starting on Monday May 5, the conference opening session is a presentation on ADA issues.

ADA – The Human Side of Providing Lawful Service

Speaker: Donna Smith, director of training, Easter Seals Project ACTION, Washington, DC

Description: Why do we really do what we do?

APTA 2014 International Bus Roadeo

 APTA 2014 Bus & Paratransit Conference

Conference Schedule for Roadeo

Conference Schedule for Paratransit

 

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Streetcar Steering Committee Releases Recommendations and Draft Report

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 25, 2014


Next_RailTransit Action Network hasn’t had an opportunity to fully evaluate the streetcar recommendations from this morning’s meeting of the Steering Committee, or to read through the whole draft report, but we wanted to share some early insights. Full draft report:KansasCityStreetcarPhaseIIPlanDRAFTv4

The recommended endpoints for the routes have been well publicized today:Recommendations_KCStreetcarPhaseIIPlanDRAFTv4

  • Independence Avenue route: terminus Benton Avenue;
  • Linwood Route: terminus Prospect Avenue;
  • Main Street route: terminus Volker (vicinity of UMKC).

This system would add an additional 7.6 miles to the Downtown Streetcar for a total of 9.8 miles. The Prospect MAX recommendation is 9.1 miles long.

Even with these shortened routes, the projected ridership numbers are significantly higher than estimated earlier in the preliminary report last November. With this phase of the study, we became one of the first cities in the nation to use the FTA’s new ridership model, STOPS (Simplified Trips‐on‐Project Software), and no one really knew what to expect. Increased ridership numbers improve the chances of qualifying for federal New Starts funds. Information on the different ridership scenarios is on pages 82/83 of the report. Depending on operating frequency, ridership in this system is expected to rise between 19% and 36% over the current bus ridership.

Average ridership KCStreetcarPhaseIIPlanDRAFTv4The biggest change is the recommendation to change the boundaries of the TDD and the number of property owners subject to the special property tax assessment. The new map still has to be adopted by the City Council on Thursday, so this is still under discussion. It is interesting to note that the Brookside and Waldo area, and everything south of Gregory have been removed like a big bite out of the original taxing district, yet most of the area east of the proposed streetcar line is still intact.KansasCityStreetcarPhaseIIPlanDRAFTv4 This was already pointed out by Yael Abouhalkah of The Star when he tweeted this morning:   

KCStreetcar fact: Brooksiders few blocks away from line won’t be in TDD. East Siders MILES away will be in TDD. Fair?

The special property tax assessment would only be applied to properties within 1/3 of a mile of the streetcar line instead of ½ mile.

The recommendation has shortened the routes (a decrease in cost) while shrinking the size of the TDD (a decrease in revenue). As a result, even if the Federal government provides 50% of the capital costs, the project funding is over $53 million short, as discussed on pages 114/115 of the report.  As the report states: “The consultant team recognizes that a $53,000,000 funding gap in this financial model is not insignificant.”

The project team suggests several scenarios to make up the funding difference. Notice that one of the methods to make up “some” of this gap is continuing to use $2 million out of the ½ cent transportation sales tax fund, which also pays for the bus system. The current ordinance makes this amount the maximum amount allowed to divert to the streetcar, but the City Council has reminded us repeatedly and emphatically that they could change the ordinances anytime they wanted.

We are still concerned about how the streetcar will integrate with the bus system and we understand that council members, KCATA and the study team are all still investigating these operating concerns. Transit Action Network originally highlighted this issue at MARC before it was on most people’s radar, but it is extremely important to riders. There is some basic information on page 81 in the report about bus integration, but this is still in a preliminary stage. At this point, there are forced transfers in the plan: Route 24 would be eliminated west of Benton and only run east of Benton to feed the streetcar, and Main Street MAX would be eliminated north of 51st Street with a possible exception during rush hour –“Limited through bus service from the Waldo/ Brookside area may be provided to continue to provide a “one seat ride” for commuters to the downtown area.” They aren’t clear about reducing the 31st street bus but want to do more study.

Integration between the streetcar and  the bus in the same corridor affects ridership projections because forced transfers reduce ridership, but more importantly it affects how riders will use the streetcar/bus system to travel in the corridor. Will riders continue to have a one-seat trip to major destinations, or will they be forced to transfer between the streetcar and the bus? The report acknowledges this:

SW  TDD corner

SW TDD corner

“In some cases, streetcar service may replace all or part of existing bus routes. Where this occurs, options to minimize transfers and maintain some level of through-service should be explored. “

Overall, there is a lot to digest, and the Council has important decisions to consider when it holds a public hearing Thursday morning (9 am, City Hall) before a joint meeting of the Planning and Economic Development and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees. Although the report is 832 pages long, the most relevant content of the report is in the first 135 pages.

 

 

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Attend Transit Stakeholders Forum Mar 27

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 24, 2014


all transit agenciesJoin the discussion about regional branding!

Don’t miss the second Transit Stakeholders Forum. This forum gives everyone an opportunity to provide input into decision-making for Kansas City’s regional transit system. This meeting will focus on the regional branding effort. All of the transit providers (KCATA, Johnson County Transit, Unified Government Transit, Inde Bus and eventually the streetcar) will operate under one umbrella logo, or “regional co-brand” while maintaining their individual identities. Please attend and provide your perspective.

The results of this discussion will provide input to the Regional Transit Coordinating Council and help define the core values and other branding elements that will represent our regional transit system.

A regional co-brand is an important step toward future cohesion of the region’s transit system. The new brand will apply to future initiatives like a one-stop regional transit website, a fare collection system, and a regional transit map. It will help existing users more easily navigate a region-wide system and help attract new transit users.

When: Thursday, March 27 @ 5-6:30 p.m.
Where: Kauffman Foundation Conference Center,
4801 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110
Metro Routes: Metro 25, Troost MAX, 47
The JO Routes: The JO Connex/556

You can submit a comment or question if you can’t attend.  Please email smartmoves@marc.org.

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/228917683967865/?ref=2&ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

 

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RTCC Tackles Big Transit Issues – Funding and Paratransit

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 21, 2014


marclogoThe Regional Transit Coordinating Council (RTCC) was formed last September (see  New Transit Coordinating Council Off To A Good Start),  but it is already tackling some of the region’s toughest transit issues: Getting more funding for transit projects, and coordinating paratransit in the region.Transit_Coordinating_Council-2

ONE: Funding: Transit is always plagued with insufficient money to do everything that needs to be done. So when some of the region’s most influential public officials – mayors, council members, public administrators – put their heads together with MARC and the transit agencies to get additional transit funding, it can be a formidable group.

What money are they going after?

Other than the diminishing federal money that goes from the Federal Transit Administration directly to transit operators, there are three major sources of federal transit money currently available to be “programmed” (allocated to projects) at MARC.Federal_Funds_to_program_in_2014

  • The smallest amount is $17.1 million from the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). This is most often used for bike and pedestrian projects.
  • $18.2 million is available from the Congestion Mitigation / Air Quality (CMAQ) program. The RTCC will allocate the transit portion of these funds.
  • The largest amount is $77 million from the Surface Transportation Program (STP).  This money is programmed by the Missouri and Kansas STP committees, and is typically used for road and bridge projects, even though transit is an eligible use.  Last year was an exception when $16 million of STP money was allocated to purchase four streetcars for the Kansas City Downtown Streetcar project.

What’s new this time?

With staff of MARC and the four transit operators working together, RTCC has created a list of eleven projects to submit for funding.  Such a large group of transit projects has never been submitted for STP and CMAQ funding before, but with the transit operators working closely together and influential regional public officials involved, the projects will carry more weight than when transit operators submitted projects independently.

See the complete list of projects identified by RTCC.  RTCC_Priorities_List_March_2014  These projects will be submitted to MARC, evaluated and “scored” by MARC staff, and then forwarded to the appropriate programming committees. TAN appreciates the extended list of well-thought-out transit projects and supports them being funded.

TWO: Paratransit: If there is one transit issue in the region that especially needs coordination, it is Paratransit.  [Note: Strictly speaking, "paratransit" isn't just for the disabled.  Think of it as specialized or flexible transit service for people who can't get to a bus stop, or who have other special transportation needs.]  People with disabilities have to deal with an extremely difficult and complicated set of eligibility rules along with restricted transit options to get around the region. Many parts of the region don’t have any public transit options for the disabled. Each transit system operates independently and differently.

Special-needs riders need a coordinated, easy to use system to get the transportation they need. Barriers to paratransit need to be eliminated to make this type of transit more functional.

RTCC Co-Chair Robbie Makinen, who is also Chairman of the KCATA Board of Commissioners, lost his eyesight last year and has become largely dependent on paratransit.  As a long-term transit advocate, Makinen has always been concerned with this issue, but now as a user, he really understands and suffers from the dysfunctional nature of the state of regional paratransit. Makinen is championing the effort to coordinate the regions fragmented paratransit services.

Jameson Auten, the head of KCATA’s “Share-A-Fare” paratransit program, and Tyler Means, transit planner at MARC, put this presentation together to describe the paratransit service offered by the four transit agencies: KCATA, The JO, Inde Bus and UGT.  In his presentation, Auten pointed out the different hours of operations, eligibility requirements, reservation hours, and fares. RTCC Paratransit Coordination

One of the biggest issues for paratransit in the region is the lack of paratransit services in Johnson County.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Although Johnson County Transit has provided bus service for over 30 years, it does not have any Complementary ADA Service:  i.e., no paratransit service that “complements” their regular transit routes. Their bus service is configured as commuter routes, which means they don’t have to comply with this part of the Americans With Disabilities Act The special transportation service they do provide, called Special Edition, is not available to anyone living outside of Johnson County. People with disabilities living outside of Johnson County but wishing to travel to Johnson County — even for medical appointments or other serious purposes – are denied access. In Johnson County there is already such a big backlog of residents needing this type service that they cut off eligibility each year and there is a waiting list.

RTCC understands that tackling this issue is a long-term project. Although the most recent meeting focused on paratransit services supplied by the four major transit agencies, everyone acknowledged that there are a large number of additional organizations supplying transit to the disabled. In order to supply enough transit to the growing number of people in need, they hope that every provider will be involved in this coordination effort.  As RTCC Co-Chair Mayor McConwell put it, “ there are 10,000 people a day in the US turning 65. We can’t wait another 20 years before addressing this issue.”

In addition to these two very important issues, RTCC is still working on their initial list of “Quick Wins.” Currently a Regional Fare Study is underway, and we expect to get results on that in early summer.

The next Transit Stakeholders Forum is scheduled for March 27, 5:00 to 6:30 pm, at the Kauffman Foundation.  Please help spread the word about this meeting, especially to riders. This Forum is designed to work in conjunction with the RTCC. The previous meeting was December 17. The March forum will focus on creation of a regional “co-branding” strategy for the Kansas City region’s transit system.

The next RTCC meeting is May 14 at 1:30 pm at MARC.

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Streetcar Corridor Workshop Meetings Feb 26, 27 and Mar 6

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 26, 2014


The  Next Rail project team for the Phase 2 streetcar extension is having the second round of corridor workshops starting this week.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Corridor Workshops Round #2

Linwood Boulevard/31st Street Corridor Meeting

Wednesday, February 26 @ 6-8 PM
Mohart Multi-Purpose Center
3200 Wayne Ave, Kansas City, MO 64109

 Independence Avenue Corridor Meeting

Thursday, February 27 @ 6-7:30 PM
Don Bosco Senior Center
580 Campbell St, Kansas City, MO 64106

 Main Street Plus Corridor Meeting

Thursday, March 6 @ 6-8 PM
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
4041 Main Street, Kansas City, MO 64111

Get the latest information, ask questions and express your concerns or undying support for the project. Some misinformation is already circulating about the proposed streetcar system.  Don’t let bad information affect your judgment of the project.

Another way to get a deeper understanding of what is being planned is to read the System Wide Analysis that Next Rail published in November 2013.   Next Rail KC System Overview TDD-Expansion-Map-787x1024

Last November this report provided the basis for choosing  the three routes for further study. The information in this preliminary report is being used to advance the plan, including an amendment to the region’s Long-Range Transportation Plan at MARC, and developing the potential boundaries of the Transportation Development District (TDD). Read the Next Rail FAQ on the proposed TDD and information on the tax structure. Proposed-Expansion-TDD-FAQ

Proposed Streetcar routes - Plain. Click to enlarge.

Proposed Streetcar routes – Plain. Click to enlarge.

An important question for the workshops is “Has the subsequent detailed study of the three selected corridors changed any of the assumptions or outcomes from the preliminary report?”

The final report isn’t due until the end of March or beginning of April, so the plan is still in flux, and public input can make a difference.

Pages  10-11 of the Next Rail System Overview report have the evaluation matrix used to choose the routes. It includes summary information like projected cost and preliminary ridership numbers. It is clear why the city chose Main Street, Independence Avenue and 31st Street/Linwood for further study. However, since the numbers in this report are only preliminary, expect to see changes in the final report.

Although everyone wants to know which routes will go forward,  you won’t hear that yet. Here is a table of the possible streetcar lengths, not including the downtown streetcar of 2.2 miles. The maximum length of all the streetcar routes being considered for the extension is 16.4 miles. Obviously the city isn’t going to construct all of this now.  The city has talked about 8-10 miles of additional routes, but that depends on how much federal money it can get. Help the city determine the highest priorities for construction.GetInline

BUSES: We are concerned about how the streetcar will coordinate with bus service in the three corridors, particularly the extent to which riders might have to transfer between streetcar and bus to complete trips that do not currently require a transfer. 

Starting on page 120 of the Next Rail System Overview there is a section titled Impacts on existing transit service that generally describes how the streetcar service would integrate with the current bus transit system.  Keep in mind that this is a plan and can be changed.

Please attend the Corridor Workshops and bring your questions.

As discussions continue about streetcar extensions, don’t forget how exciting it is that construction has started on the Downtown Streetcar. Remember the journey to get to this point and watch TAN’s videos on the KC Streetcar Stroll  and the party celebrating the election win, KC Streetcar Party, on TAN videos

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That Penny Sales Tax — Here’s What We Are Telling the Legislature

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 3, 2014


MOstateflagLast year the Missouri General Assembly considered a referendum (SJR 16) that would ask Missouri voters to approve a ten-year “temporary” one-cent sales tax for the purpose of increasing funding of our transportation systems.

The measure was filibustered and failed in the final days of the session.

It was anticipated that an initiative petition would be circulated early this year, but the Post-Dispatch reports that those plans have been suspended pending another try in the General Assembly.

Representative Dave Hinson has filed HJR 68

http://www.house.mo.gov/billsummary.aspx?bill=HJR68&year=2014&code=R

and Senator Mike Kehoe has filed SJR 48.

http://www.senate.mo.gov/14info/BTS_Web/Bill.aspx?SessionType=R&BillID=28965054

The two bills are virtually identical to those considered last session.

The House Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on HJR 68 on Tuesday, February 4, at Noon in the Capitol Building.  The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on SJR 48 that same day at 8:30 am.

We are submitting written testimony to the committees. We encourage others to consider submitting testimony as well.

Following is our statement regarding these bills:

To: Senators Kehoe and Schaefer and members of the Senate Appropriations Committee

Representatives Hinson and Schatz, and members of the House Transportation Committee

From: Transit Action Network (an association of individuals and organizations who work to expand and improve public transit in the Kansas City region)

Subject: SJR 48 and HJR 68 – Testimony for Information Purposes

Please consider this testimony regarding SJR 48 and HJR 68.  We neither support nor oppose the resolution as introduced, but want to offer our perspective.

[1] – Taking Care of the System.  We acknowledge the need for additional funding for MoDOT to keep the existing system of roads and bridges in a state of good repair.  Director Dave Nichols cites a need for $485 million per year to do that, and says he expects to have only $325 million per year beginning in 2017.  We support closing that $160 million gap.

[2] – Need for Transit.  Missouri needs to provide significant additional funding for rural and urban public transit.  We are at or near the bottom among states with significant urban populations in providing state support for transit.  Moreover, if it makes sense for the state to provide farm-to-market roads, it also makes sense to provide “workforce-to-workplace” transit.

[3] – Changing Demographics and Preferences.  Our senior population is growing, along with an increasing inclination for young people to postpone or forego getting a driver’s license.  Nationally, driving peaked about 2006.  Thus, there is an increased need for public transit, and also for intercity passenger rail service such as that provided by our Missouri River Runner trains.

[4] - Concern About the Sales Tax – User Pays Principle.  We are aware of broad concern about using a sales tax to fund an expanded road and bridge program.  That would be a dramatic departure from the long-standing “user-pays” principle for roads and bridges, using the motor fuels tax, vehicle registration fees, and the sales tax on motor vehicles.  To the extent possible, road and bridge costs should be borne by the users and passed through to ultimate consumers as part of the overall cost of goods and services.

[5] – Concern About the Sales Tax – Regressivity.  We are aware that the sales tax is among the most regressive taxes, with the burden falling disproportionately on low-income workers.  These are the very workers who are less likely to drive and more likely to rely on public transit.

[6] – Concern About the Sales Tax – Local Needs.  We are aware of many local needs for which public officials look to a local sales tax.  Thus, there’s reluctance on the part of local public officials to get behind a significant increase in the state sales tax.

[7] – National Discussion on Funding for Roads and Bridges.  There is broad recognition that there are structural problems with total reliance on the motor fuels tax (due in part to changes in energy sources for motor vehicles), and that a shift toward a broader array of user fees makes sense.  We suggest that this might not be the time for Missouri to shift to the sales tax for roads and bridges while other revenue sources are under consideration.  We also suggest that ten years might be too long to commit to a sales tax while other user-based revenue sources are still being considered.

[8] – Here’s What We Think Might Have Greater Appeal.  We believe the following might have greater appeal to voters, as well as to local elected officials:

a – A smaller and shorter-term transportation funding program.

b – An increase in a combination of existing user fees to fund needed improvements to the existing road and bridge system

c – A small increase in the sales tax — as little as two-tenths of one cent — to fund improved and expanded rural and urban public transit, and to stabilize funding for the state-sponsored Missouri River Runner trains operated by Amtrak.

Thank you for considering our testimony.

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Attend Public Budget Hearing in KCK Feb. 6

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 3, 2014


UG logoTransit supporters needed to help shape the future of transit in Wyandotte County/KCKconnex.

Where: Public Budget Hearing
Commission Chamber
701 N 7th Street
Kansas City, Kansas
 
When: February 6, 2014 at 7 PM
Contact rlindsey@wycokck.org for additional information

Sign up to speak when you first arrive and prepare up to 5 minutes of testimony in support of transit needs in Wyandotte County. Also, be sure to thank the Commission for the great transit improvements over the last year, including the upgrade of Route #101 to the State Ave. CONNEX service with beautiful new facilities and transit centers and an upgrade to large buses on the route. See you at the hearing!!

 
 

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Action Alert: KCMO – Please Allow A New Transit Service For The Elderly and Visually Impaired

Posted by Transit Action Network on January 30, 2014


kcmo_big_logoTransit Action Network sent the Kansas City Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee a letter of support for Ordinance 140028, which would allow a local non-profit charitable organization affiliated with a state or national non-profit charitable organization to operate a vehicle for hire to transport persons who are 65 years of age or older or visually impaired. TAN letter of support for Ordinance 140028

Currently there is an ordinance protecting taxis from competition. This ordinance narrowly opens the door for a limited type of organization to provide “for hire” transit services for a limited group of people, but the ordinance is significant since it changes the “status quo”.ITN_KC-2

The issue came up because a new service provider, Independent Transportation Network® (ITN) — the first and only national non-profit transportation system for America’s aging population, wants to enter the Kansas City market.  They are in 25 markets around the country and they already operate in Lee’s Summit.

ITN provides a unique service that taxis and most paratransit services don’t offer.

From ITN’s Greater Kansas City website:

Characteristics of the Service

  1. Membership based – people 65 years and older (age eligibility varies by affiliate), and visually impaired adults are eligible to join
  2. Community based affiliates are supported by private, rather than public resources
  3. Affordable fares that are typically lower than a comparable taxi ride
  4. Available 24/7 for any purpose
  5. Not “just a taxi” – drivers provide arm-through-arm, door-through-door service and help with packages
  6. No money is exchanged in the vehicle, and tips are not accepted
  7. Riders pre-fund a Personal Transportation Account™, and a monthly statement details all payments and charges
  8. Uses private automobiles, rather than vans or buses
  9. Fees cover rides booked at least 24 hours in advance; same day requests will be accommodated with an additional fee

Most taxi and special transportation services for the elderly are curb-to-curb (you have to get yourself to the curb) or door-to-door (you have to get yourself to the door). There are a growing number of frail elderly people or visually impaired people who require additional help.  ITN provides that additional help with their arm-through-arm, door-through-door service (if needed, drivers come into the home or the office or the shops to assist you getting to the vehicle). This service does not apply to people requiring a wheelchair, since ITN uses private automobiles.

This extra level of service comes at a price. ITN is a monthly subscription service. Since they aren’t asking for a public subsidy, users have to cover the cost, but the drivers are volunteers, which help keep the cost down. A monthly pilot subscription in Lee’s Summit costs $125. Contact ITN for more details. Phone: (816) 500-4377 Email: info@itngreaterkansascity.org

We can’t vouch specifically for ITN, but we do know that it is time to provide more transportation options for the elderly and visually impaired since there is a transit crisis looming caused by the rapid increase in the elderly population. MARC is already having meetings to find a way to deal with the issues related to “Older People Transportation” and we need to allow additional legitimate services to operate.

We’d like to thank Councilmen Johnson and Sharp for sponsoring this ordinance and we request that the mayor and full council adopt Ordinance 140028.

If you haven’t already done so, please contact your council member or the mayor and request adoption of Ordinance 140028.

The T&I committee is expected to address this ordinance on February 6, 2014 at 8:45 am at City Hall, 10th Floor.

ITN America website

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The Penny Sales Tax is Back – And What to Do About It

Posted by Transit Action Network on January 27, 2014


MoDOT Headquarters and Missouri State Capitol. No other major department of state government has closer proximity to the General Assembly.

MoDOT Headquarters and Missouri State Capitol. No other major department of state government has closer proximity to the General Assembly.

Summary: [1] The penny sales tax is back.  [2] A sales tax for highways is a bad idea. [3] If something more reasonable is to even be considered by the General Assembly, it’s up to leaders in Missouri’s urban areas to make it happen.

That penny sales tax for transportation — the one that was defeated in the closing hours of the legislative session last spring — is back.

Rep. Dave Hinson filed House Joint Resolution (HJR) 68 in the House on January 22, and Sen. Mike Kehoe is expected to file a corresponding and presumably identical measure in the Senate during the coming week.

HJR 68
Proposes a constitutional amendment imposing a 1% temporary increase in the state sales and use tax to be used for transportation projects

http://www.house.mo.gov/billsummary.aspx?bill=HJR68&year=2014&code=R

Full text of the bill as introduced:

http://www.house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills141/biltxt/intro/HJR0068I.htm

A summary of the bill has not yet been posted.

Support for it is already being garnered.  After all, if the mostly-highway-lobby sponsors of the tax proposal can it put on the ballot by the legislature, they can avoid the $1-2 million estimated cost of circulating an initiative petition.

On January 23 the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, along with the Farm Bureau, State Highway Patrol, and MoDOT, held their annual transportation conference.  MoDOT’s Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger spoke about the new long-range plan, Vision for Missouri’s Transportation Future.  He was followed by Representatives Hinson and Schatz and Senator Kehoe.  MoDOT’s Director, Dave Nichols, was the luncheon speaker.

By all of the accounts we’ve seen — tweets during the conference and subsequent news reports – the discussion was all roads and bridges.

That shouldn’t surprise anybody, given that it was the Missouri Chamber and Farm Bureau whose support was being sought. We suspect transit and other modes were at least mentioned — in response to a tweet from Tom Shrout of St. Louis, MoDOT Director Nichols gave assurance that he would speak about all modes — but in effect it was all about roads and bridges.

The message was dire: If MoDOT doesn’t get additional funding pretty soon, it will barely be able to maintain Missouri’s 33,000 miles of roads in good condition.  Whats more, within just a few years MoDOT won’t even be able to afford the matching money needed to get the federal funds expected to be available to Missouri.

Pretty stark.

Presentations at the conference were undoubtedly oriented to support what is widely anticipated to be the likely funding solution – a one penny increase in the state sales tax.

We know MoDOT people well enough to believe they’d probably rather get the new money from some other source. After all, they know the sales tax doesn’t do anything to recover from highway users the full cost of building and operating roads and bridges. They know that the sales tax hike gives the trucking industry a free ride, since there’d be virtually no increase in revenue from trucking, even though trucks put an undue burden on roads and bridges, and cause MoDOT to have to build them to carry heavier loads.

MoDOT is in the unenviable position of wanting to maintain our roads in good condition, and to expand capacity where it might be needed, yet having virtually no say in where the money comes from.

But on the other hand, wouldn’t it make sense for MoDOT to at least make a case for some other revenue enhancing scenarios — even if those scenarios don’t have much chance of success in the current political climate in the Legislature? After all, one can’t expect to get support for something unless somebody has at least made a good case for it. Past efforts by MoDOT to get other sources of funding considered have been largely a matter of “testing the political wind,” rather than laying out a “here’s what really makes sense” proposal.

The January 23 conference wasn’t about how best to raise the money.  Instead, it was about building support for the sales tax.  Period. It didn’t matter that the sales tax is regressive, and that it has met resistance from many quarters, including local public officials across the state. We know, for example, that elected officials in the Kansas City area are notably cool to the idea. After all, there are local needs that involve putting sales tax measures on the ballot. Think expansion of the Kansas City Streetcar System. Think Jackson County’s Trails and Transit Plan. And it certainly didn’t matter that trucks would get off scot free.

We recognize, by the way, that a small sales tax might be necessary to provide additional state funding for urban and rural public transit, inter-city passenger rail, and other non-highway modes.  A sales tax of two-tenths of a cent would be more than adequate for those needs.

In his State of the State message on January 21, Governor Jay Nixon called for “robust discussion” of our transportation needs and how to fund them.

A robust discussion can’t be expected to occur at a Missouri Chamber / Farm Bureau conference that was designed to build support for a penny sales tax. If anything, that conference probably served to heighten the division between Missouri’s rural and urban interests.

If we are to see anything resembling the robust discussion that Governor Nixon called for, it’s going to have to be sparked by urban leaders.

We suggest that Mayors James (Kansas City) and Slay (St. Louis), county chiefs Sanders (Jackson) and Dooley (St. Louis), MPO directors Warm (Mid-America Regional Council) and Hillhouse (East-West Gateway Council of Governments), civic leaders – plus the Governor himself – come together and have that robust discussion.  We’d expect the outcome to be a far more reasonable and equitable solution for funding Missouri’s transportation needs than a simplistic penny increase in the sales tax.

 

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State Ave. CONNEX Gets Big Buses Jan 5

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 23, 2013


UG logoRiders Rejoice!  The 101 – State Avenue CONNEX route in Wyandotte County/KCK will start using large buses seven days a week on January 5, 2014.connex

TAN advocated for this upgrade and we are extremely happy that the change is being made.

We recently communicated with Mayor Holland and reminded him of the commitment he made last February during our candidate forum to alleviate the overcrowded conditions on this route when it changed to a Connex service . UGT was expecting about 1400-1600 riders daily when the Connex route started, but instead they have seen days with 2200-2300 riders.

Even though the mayor, commissioners and the city administrator knew how overcrowded this route was, they had to find a way to pay the additional $230,000 yearly for the larger buses. UGT and KCATA worked with everyone to find a financial solution. Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) funds will provide 80% the money next year with Unified Government providing the local matching funds.  Read KCATA’s news release

Now riders can enjoy more room on the buses as well as the improved facilities provided by the TIGER grant.

Transit Trends in UG

Recently Unified Government has been improving transit when there is a demonstrated need, such as the planned Rosedale/Argentine line. TAN hopes this favorable attitude toward transit continues.

In 2012 Mayor (then Commissioner) Holland  worked with TAN when we successfully advocated for large buses on Saturdays for this same route.

Last February we questioned the mayoral candidates about this very issue and received a campaign commitment from then candidate Holland.

Mayor Holland answered our forum question regarding the already overcrowded Route #101 with a resounding commitment to improve the service later in the year.

Question: Route 101 will change to the Connex service later this year. Will you make sure that the upgrade in service level is enough to alleviate the current overcrowded conditions, without negatively impacting other services?

 Mark Holland – Absolutely. It looks like this improvement will make a huge difference.

See all of his answers in our the February forum. http://wp.me/pV5fE-1rK

Unified Government does not have any revenue dedicated to transit like Kansas City, MO does, but prefers to allocate funds as needed.  Their local transit funds come out of the General Revenue account, so it is good to see the County providing additional funds for transit when a definite need arises.

TAN particularly appreciates the commitment to better transit from Mayor Holland, Commissioner Murguia and the Assistant County Administrator, Gordon Criswell (who is in charge of transit). Commissioner Murguia is now a member of MARC’s Total Transportation Policy Committee, which means we will see her on a regular basis to discuss transit issues in Wyandotte County.

Riders, enjoy the large buses!

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