Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

Transit Talk Nov 18 – Interview with Robbie Makinen on KKFI 90.1FM

Posted by Transit Action Network on November 17, 2014


KKFI 90.1 FMWhy is the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) re-organizing? Why has Johnson County chosen KCATA to manage their buses again after 30 years? What is the new Regional Transit Coordinating Council (RTCC) and how is it getting more money for transit and streamlining the regional paratransit services for people with disabilities? How will all these changes affect the community and transit riders?  KCATA

Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network interviews Robbie Makinen, the main architect of these transit changes, on RadioActive Magazine.

When: Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 @ 6 PM
Where: Transit Talk on RadioActive Magazine, 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio

makinenRobbie Makinen is Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for KCATA and co-chair of the Regional Transit Coordinating Council, (RTCC) a new transit council lead by KCATA and Mid America Regional Council. (His paying job is Director of Governmental Affairs at Jackson County).

Robbie shares his passion for a better transit system and his personal experiences using paratransit. He discusses the importance of re-organizing KCATA to transform it into the transportation authority it was originally meant to be, and the accomplishments of the year old RTCC.Transit_Coordinating_Council-2

Major RTCC accomplishments in first year

  • Coordinated Funding Requests and Allocations (STP, CMAQ) – A Big Win! This allocation of federal money includes the largest share of federal Surface Transportation Program dollars that transit has ever received in this region – The $10 million allocated to Jackson County toward the purchase of the Rock Island corridor came out of this process. (The county still needs another $50 million for that purchase.)
  • Regular dialogue between the transit agencies at both the staff and policy level about transit issues –seamless transit issues are a major focus of these discussions. Read TAN’s seamless transit document from 2011. Seamless Transit In the Kansas City Region We are pleased the coordinating council is working on these items and we expect to see many of these issues resolved in the short to mid-term.
  • Regional Trip Planner – A Big Win! Riders can now use Google’s trip planner for trips on any of the transit systems.
  • Interim regional pass program – A landmark agreement between the four transit agencies; the JCT 31 day pass is functioning as an interim regional pass. We don’t believe this interim solution will attract many additional users due to the high cost of the JCT monthly pass (Standard JO 31 day pass $75.60, Metro 31 day regular and express pass $50), but it is a significant cooperation agreement between the transit agencies.
  • Regional Branding and Website (In Progress) “RIDEKC” will be rolled out to the region soon. The Downtown Streetcar has already released its version of the logo.
  • Regional Map (In Progress) – the map will tie into the regional branding and website work Interactive Regional Transit Map
  • Regional Travel Training (Paratransit related)
  • Regional Paratransit Eligibility Process (In Progress as part of Mobility Management Strategies)
  • Project to coordinate paratransit services between the transit agencies (In Progress)
  • Fare Elasticity Model (complete) This model will help the transit agencies understand the impact on ridership caused by raising fares.
  • Regional Fare Study (In Progress) Identify an appropriate (we hope fair) fare structure for the region.

Recent article about Robbie Makinen by Mike Hendricks of the KC Star.

KCATA information: The KCATA Board of Commissioners meets monthly, on Wednesdays, in the Breen Administration Building, 1200 E. 18th Street, Kansas City, Mo., 64108. Meetings begin at 12:00 p.m. The next meeting is Nov 19.

KCATA board meetings are open to the public and public comments are welcome. Sign up before the meeting starts for a 3 minute comment slot.

Board of Commissioners, meeting dates, agendas and actions http://www.kcata.org/about_kcata/entries/board_of_commissioners

RTCC information: Their meeting locations alternate between KCATA and MARC. They are usually the first  Tuesday of the month, but check the website. Next meeting: January 6, 2014  at  9:00 a.m, KCATA, Breen Building.

RTCC meetings are open to the public and public comments are welcome. Sign up before the meeting starts for a 3 minute comment slot. http://www.marc.org/Transportation/Committees/Transportation-Committees/Transit-Coordinating-Council

Previous TAN article RTCC Tackles Big Transit Issues – Funding and Paratransit

Link to previous Transit Talk radio shows

The next Transit Talk on RadioActive magazine is January 6, 2015 at 6 pm.

Posted in Events, Seamless Transit | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Online Transit Forum – Candidates for Johnson County Commission

Posted by Transit Action Network on October 21, 2014


johnson-county-kansas-logo

Transit Action Network asked all of the candidates running for office on the Johnson County Commission to answer questions about transit to help voters understand their positions on this critical issue. We appreciate candidates talking the time to respond to our questionnaire and sharing their philosophy, vision and ideas on transit.

The whole document with all the responses can be downloaded at the end of the article. Be sure to send this article to residents of Johnson County so they can be informed about the candidates’ positions.

The answers per district are given in the order TAN received them. We do not endorse a particular candidate but believe voters should be well-informed as to candidates’ knowledge of the subject and their positions.

Michael Ashcraft, incumbent for Commissioner of District 5, is running unopposed and he declined to participate.

TRANSIT ACTION NETWORK ONLINE TRANSIT FORUM – October 2014

 1. Broadening the Focus of The JO

Johnson County has very successfully increased jobs in the county, yet access to these jobs by public transit is extremely poor since The JO, a commuter service, only concentrates on taking people to jobs in downtown Kansas City. What is your commitment to increasing access to Johnson County jobs using The JO?

Ed Eilert

Ed Eilert

County Commissioner, Chair 

Ed Eilert – I anticipate that the new agreement with ATA will increase the opportunity for route connectivity within the metro. This should provide a wider range of transit options.

Patricia Lightner

Patricia Lightner

Patricia Lightner – The county needs to work to find the best solution to any transit issues including how to find ways to get people to their jobs without such a low ridership.  I would work to explore all alternatives in solving this issue and making it feasible to the county budget.

County Commissioner, 1st District  

Laura McConwell

Laura McConwell

Laura McConwellWe know as our demographics are changing and that transportation options become more important. We need to continue to find ways to make transit more reliable to for those living in Johnson County who need to get to work in Johnson County.

Ron Shaffer – Johnson County’s recent decision to allocate matching funds for a regional plan will help to double transit access over the next ten years. I am on the Board of Mid America Regional Council (MARC) which is overseeing and coordinating the plan to improve transit access to Johnson County Jobs. Also, as our cities become more walk-able and bike friendly, we are seeing a re-greening in the first tier suburban cities which comprise the northern portion of the First District.

Ron Shaffer

Ron Shaffer

Not only do we need to provide transit for workers in our neighborhoods, but also for seniors, disadvantaged, disabled and those living in poverty. These vulnerable citizens need the community to gather together to provide access to transportation so they can succeed. A cost effective increase in transit access hubs at employment centers, and at central and coordinated locations will be the first step towards more transit friendly neighborhoods, which in turn makes Johnson County more attractive as a resource for more jobs, benefitting the entire region.

County Commissioner, 4th District

Curt Skoog

Curt Skoog

Curt Skoog – The JO will become successful in the communities eyes when it connects people to the places they want to go. In the past, that was to Downtown KC. Tomorrow it will be down the street and across the metro to their work, schools, doctors and restaurants. This was demonstrated during the development of the Vision Metcalf Plan, residents, property owners and business owners overwhelmingly supported including transit on Metcalf. Due to this plan, which was approved by the Overland Park City Council, staff was able to secure federal funding to build modern transit stops and other transit infrastructure on Metcalf. I will continue to be committed to the Vision Metcalf Plan including its transit recommendations.

Jason Osterhaus

Jason Osterhaus

Jason Osterhaus – Over the last 4 years we have implemented many options that have increased access to Johnson County jobs, from maximizing routes to get more people to business’, to the addition of the Mission transit center and many of the other additions that the TIGER grants made possible.  I will continue with that commitment.

 2. Implementing Johnson County Transit Plans

Young adults, Millennials, are leaving Johnson County to be car-free in Kansas City. Demographics are changing and poverty levels are rising in Johnson County. These trends create the need for a more extensive transit service. How soon do you plan to fully implement Johnson County Transit’s Strategic Plan and the START (Strategic Transit Action Recommendation Taskforce) recommendations to use public transit to improve access to jobs, shopping and entertainment, and create mobility improvements?

County Commissioner, Chair 

Eilert – I do not see full implementation of the START recommendations in the near future. I have suggested that as development or re-development is planned along or near transit routes and if tax incentives are used to support those activities, that a portion of those incentives be used to support transit activities.

Lightner – I am not currently familiar with this program and would need to study to provide any comment.

County Commissioner, 1st District  

McConwell – Johnson County Transit’s Strategic Plan has not been updated since 2011 and START’s recommendation seem to be stalled. It is vital that we update our Plan and create a long term plan for the growth and density that is coming as our county ages and poverty increases. Additionally, the younger members of our community are seeking transportation options. This will allow us to make prudent investments. We needed to be committed for the long term.

Shaffer – While Millennials may be leaving Johnson County to be car-free, we are also seeing the Gen-Y’ers who are now moving back to the suburbs to raise their families. Thusly, we are welcoming the re-greening of our first tier suburban cities by assisting our new neighbors in their demands for more walk-able cities, bike-able trails as well as public transportation. The County’s strategic plan calls for a reliable and predictable dedicated funding stream for transit issues.  However we need to balance infrastructure, parks, sidewalks, and streets with the need for effective public transit. I support the County leader’s decision to help form the Regional Transit Coordinating Council that is working with all the regions transit agencies to improve coordination of services and passenger convenience. Striking a balance of budget cuts, revenue projections and recovering economy will allow us to prioritize our public transit investments as soon as practical.

County Commissioner, 4th District

Skoog – The Metcalf Corridor is the perfect location to start the transition of the JO from a commuter service to a connector service for the following reasons: 1. College and Metcalf is the center of the largest concentration of jobs in Johnson County. 2. The pending redevelopment of Metcalf South and other older retail centers will bring higher density of people and jobs to The Corridor. 3. It enables the connection of multiple other destinations including downtown Overland Park, 119th and Metcalf, Mission and The Plaza. 4. The transit infrastructure exists.

Osterhaus – Johnson County continuously works on implementing the Strategic Plan and opportunities like our recent merger with the KCATA allow us many more opportunities to provide the aforementioned access to jobs shopping and entertainment.

3. Funding for The JO

3a. Transit Action Network applauds Johnson County’s decision to switch to KCATA to manage its transit. We believe this change will result in greater service efficiencies and more seamless transit for riders. The change will result in significant costs savings, too. Will you make sure that transit budget is maintained and the savings from this change are used to improve and expand The JO service and not diverted to other functions? 

County Commissioner, Chair 

Eilert – a. Savings from the anticipated ATA contract should be reinvested in transit services.

Lightner – As Chair, I would need to be responsible to use our taxpayer dollars effectively and efficiently.  The savings will not automatically be applied to a failing and empty bus system just to keep it going.  The whole bus system would need to be re-reviewed and alternatives considered to provide the best ridership for public transportation as areas and demand are needed.

County Commissioner, 1st District  

McConwell – a. The savings should be kept with the transportation budget and allow Johnson County to continue to improve services.

Shaffer – a. I will work to keep the savings generated by the KCATA management contract, which I understand is projected to save Johnson County about $500,000 a year, to remain in the transit budget and not be transferred to supplement other budget categories. In any case, the County will need a year’s experience to document actual savings and until that number is confirmed, it will be difficult to project what monies will need to be considered to accomplish additional transit services.

County Commissioner, 4th District

Skoog – a. Today The JO has proven that people will ride public transportation (K10 Connector) if it is convenient and takes people to places they want to go. It runs nearly every 30 minutes all day long. I support using the savings to upgrade service on Metcalf to the K10 connector level. If this is successful in ridership and supporting economic development then I would look to expand the level of service to other Johnson County corridors.

Osterhaus – a. The Savings that we will see from the KCATA merger will stay with Johnson CountyTransit.

 3b. Currently local transit funding in Johnson County comes out of a mill levy on property taxes. Would you consider a small county-wide transit tax or an increase in the mill levy to help improve the transit system?  Please explain your reasoning.

County Commissioner, Chair 

Eilert – b. No authority exists for a county wide transit tax. I do not anticipate a mill levy increase for transit as the county continues to evaluate expected revenue losses for the general fund which have been imposed by state legislative action.

Lightner – b. No Response

County Commissioner, 1st District  

McConwell - b. We, as a community, need to have a long term transit plan so that we can determine where and how best to provide transportation system. Once we have created a plan, then we will be prepared to discuss the best way to implement the system which includes funding. I am not in favor of raising revenue if we don’t have a good plan in place.

Shaffer – b. There has been great relief, as a result of substantial changes at all levels of the County Government, that the County weathered the recession by doing as well as it did while holding the mill levy steady. Thusly, I would not be inclined to consider a county-wide transit tax or mill levy increase for improvements to the transit system until all options are explored, including savings from the KCATA merger. I do support Johnson County’s continued investment in Public Transit, and will work with the staff and the Commission to ensure that transit remains a key priority in all annual budget and revenue decisions.

County Commissioner, 4th District

Skoog – b. Until connector level transit service has proven it value to the community funding will continue to be a challenge. Once proven I believe that a county wide consensus can be built to fund expansion of the connector service.

Osterhaus – b. No I wouldn’t support a county wide transit tax.  Over the last 4 years we have shown that we can make transit more efficient and save money in various ways. I fought to correct the KCATA federal funding formula that resulted in $900,000 to Johnson County and the KCATA merger which will also save the county hundreds of thousands of dollars.  There are ways to make the Transit more efficient, which I would like to see before we raise taxes on people coming out of a recession.

4. Allowing Access to the Special Edition Bus

4a. Johnson County excludes people with disabilities who don’t live in Johnson County from using the Special Edition bus, yet people with disabilities who do live in Johnson County can get qualified to ride any of the other paratransit services in the region (Share-A-Fare, Dial-A-Ride or IndeAccess). Would you rewrite the eligibility rules for the Special Edition bus to make them consistent with the rest of the region and accept all individuals qualified under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), thereby providing equal opportunity and access to jobs, shopping and entertainment in Johnson County for all people in the region with disabilities?

County Commissioner, Chair 

Eilert – a. It is my understanding that the category of service provided by the JO does not fall under that requirement. The ability to expand would depend on financial capabilities.

Lightner – a. As Chair, my responsibility is to residents of Johnson County, I would need to study this issue more closely to determine if things should be changed.

County Commissioner, 1st District  

McConwell- a. As the former co-chair of the Regional Transportation Coordinating Council, I can say that the Council (made up of the 6 largest transportation providers) is working to make our transportation system user friendly. RTCC is making great strides with mapping, fare systems and now with KCATA/JoCo’s agreement. Ease of travel for those with disabilities within the system is something that the groups are working toward as well.

Shaffer – a. As well as a MARC Board Member, I am on the United Community Service Board of Directors and am becoming increasingly aware of our neighbors who have disabilities and special needs. I believe in a regional approach by working together as a community across State and County Lines to provide the best service and cost effectiveness. The Regional Transit Coordinating Council is working to develop plans that will provide transportation for special needs citizens across the region. I support these efforts and look to streamline the eligibility requirements and processes to improve service to our most vulnerable citizens.

County Commissioner, 4th District

Skoog – a. Seniors and people with disabilities need access to transportation across the region to access jobs, shopping and medical services. A regional solution should be developed that reduces redundancy and manages cost.

Osterhaus – a. The Merger with the KCATA will offer us many opportunities in para-transit just like the integration of other forms of transit.  Johnson County has partnerships with companies like 10/10 taxi that allow us to greatly expand our Para-transit services, and I would be open to expanding those to the rest of the Metro as well. 

 4b. The JO has service to smaller cities such as Gardner yet the Special Edition bus does not serve that community. Would you consider expanding the area covered by the Special Edition paratransit service to include all of Johnson County or at least the areas serviced by The JO? Please explain your position.  

County Commissioner, Chair 

Eilert – b. Savings from the ATA contract could be used to supplement that service. The JO should investigate private sector possibilities similar to the 10-10 Taxi operation, such as the HWY 56 Taxi service that operates in the Gardner-Edgerton area.

Lightner – b. Again the feasibility and cost factors would need to be studied and determine if there is some real need and some cost effectiveness there to support this system change.

County Commissioner, 1st District  

McConwell – b. I am willing to have the conversation but we would need to include the cities, chambers, etc. before making a decision to expand services to the outer parts of the County. Our transportation system is extremely expensive to build and maintain…..which is why we need to have a LONG range plan for transit and how it is built out. It does not serve anyone or any population well to make unsustainable expansions of the system. I believe that we need to have a robust transportation system and it will take many years to create.

Shaffer – b. I will be interested in further exploring this issue. With a minimum number of riders, it might be more cost effective to provide service through a private contractor, flex-pass or voucher system. I will bring my years of dedication, service and leadership, of serving on Regional Boards and committees to the successful resolution of this issue as well as the other issues discussed above. As with all issues, I will work with staff and the Commission to make transit a key priority over the next four years.

County Commissioner, 4th District

Skoog – b. Seniors and people with disabilities need access to transportation across the region to access jobs, shopping and medical services. A regional solution should be developed that reduces redundancy and manages cost.

Osterhaus – b. I favor expansion in to any of the areas that are not currently served.  Our partnership with 10/10 taxi and others allows us to provide service to many areas that aren’t covered by the Special Edition.

2014 TAN’s JoCo Online Transit Forum

Posted in Local Transit Issues | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Transit Talk Oct 14 – A Dose of Reality – KKFI 90.1FM‏

Posted by Transit Action Network on October 13, 2014


KKFI 90.1 FM

Why does the Kansas City region fail to qualify for significant federal dollars for most large rail projects, including going to the airport? Why can’t Kansas City pay for most big rail projects by itself? What should we do to change the situation?

A Dose of Reality: Challenges in paying for rail transit in the Kansas City region.

When: Tuesday October 14, 2014 @ 6 PM
Where: Transit Talk on RadioActive Magazine on 90.1 FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio
Listen to the podcast of the show

Janet Rogers, co-founder of Transit Action Network talks with Mark McDowell, a specialist in Finance, a long-term transit advocate who works closely with Transit Action Network, and founding member and past Chair of the Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance, and Dick Jarrold, Vice-President of Regional Planning and Development at KCATA and former Regional Engineer for the Federal Transit Administration during the design and construction of the initial St. Louis MetroLink project.

Background:

Kansas City encounters two major areas of difficulty in paying for rail projects (NOT including voters reluctance to pass elections for funding these projects)

A. Qualifying for Federal matching dollars.

Most cities use federal dollars to help pay for very expensive rail projects.

New Starts –This grant program is the major source of federal funding for rail transit projects. The federal match for rail has shrunken from a norm of 80% down to 50% or less due to lack of federal funding and competition from numerous cities building and expanding rail systems.

  • To qualify for funding, the program requires projects to receive at least an overall medium rating in the FTA evaluation process.
  • According to Shawn Dykes, transit consultant with Parsons Brinckeroff, the most important number in the  project justification analysis for federal funding is cost-effectiveness or annual cost per rider. The FTA is not funding any projects that don’t rate at least medium in Cost Effectiveness. Currently that requires an annual cost/rider number of less than $10 per rider (or trip).

Cost_Effectiveness-11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since costs for building streetcars (about $50 million per mile) or light rail (about $60-$70 million per mile) are relatively consistent around the country, the difference in cost-effectiveness for projects is mainly related to the ridership numbers.

Population Density- ridership numbers are strongly related to the population density around a proposed rail project. Lack of density in the whole city is immaterial – the evaluation is only concerned about the population within 1 mile of the proposed track.

  • The Kansas City region has good population density in several transit corridors, such as: downtown corridor from River Market to the Plaza, along Independence Ave, 31st Street/Linwood, Prospect Ave, and State Avenue in KCK.
  • There are no well-established high-density transit corridors in Eastern Jackson County or to the airport (No transit corridor has really even been developed to the airport). Therefore, studies show very poor ridership projections for these areas.
  • Calculating projected ridership numbers starts with the current bus ridership in the transit corridor. Neither Eastern Jackson County nor any path to the airport has significant bus ridership to create a good base for rail ridership projections. Getting large ridership numbers between the airport and downtown depends on large numbers of daily riders, like commuters, not the occasional bump from 5 to 10 large conventions.
  • Commuter rail from Eastern Jackson County into Kansas City or light rail to the airport do not qualify for the FTA medium rating for cost-effectiveness (cost/rider under $10) and therefore fail the first hurdle in receiving federal New Starts funding.

TIGER Grant- Kansas City has done very well receiving TIGER grants, another source of federal funding. However, they are limited to about $20 million dollars. This amount is great for small projects like the two-mile downtown streetcar, but it doesn’t have a significant impact on a billion dollar project like light rail to the airport.

B. Generating local revenue for rail projects

Rail projects are very expensive. Most cities can’t pay for large projects themselves and need a federal match. Small starter lines, like the Downtown Streetcar, are often paid for locally.

Kansas City has a very hard time getting any rail projects approved by voters. Even if the voters approve a rail project, Kansas City struggles to generate enough money to pay for the project.

Building a rail line is just like building a new house.  You have to borrow the money and pay off a house mortgage or in the case of rail, pay off bonds.

You can only build a house that you can afford to pay off the monthly mortgage. If you only make $30,000 a year, you aren’t going to build a $400,000 house. You can’t afford the monthly/yearly payment.

Building rail has the same cash flow problem. The city borrows the money and issues bonds, then they have to be able to pay the yearly bond payments, usually though tax collections.

Revenue Capacity - Kansas City’s revenue generation is  too low in many cases to meet the bond payments for large rail projects, even if the feds pay half the project cost.  The streetcar expansion project required half the money from federal grants, yet the proposed Transportation Development District would not generate all of the money for the other half. If the proposal had passed, the city had to close the funding gap through other methods or shorten the routes.  

What about paying for light rail to the airport? Kansas City definitely can’t pay for light rail to the airport at this point in time.

Light rail to the airport: 17 miles at the low-end of cost, $60 million per mile, is $1.020 billion – plus add the cost of upgrading or building a new bridge and yearly operating and maintenance costs. Depending on the terms of the bond issue the yearly bond payment may easily range from $70 million to $90 million.

A city-wide 3/8 percent sales tax, like the sum of the two ballot measures on the Nov 4 ballot, will only generate about $27 million annually. Kansas City can’t pay for light rail to the airport by itself and the route won’t qualify for New Starts federal funding at this point. The cost/rider number to the airport is way over $10 per person. (high cost/low ridership)

Using a TDD for local funding:

In a Transportation Development District, the people who benefit from the transit are the ones voting. The district is usually smaller than a city-wide vote so the tax rates will be significantly higher in order to generate enough money to pay for rail. This model was successful for the Downtown Streetcar.

A Step in the Right Direction:

In order to qualify for federal matching funds, we need to develop high-density, mixed use corridors with great bus service. In order to do so the City needs to highly incentivize projects in those corridors. Create great mixed use, higher density, transit corridors that attract people and business, then let them grow so that ridership will qualify for federal matching dollars and they will have the revenue density necessary to fund rail projects.

When there are large rail studies, petition initiatives or votes for rail projects, people need to ask about the FTA cost-effectiveness number and the overall rating for receiving federal New Starts funding.  This is the first hurdle to getting significant federal matching funds. If the project won’t come close to even qualifying for New Starts funding, ask if we can we pay for it ourselves with sales and property taxes and then ask if we want to.

Our next RadioActive Magazine Transit Talk is November 18th at 6 pm on 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio.

 

Posted in Rail, Events, Local Transit Issues, Regional Transit Issue | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Attend Transit Stakeholder Forum Sept 25

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 22, 2014


marclogoThe next topic at the Transit Stakeholder Forum is: Updating the Smart Moves Regional Transit Vision.Transit_Stakeholder_Fourm-2

Smart Moves is the regional transit vision for the Kansas City region.

Smart Moves was last updated in 2008 and needs refreshed to reflect all the recent transit changes. The process will consider the goals of the regional TIGER VI plan work, called KC

Workforce Connex.

Come learn about the plan and contribute to the Smart Moves Vision.

This forum provides public input for the Transit Coordinating Council which advises MARC, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority and local transit partners and jurisdictions on issues, such as regional transit planning, coordination and implementation of priorities.

No membership is required for this forum and meetings are open to the public. Stakeholders include riders and all people interested in transit in the KC region

When: September 25. 2014 • 5–6:30 p.m.
Where: Sylvester Powell Community Center
6200 Martway
Mission, Kansas 66202

Posted in Events, Local Transit Issues, Regional Transit Issue | Leave a Comment »

KKFI Transit Talk Aug 19 Special Transportation in the KC Region

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 18, 2014


KKFI 90.1 FMJameson Auten, KCATA Vice President of Regional Service Delivery, Sheila Styron, Public Policy Specialist at The Whole Person, and Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network discuss Special Transportation issues in the Kansas City region, including upcoming coordination improvements between the four transit agencies and why, no matter how disabled you are, you can only use the Johnson County Special Edition bus if you live in Johnson County.

Where: Radio Active Magazine on KKFI 90.1FM Kansas City Community Radio (KKFI.org)

When: Tuesday August 19 @ 6PM 

Listen to PODCAST:   http://content.blubrry.com/kkfi901fm/RadioActive_Magazine_2014-08-19.mp3

Auten will discuss the special transportation services available through the transit agencies and Styron will discuss the reasons for ADA transit services as well as her personal experience as a user and why she prefers to use the regular bus service as much as possible.

The American With Disabilities Act (ADA) establishes paratransit (meaning “along side” transit) eligibility rules for people with disabilities. Systems falling under the ADA guidelines are considered ADA complementary services. The services are provided for eligible individuals within ¾ of a mile from a fixed route bus service. Commuter Express services are not required to provide special transportation service for people with disabilities.

Our four transit agencies provide special transportation for people with disabilities as well as seniors, even if they don’t have disabilities. Johnson County’s service is not an ADA complementary service.

RTCC_Paratransit_service_information

The current services have various eligibility requirements, costs, hours of operations and contact numbers, and trying to use them can get quite complicated.

Earlier this year Auten made a presentation to the Regional Transit Coordinating Council (RTCC) about the fractured nature of the current services.  Auten’s presentation: RTCC Paratransit Coordination

This council has adopted the task of improving and streamlining the paratransit services in our region. TAN covered RTCC’s commitment to improve regional paratransit services  earlier this year.

RTCC Tackles Big Transit Issues – Funding and Paratransit

If a transit agency provides special transportation for Non-ADA clients, then they can set their own eligibility rules and costs for Non-ADA trips. All of the transit agencies provide Non-ADA services for seniors starting at either 60 or 65 years of age.

One of the biggest upcoming transit issues is how the aging baby boomers will impact the cost and availability of both ADA and Non-ADA services as this large segment of the population needs more transportation. Auten told us that Share-A-Fare currently has 600 people a month signing up as either renewals or new customers. Since approximately 10,000 Americans are turning 65 everyday, this sign-up number is not surprising, but it is daunting when you consider the future impact on special transportation services.

Who to contact: One of the goals of the RTCC is to have one call center to schedule all paratransit trips. Until that happens, KCTA will forward your call to the appropriate agency if you call them. Here are all the numbers and websites for the paratransit services provided by our transit agencies.

ADA and Non-ADA service

KCATA Share-A-Fare  website  816-842-9070

Unified Government Transit Dial -A-Ride  website  913-573-8351

Independence (IndeBus)  IndeAccess  website  816-461-IBUS  (816-461-4287)

Non-ADA service ONLY

This service is ONLY available to people who live in Johnson County (includes seniors and people with disabilities).

Johnson County Special Edition  website  913-782-2210

The next Transit Talk is scheduled for October 14.

Posted in Events, Local Transit Issues | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

KCATA General Manager Mark E. Huffer Resigns

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 15, 2014


KCATA

KCATA press release

(Kansas City, Mo. – Aug. 15, 2014) The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority announced today that Mark E. Huffer, general manager, will leave his post effective August 22, 2014.
Huffer has served as general manager since 2000 and has positioned the agency to begin the implementation of an organization-wide restructuring designed to emphasize its capabilities and technical expertise to plan and manage regional projects.
Huffer said that with the reorganization complete, the timing was right for him to pass the mantle to new leadership at the Authority.
“This is the right time for both me and the Authority,” said Huffer. “KCATA is well positioned for the future and I have no doubt that it will continue to thrive. It is rare for a transit CEO to stay at the same agency for 14 years. One of the highlights for me has been the genuine honor of working with the great employees at KCATA.”
Under Huffer’s leadership, KCATA has seen many innovations including MAX Bus Rapid Transit on Troost Ave. and Main Street, construction of a child care/transit center at 39th & Troost, real-time passenger information at over 150 stop locations, passage of an additional 3/8-cent sales tax to support KCATA operations, and conversion of the diesel fleet to compressed natural gas.
“Mark has been a driving force for better transit at KCATA and this region for 14 years,” said Robbie Makinen, chairman of the KCATA Board of Commissioners. “He is a quiet leader who doesn’t seek credit for himself, but has guided KCATA to many improvements and innovations over the years. He has been a great asset to KCATA and he will be missed. The entire Board of Commissioners thanks Mark for his service and wishes him success in his future endeavors.”
Sam Desue, the current Vice President of Operations/COO, will serve as interim general manager.
****
The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is the largest of the four public transportation providers serving the Greater Kansas City metropolitan region. Created in 1965 through special state legislative action in both Missouri and Kansas, the KCATA today operates a fleet of more than 270 Metro buses providing more than 54,000 customer trips per weekday.

Transit Action Network enjoyed working alongside Mark Huffer to improve transit in this region. We always found Mark to be professional, helpful and informative. We wish him well in his future endeavors.

The KCATA Board of Commissioners will conduct a nationwide search for the new CEO position recently created under the agency’s re-organization plan. Huffer, along with Chairman Makinen and Vice Chairman Klika, have laid the groundwork for the Authority to take a stronger leadership role in the region.

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Hearing: KCMO Proposed Ordinance Links TIF With Free Bus Passes

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 12, 2014


kcmo_big_logoThis Wednesday the Kansas City Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee will hear testimony on a proposed ordinance sponsored by Councilman Russ Johnson.

ORDINANCE NO. 140518   Full Text KCMO_Legislation_140518

Amending Chapter 74, the Kansas City Redevelopment Ordinance, by adding a new Article VII, Public Mass Transportation Benefit Plan, for the purpose of requiring that certain public mass transportation benefits be provided to employees as a requirement of any economic development project utilizing tax increment financing, receiving tax abatements or financed with tax-exempt instruments.

When: Wednesday August 13 at 1:30 pm
Where: Planning, Zoning & Economic Development Committee
26th floor, Council Chamber
City Hall, KCMO

The basic idea is large companies, with more than 100 full-time employees, that receive a tax incentive from the city would implement a Group Transit Plan through KCATA providing free bus passes to eligible employees for the length of the public incentive.

A Group Transit Plan is a relatively new concept in our region started by KCATA several years ago with UMKC. All students pay a small student fee per semester and their UMKC ID badge functions as a bus pass on KCATA buses. This program was recently extended to Rockhurst University. Kansas City used the same concept to work with KCATA and develop a bus pass for all employees as part of their City ID badge. Regular KCATA METRO bus passes cost $50 per month. KCMO is paying $30 per year per person for employees to have a bus pass this year. The cost may be adjusted next year as the city and KCATA evaluate the program. This new benefit for City employees went into effect in July.KCATA

This ordinance would require companies receiving a tax incentive to purchase a similar bus pass for their employees, IF KCATA works out a group plan for them at “Ordinary and Customary Charges.” The final draft of the ordinance will probably have a cap on the amount of money a company would have to pay for this employee benefit. Right now they are talking about a cap of 0.1% of the employer’s total gross payroll for the eligible employees.

This new ordinance would not affect any current tax-incentive plans. If the Kansas City Streetcar Authority has monthly passes in the future, they would come under this ordinance. Tax Incentives are programs like TIF, but the city has a lot of additional tax-incentive programs. Small companies are not affected by this ordinance.

As transit advocates we hear a lot of lip service given to public/private partnerships as a way to pay for transit, but rarely does this talk turn in to anything as tangible as improvements for service or riders. We don’t know how many companies or employees this ordinance will affect in the future, maybe not many. Maybe a lot. We don’t see this ordinance harming large corporations like CERNER, which would be one of the first companies to fall under this new ordinance as it finalizes its large tax incentives for developing the old Bannister Mall site into a new CERNER campus.

The potential benefit to employees (riders) is great and the cost is relatively small per person per year for the companies that would be subject to the ordinance.

Many large employers in Kansas City already provide either free or subsidized monthly bus passes to employees who use transit. Today a company can purchase a METRO $50 monthly pass for $45. Companies that provide these passes free to employees are paying $540 per year to provide an employee that transit benefit. Whatever a Group Transit Plan costs a company per employee, that company will receive a huge discount for a yearly pass. The difference with this plan is that everyone in the company, at that location, would receive a bus pass. This is a great way to encourage transit.

Considering the subsidies to parking that these tax-incentives usually provide, the Group Transit Plan is a small way to be more mode neutral.

Programs with potential to increase transit ridership by giving employees an incentive to use public transit in a cost-effective manner should be implemented.

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Video – KC Streetcar Expansion Election Watch and Mayor’s Speech

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 6, 2014


Mayor Sly James addressed a crowd of streetcar supporters after the August 5th election to create a Transportation Development District failed. The district would have been used to fund the Streetcar Expansion Project. Although the plan did not get voter support, the mayor feels that the city will expand the streetcar system in the future. He feels once people see the Downtown Streetcar their ideas will change. Mayor James says “This issue is not over”.  Watch his complete remarks here.streetcar

Final Vote –  No 60%, Yes 40%

 

 

 

 

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Sense or Nonsense? Streetcars and Development

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 31, 2014


There is a lot of talk about the streetcar generating development. The following information attempts to shed light on this issue. Answers have been gleaned from the sources indicated below.

This article will be updated periodically as we become aware of additional information and the series will be available on the website under the tab “Special Topics” – Sense or Nonsense?

Construction along Cleveland's Health Line

Construction along Cleveland’s Health Line

Only light rail systems generate development.

Thumbs downNOT SO.

 As the photo of the Cleveland Bus Rapid Transit system makes clear, development can be encouraged by any form of mass transit, whether light rail, streetcar or bus-rapid-transit. More important than the transit mode, keys to development around transit are additional government incentives. These are most typically in the form of rezoning and traditional development subsidies, but can also include tangible improvements such as streetscaping, in the case of Cleveland, or Denver’s $1.4 billion redevelopment of their Union Station as a transit and commercial hub.

****

Sources:

 Streetcars

1. System(s) studied: Streetcars in Tampa, Seattle and Portland

Summary of findings: Vacant and underdeveloped land just beyond walking distance to the city center offers the most potential for appreciation. However, much depends on local conditions. The increase in average property values along the Tampa streetcar, although large, were less than increases in the county as a whole. A large component of property appreciation is the effect of rezoning to higher use. In the case of Seattle and Portland increases in value were due to a major development project in each city which included development of a streetcar along with other infrastructure, and up-zoning of a large swath of under utilized land.

Institution: Center for Transit Oriented Development, Reconnecting America

Contact: http://www.ctod.org/

Title: “Value Capture and Tax-Increment Financing Options for Streetcar Construction”

Authors: Not given, Date: circa 2009

Cleveland's BRT-1

Cleveland’s BRT

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) – Yes, MAX style buses can be used effectively for development. 

(Listed in chronological order of publication.)

2. System(s) studied: 21 different systems including the Kansas City MAX (BRT), Cleveland HealthLine (BRT), Portland MAX (light rail), Portland Streetcar, Seattle South Lake Union Streetcar, and 16 more.

Summary of findings: Strongest predictor of success in achieving development around transit is government support – financial, regulatory and marketing. The second most important factor is the strength of the land market surrounding the transit corridor prior to the introduction of new transit service. Light rail, streetcars and Bus Rapid Transit can all stimulate major investment in a corridor. But, Bus Rapid Transit is far more cost-effective.

Institution: Institute for Transportation and Development Policy

Contact: (212) 629-8001, www.itdp.org

Title: More Development For Your Transit Dollar, an Analysis of 21 North American Transit Corridors

Authors: Walter Hook, Stephanie Lotshaw, and Annie Weinstock, Date: 2013

3. System(s) studied:. Cleveland HealthLine, Bus Rapid Transit

Summary of findings: The HealthLine has been a catalyst for development along the route. A key factor was designing the system with amenities more typical of light rail systems and upgrading the streetscape all along the route.

Institution: Urban Land Institute

Contact: Trisha Riggs, Vice President of Communications: 202-624-7086; e-mail: priggs@uli.org

Title: “HealthLine Drives Growth in Cleveland”, in “UrbanLand”

Authors: Jason Hellendrung, Date: July 13, 2012

Cleveland's BRT - 2

Cleveland’s BRT – Amenities at Station

4. System(s) studied: BRT in Seoul, South Korea

Summary of findings: “Land price premiums of up to 10% were estimated for residences within 300 m of BRT stops and more than 25% for retail and other non-residential uses over a  smaller impact zone of 150 m. The research findings underscore the importance of introducing zoning and other land regulatory changes prior to the initiation of BRT improvements….”

Institution: Elsevier

Contact: Tel.: +1 510 642 1695; fax: +1 520 642 1641

Title: ” Bus rapid transit impacts on land uses and land values in Seoul, Korea”, in “Transport Policy”

Authors: Robert Cervero, Chang Deok Kang, Date: 2011

5. System(s) studied: Boston, Silver Line BRT

Summary of findings: BRT generated an average price premium on the sale price of condominiums along the route of 7.6% – comparable to what is seen for light rail.

Institution: Federal Transit Administration / University of South Florida, National Bus Rapid Transit Institute

Contact: National Bus Rapid Transit Institute, http://www.nbrti.org

Title: “Land Use Impacts of Bus Rapid Transit: Phase II….”

Authors: Victoria A. Perk, Martin Catala, Steven Reader, Ph.D, Date: July 2012

6. System(s) studied: Pittsburg, BRT

Summary of findings: Values of single-family homes increase as the property gets closer to a BRT station.

Institution: Federal Transit Administration / University of South Florida, National Bus Rapid Transit Institute

Contact: National Bus Rapid Transit Institute, http://www.nbrti.org

Title: “Land Use Impacts of Bus Rapid Transit: Effects of BRT Station Proximity….”

Authors: Victoria A. Perk, Martin Catala, Date: December 2009

Contributor: Mark McDowell

 

 

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Video, Podcasts, Cartoon – VOTE NO On MO Amendment 7

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 30, 2014


Votenoon 7 billboardThe Missouri election on a 10-year 3/4 percent sales tax increase for transportation is next Tuesday August 5th.

Missourians for Better Transportation Solutions recorded this video about the bill. http://bit.ly/1qIbeJL

Recent radio show podcasts discussing the election:

KCUR 89.3 FM July 28: Examining Tax Proposals In Missouri (second half is on Amendment 7- first half is on KC streetcar election)  http://kcur.org/post/examining-tax-proposals-missouri

KKFI 90.1 FM Community Radio,  July 22:  Mo Amendment 7 – Not All Taxes Are Created Equal http://content.blubrry.com/kkfi901fm/RadioActive_Magazine_2014-07-22.mp3 (Correction: The widening of Interstate 70 across rural Missouri remains the most expensive item in the project list. This project would receive $500 million (not $500,000) from this tax, with the rest of the $1.5 billion cost coming from existing revenue sources. The $1 billion that is already identified is enough to re-build I-70.)

Transit Action Network believes we shouldn’t pass a constitutional amendment to radically change the way we pay for roads and bridges. Section 30 of the Missouri Constitution states clearly that transportation projects are to be paid for with gas taxes, sales taxes on vehicle purchases, and vehicle license fees. We shouldn’t pay for roads based on how much we shop instead of how much we drive. Don’t let trucks off the hook. The trucking industry won’t pay hardly any additional taxes to fix roads and bridges based on this bill, yet they do the most damage. Missouri sales tax for everyone else will increase 18%.

What happens to the difference between money collected and money spent on approved projects? 

There is a $1.3 billion difference between the $4.8 billion project list MoDOT put together to spend the receipts of this sales tax and the $6.1 billion of revenue Governor Nixon predicts the tax will generate. Our understanding is that MoDOT did not calculate any increase in the yearly sales tax revenue for the whole 10 years, which is an extremely conservative approach for estimating the revenue generated from this tax. Governor Nixon averaged a yearly 1.5% increase, which seems reasonable. In the bill HJR 68, which is what we are voting on with Amendment 7, our legislators instructed MoDOT to create a list of approved projects, to be paid for by this tax, to put before the voters. Once MoDOT runs out of that list, what happens to any remaining money, since the bill says it can’t be transferred to another account?

Transit Action Network asked BOB BRENDEL, Special Assignments Coordinator for MoDOT and he replied,According to the language in Amendment 7, revenues will be distributed into three funds: County Aid Transportation Fund, Municipal Aid Transportation Fund, and the Transportation Safety and Job Creation Fund. In the event there are additional funds available beyond the estimated amount, the funds would be distributed across the state based on the approved distribution formula.” In other words, MoDOT can build whatever it pleases with potentially an additional $1 billion, not just the approved projects.  That is not what legislators intended. Passing this bill may give MoDOT up to 1/6 of the tax money to build whatever it wants.

So why is the sales tax increase so much? MoDOT Director Dave Nichols says he needs an annual construction budget (i.e., the money over and above routine operations like mowing and maintaining signs and signals and such, to replace worn-out sections of roads and bridges) of $485 million, and that beginning in 2017 MoDOT expects to have only $325 million.  That’s a shortfall of just $160 million annually, yet Amendment 7 would give MoDOT nearly three times that amount.  Why so much? Ask the highway construction lobby!NO ON 7

Cartoon: http://bit.ly/1mUDpNc

Governor Nixon’s statement: ” We can all agree on the need for a robust discussion about Missouri’s long-term transportation infrastructure needs. Along with a highly-skilled workforce, quality schools, and healthy communities, well-maintained roads and bridges are key to our economic competitiveness.  However, any proposal to change how we fund transportation must be considered in the context of the overall tax policy of our state and funding for other priorities like education.”

Full text of Governor’s statement: http://governor.mo.gov/news/archive/gov-nixon-issues-statement-transportation-tax

 See Missourians For Better Transportation Solutions website for more information. http://www.votenoamendment7.com
Previous TAN article with more information and links. :http://wp.me/pV5fE-2pS

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Sense or Nonsense? Streetcars and Increased Property Values

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 29, 2014


There is a lot of talk about the streetcar increasing property values. The following information attempts to shed light on this issue. Answers have been gleaned from the sources indicated below.

This article will be updated periodically as we become aware of additional information and the series will be available on the website under the tab “Special Topics” – Sense or Nonsense?

Does rail increase property values?

 Thumbs-upMAKES SENSE

Generally, streetcars and light rail increase property values for 1/4 to 1/2 mile around stops. The greatest beneficiaries are residential properties and properties that are rezoned to higher use (for example from “light industrial” to “multi-story office”). The extent of increase is dependent on many extraneous factors as well. Likewise, because rail is just one of the factors that affect property values, other areas of a city may see greater appreciation than those served by rail.The extent of increase is dependent on many extraneous factors as well. Likewise, because rail is just one of the factors that affect property values, other areas of a city may see greater appreciation than those served by rail. There is some evidence that the extent of value appreciation is tied to savings from reduction in transit time of the rail mode compared with alternative modes. Rail typically decreases property values along the right-of-way between stops, but to a small extent. Streetcars may have stops sufficiently close together so that every property is located near a stop.

****

Sources:

Streetcar Study:

1. System(s) studied: Streetcars in Tampa, Seattle and Portland

Summary of findings: Vacant and underdeveloped land just beyond walking distance to the city center offers the most potential for appreciation. However, much depends on local conditions. The increase in average property values along the Tampa streetcar, although large, was less than increases in the county as a whole. A large component of property appreciation is the effect of rezoning to higher use. In the case of Seattle and Portland increases in value were affected by major development projects in each city. In Portland this included large infrastructure investments including streets, sewers and utilities, along with a streetcar, and rezoning of an abandoned rail yard. In Seattle it was affected by the rezoning of six blocks of light industrial properties to multi-story office and the commitment of Amazon to build eleven office buildings on the site.Portland illustration hope-2

Institution: Center for Transit Oriented Development, Reconnecting America

Contact: http://www.ctod.org/

Title: “Value Capture and Tax-Increment Financing Options for Streetcar Construction”

Authors: Not given, Date: circa 2009

Light Rail Studies:

Listed in chronological order of publication -newest studies first

2. System(s) studied: Hudson – Bergen light rail (New Jersey)

Summary of findings: This was a longitudinal study looking at resale values over a seventeen-year period. Properties near stations had high property value appreciation. Properties along the line away from stations experienced lower than average appreciation.

Institution: Transportation Research Board

Contact: Transportation Research Board, 500 Fifth Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

Title: “The Impact of Hudson-Bergen Light Rail on Residential Property Values”

Authors: Kyeongsu Kim and Michael L. Lahr, Date: 2011

3. System(s) studied: River Line (rail using DMU’s in New Jersey)

Summary of findings: Line is highly successful with ridership near capacity. Nevertheless the impact on property values is neutral to slightly negative with residences in low-income census tracks near stations appreciating while more distant properties showing no or negative changes.

Institution: University of California

Contact: dgc@berkeley.edu

Title: “Evaluating the Economic Impacts of Light Rail by Measuring Home Appreciation: A First Look at New Jersey’s River Line”

Authors: Daniel G. Chapman, Nicholas K. Tulach, Kyeongsu Kim, Date: May 25, 2011

4. System(s) studied: Charlotte light rail

Summary of findings: Study looked at neighborhoods around light rail stops rather than just areas close to stops. Light rail resulted in neighborhood value increases for up to a mile from stops. There was no impact on commercial properties.

Institution: University of North Carolina-Charlotte

Contact: stephen.billings@uncc.edu

Title: “Estimating Value of a New Transit Option”

Authors: Stephen B. Billings, Date: March 15, 2011

5. System(s) studied: Minneapolis Hiawatha Line (light rail)

Summary of findings: Residential, both single and multi-family, near stations on the west side of the line saw significant increase in property values after the 2004 opening. The east side of the line is comprised largely of industrial properties, which saw no increase in value.

Institution: University Of Minnesota, Center for Transportation Studies

Contact: NA

Title: “The Hiawatha Line: Impacts on Land Use and Residential Housing Value”

Authors: Edward G. Goetz, Kate Ko, Aaron Hagar, Hoang Ton, Jeff Matson, Date: Feb. 2010

6. System(s) studied: Sacramento Light Rail

Summary of findings: No relationship between property values and proximity to a light rail station or line.

Institution: Bay Area Economics

Contact: Taiwo Jaiyeoba, (916) 557-4536, Alexander Quinn (530) 750-2195

Title: “Sacramento RT Economic Impacts of Light Rail”

Authors: Bay Area Economics, Date: September 8, 2005

7. System(s) studied: Portland Light Rail

Summary of findings: “….there have been some positive effects of rail on single-family  property values.”

Institution: Center for Urban Studies, Portland State University

Contact: (503) 725-4020

Title: “Effects of Light Rail Transit in Portland, Implications for Transit Oriented Development Design Concepts”

Authors: Kenneth J Dueker (duekerk@pdx.edu), Martha J. Blanco (martha@upa.pdx.edu), Date: 1998

Multi-modal studies:

8. System(s) studied: Meta-study of earlier studies of 7 rail systems including BART (San Francisco, heavy rail), Metrorail (Miami-Dade County, heavy rail), PATCO (New Jersey, heavy rail), SEPTA (Philadelphia; commuter rail), MAX light rail (Portland), MARTA (Atlanta, heavy rail), Spadina Ave. line (Toronto, streetcar); plus one narrowly focused study of five systems in Northern California

Summary of findings: Rail systems increase property values. A residence will most likely increase in value if it is in a lower to middle income, stable neighborhood, and within 1/4 to 1/2 mile of a station but not adjacent to a station. The more extensive the rail system, the larger the increase in property values. The amount of increase in property values is closely tied to the time savings of rail versus other transportation alternatives.

Institution: Booze Allen Hamilton Inc.

Contact: Roderick B. Diaz

Title: Conference Proceedings Paper; American Public Transit Association Rapid Transit Conference

Authors: Roderick B. Diaz, Date: May 1999

Contributor: Mark McDowell

 

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Transit Talk July 22- Not All Taxes are Created Equal – Vote No On Amendment 7

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 22, 2014


KKFI 90.1 FMTransit Action Network discusses the Missouri 10-year 3/4 percent Amendment 7 Transportation Sales Tax on KKFI 90.1 FM Community Radio with public policy specialist and transit advocate Sheila Styron of the Whole Person, Linda Smith, President of the League of Women Voters and David Kingsley, retired statistics professor from the department of health policy & management at Kansas University Medical Center.

When Tuesday, July 22 at 6 pm

Where: KKFI 90.1 FM Community Radio, Radio Active Magazine (They also stream live) KKFI.org

Podcast of show: http://content.blubrry.com/kkfi901fm/RadioActive_Magazine_2014-07-22.mp3 (Correction: The widening of Interstate 70 across Missouri remains the most expensive item in the project list. It would receive $500 million (not $500,000) from this tax, with the rest of the $1.5 billion cost coming from existing revenue sources.

HJR 68 Full text of bill, which is both a sales and use tax increase and on the Aug 5th ballot. HJR68

Not all taxes are created equal. The idea that we should pay for roads based on how much we shop rather than how much we drive is a radical change on how we pay for roads and bridges. Find out why you should Vote No on this state sales tax for transportation.

Anyone wondering why this sales tax is a constitutional amendment needs to understand that the state is really trying to change the way we pay for road work, by pushing the tax  burden onto  middle and low-income individuals, working families and seniors, instead of the main users of roads, the trucking industry.  Currently Section 30 of the Missouri Constitution states clearly that transportation projects are to be paid for with gas taxes, sales taxes on vehicle purchases, and vehicle license fees.

Why don’t we raise the fuel taxes since Missouri has had this level since 1996?

fuel taxes

Changing to a sales tax gives the trucking industry a free ride even though they use the roads the most and do the most damage. Trucking corporations don’t even pay a sales tax when they purchase a truck in Missouri since they have an exemption. In addition, the heavy construction industry has lobbied heavily for this bill since it would continue the unprecedented amount of roadwork MoDOT has been doing using federal stimulus money.

This is the largest tax increase in Missouri history, $6.1 billion dollars, and the Missouri sales tax will rise 18% from 4.225% to 4.975%. Total state and local taxes will be over 11% in many places. This combined rate is already 14th highest in the nation and this increase will put us 9th in the nation (ahead of Illinois and just behind New York and California).NO ON 7

We agree with Governor Nixon in our opposition to this bill and  “on the need for a robust discussion about Missouri’s long-term transportation infrastructure needs.”  Governor’s position https://governor.mo.gov/news/archive/gov-nixon-issues-statement-transportation-tax

Missourians for Better Transportation Solutions, www.votenoamendment7.com, which we joined for this effort, along with over 40 groups and individuals, put together a list of reasons to vote against the bill.

Reasons to Vote No On Amendment 7

Summary from this document

  • The tax unfair – Trucking Industry gets a free ride
  • The tax is excessive – largest increase in our history
  • This is the wrong investment for Missouri – The recent binge in highway construction hasn’t created significant economic development
  • Amendment 7 is bad for Missouri Investment – total combined sales tax will be above 10% many places creating further incentive for internet purchases and a lost of revenue for local businesses.

One reason to be against Amendment 7 we rarely see mentioned is how bad it is for cities and counties. Although the state has multiple taxing methods it can use to pay for needs, cities don’t, and adding a ¾ percent sales tax from Missouri cripples the ability of local governments to raise sales taxes for local needs, like police and fire departments. In fact, politicians and planning agencies all over the state rejected this idea of a sales tax for roads earlier this year, when lobbied to support an initiative petition to do this same thing.  After being rejected statewide, the lobbyists convinced our elected officials in Jeff City to put this sales tax on the ballot anyway.

Good articles explaining why you should VOTE NO ON 7

Terry Garney ‘s article in the Columbia Daily Tribune addresses the “radical departure from the way Missouri pays for roads.”

“ The amendment would make Missouri’s average combined state and local sales tax rates among the highest in the nation, exceeding 11 percent in some areas. The statewide average would be ninth-highest in the nation.”   http://bit.ly/1qt5oeY

***

Jim Fitzpatrick in Kansas City has published two insightful blogs about the campaign http://bit.ly/1qwrqxt and http://bit.ly/1mhAduT

“This time, I’m sorry to say, Freedom Inc. sold out to the Heavy Constructors, commonly called “the heavies.” They’re called that for more than the obvious contraction of their name. They bring a lot of political pressure to bear in any number of places, including the Missouri General Assembly, which voted to put Amendment 7 on the ballot.”

“That (gas) tax has stood at 17 cents a gallon – sixth lowest in the nation as of last year — since 1996, or almost 20 years. If the Missouri General Assembly and the “concrete cartel” (essentially, the heavy constructors, the engineering companies and the materials suppliers) want to raise more money for transportation needs, they should come back to us with a proposal to raise the gas tax.”

***

The Show-Me Institute has written an op-ed about why they are against Amendment 7. The Southeast Missourian ran a version of it http://bit.ly/UkMyHO. Someone remarked that it is rare when Governor Nixon and the Show-Me Institute agree on something.

Anticipating the funding bonanza, local governments around the state have put forward wish lists that would tap into sales tax money. Rather than confining themselves to critical transportation needs, cities and counties put forward lists filled with expensive wants.”

“Paying for highways based on how much people shop, and not how much they drive, creates a free-rider problem. It promotes congestion, road degradation, and sprawl. It also is fundamentally unfair to force occasional drivers to pay as much or more for new roads as interstate trucking companies.”

***

Good Roads MO (http://www.goodroadsformo.org/) continues to have good information on their website.

“This new tax would again divert sales taxes to rural areas while most of the taxes are paid by urban Missourians. The distribution of the tax to local governments is heavily weighted based on rural land value.

“Missouri’s combined state and local sales tax rates are already the 14th highest in the country. Should Amendment 7 be approved, Missouri will have the 9th highest sales tax rate in the nation (ahead of states like Illinois, just behind states like New York and California). “

***

Transit Action Network supports well-maintained and safe roads and bridges, good transit and bike and pedestrian facilities, but we reject paying for them with a huge sales tax increase.  Not only is a sales tax the WRONG Tax for paying for roads and bridges but are all of the projects really needed?

Just because MoDOT and regional planners had a feeding frenzy piling on projects, doesn’t mean all the projects are needed or should be paid for at the state level. For instance, vehicle traffic on I-70 is down 9% from its peak in 2005-2006.  Do we really need to subsidize the trucking industry so they can have 6 lanes across rural Missouri? Afterall, the trucking industry will pay next to nothing for all this roadwork if we pass this sales tax. Instead the tax burden will fall on middle and lowe-income individuals.

Although we can’t speak for the project lists from the rest of the regions, we feel the transit portion of the Kansas City region was hijacked.

Here is how MoDOT explained the process to choose projects.

“After incredible feedback from Missourians across the state, MoDOT and planning partners (Mid-America Regional Council – MARC in the KC region) have finalized a list of regional and community priorities that would be completed if Amendment 7 were to pass. Each region’s list of priority projects reflects the local needs as communicated by citizens and local leaders. “

However for the KC transit portion of the list, that is not what happened.

Here is the list the citizens and local leaders came up with through public meetings for  Transportation Outlook 2040 (Region’s Long-range Transportation Plan) , the Regional Transit  Coordinating Council (RTCC) and the Total Transportation Policy Committee (TTPC).Original KC_Regional_Trans_Priorities

During all three of these open and transparent meetings Kansas City had the opportunity to make the case that the Streetcar expansion was more valuable to the community than most of the projects and the streetcar should replace the vast array of projects spread around the region. They never made that case.

At RTCC, when the streetcar wasn’t even listed, KCMO asked for a token $5 million, which the group granted. Over the weekend, the city started its behind closed door campaign and got MARC to move the amount to $32 million, which is what you see on the list TTPC approved. This list was sent to MoDOT to reflect the local needs.

As MoDOT reviewed the list, they had closed-door meetings with Kansas City, and together, maybe with others, eliminated most of the original transit projects, and replaced them with $124 million for the KC Streetcar Expansion plan and reduced transit dollars from 30% to 26% with the difference going to more roads.  Many of the projects are good and need to be done with alternative funding to a sales tax,  but the region’s priorities should have been honored instead of cutting deals for support.

MoDOT’s final project list for KC region. Compare it to the original list.

http://www.modot.org/MovingForward/Regions/documents/FINALDistrictProjectList-KC.pdf

With this change, Mayor James decided to support of this unfair, unjust bill. We understand people with political power will use it, but rarely is it done in such a blatant, aggressive manner. MARC, all the other regional partners and the original transit project list were totally pushed aside and MoDOT and Kansas City  “made sure” the new list was approved at MARC.

Some specific projects that were eliminated so Kansas City could take most of the money for the streetcar expansion  

$11 million for mobility management including “Coordination of Paratransit Services (for the disabled)

$13.5 Million for “Regional/KCATA Downtown Transit Center/Super Stops (KCATA just had public meetings for this planned improvement)

Urban Corridor program (new MAX lines)

  • $16.5 million North Oak-CBD to Barry Rd or MO 152 (Northland misses out again)
  • $8.5 million Independence Ave – CBD into Eastern Jackson County

Trails

Decrease of $36 million – Purchase and construction of Rock Island ROW for the Katy trail-not enough money to pay for it now.

***

Most people who are for this bill are either connected to the construction or trucking industry, believe the projects are so important that the taxing method doesn’t matter to them, they are afraid this is the only way to get money, or they are getting a project they want so badly that they hold their nose and vote for a sales tax anyway. None of these reasons are valid reasons to saddle the whole state with a huge inappropriate, unfair tax for 10 years.

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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

Podcast of show: 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    Podcast of show: LINK TO MAY 20 SHOW 

 

 

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