Transit Action Network – Our First Six Months
Posted by Transit Action Network on July 13, 2010
We formed Transit Action Network in early January, 2010, to fill what we saw as a void in active citizen involvement on behalf of expanded and effective transit service in the Kansas City region.
We have deliberately not created a formal organization, preferring instead to spend our time and other resources on behalf of transit. Nor have we established a formal membership list or asked for dues. “Action” is our middle name, and we use words such as “involved,” “nimble,” “informed,” and even “scrappy” to describe ourselves.
Our transit focus is broad. It is regional, multi-modal, and promotes transit for all demographic groups.
If you want to be more involved or just know what we are doing
- We’re on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/transactionkc – follow us
- We have a blog, http://TransActionKC.com
- We have an email list for periodic updates and notices – send a note to TransActionKC@gmail.com to join
We have bi-monthly lunch meetings where we discuss current issues and opportunities for action. These are generally held at the Kansas City, Missouri, Central Library
Here’s a brief overview of what we’ve been up to:
- Our information booth at the Green Impact Zone expo, March 27 focused on an “action” to contact Missouri Senators to put emergency money in the budget for KCATA. The action successfully helped to get $3 million in the Missouri budget even though Governor Nixon later suspended the use of those funds.
- We testified at three of the budget hearings held by the Kansas City City Council and made the Mayor and the Council aware that its budget decisions were diverting scarce resources away from transit.
- We initiated a series of quarterly “transit lunch” outings for members of the MARC Transit Committee and other interested people in order to experience local transit first hand.
- We provided a panelist for the Imagine KC telecast on KCPT, February 15.
- We provided a guest on a KKFI radio program on transportation and air quality, May 10.
- We had a letter to the editor of the KCStar published about transit in Johnson County
- We worked with the Green Impact Zone to promote teens using the ATA TRANZ Tags for the summer.
- Our members have been quoted in newspaper articles frequently about transit issues.
Regional Transit Initiatives
In response to the proposed “Regional Rapid Rail” system, we have had numerous meetings with decision-makers at Jackson County, MARC, and KCATA regarding the proposal itself, as well as an evaluation of the proposal currently underway by MARC. We also testified before the Kansas City City Council in favor of deferring support for the concept until further information was provided. We believe our role has been constructive and pragmatic, stressing the importance of cost-effective transit solutions and not allowing a high-profile proposal to draw attention away from a pending threat to funding of current commuter bus service, particularly in Jackson County.
Meetings with public officials:
The purpose of these meetings has been to discuss and find out about local transit issues as well as promote the idea of getting dedicated funding to secure and expand current transit services. We discussed funding mechanisms such as a County Transit Authority and Transportation Development Districts for transit. We believe the need for better transit services is now and we shouldn’t wait until gas prices are outrageous, or until a rail system might finally be built, before we improve transit. We have met with:
- Southern Platte County Mayors
- Councilmen Whitley, Gray and Mosby of Lee’s Summit
- Mayor Randy Rhoads of Lee’s Summit
- Community Development staff of Independence
- Councilman Bowerman of Blue Springs
- Mayor David Bower of Raytown, co-chairman of the MARC Transit Committee
- Mayor Gerry Richardson and Councilwoman Gia McFarlane of Parkville
- We are actively involved in MoDOT’s Rail Passenger Advisory Committee.
- We have been active participants in MoDOT’s Traffic Management Committee for construction of the Christopher S. Bond Bridge.
We met Congressional Staff to discuss issues in the next Federal Transportation Bill and issues related to senior mobility.
- Sarah Woodward, Aide to Congressman Sam Graves
We regularly participate in public events related to transit:
- MARC open house on the Long-Range Transportation Plan
- February 17 announcement of the award of a federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant, and a subsequent media event to announce details
- Various forums and “webinars” related to transit and urban development issues
- MARC Regional Assembly luncheon, June 25
- Missouri Chamber of Commerce Transportation Conference
- National Rail Plan Outreach Meeting, May 19
Transportation committees at Mid-America Regional Council
We are a regular, active and informed presence on behalf of transit at the following meetings–and in many cases we are the only transit presence:
- Transit Committee
- Total Transportation Policy Committee
- Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee (because transit riders use those modes)
- Missouri STP/Bridge Priorities Committee
- Air Quality Forum
- Technical Forecast Committee (because how a region grows determines how well transit can work to provide access to opportunities for all)
- Long-Range Transportation Plan Subcommittee
- MARC Board of Directors (observer status only)
We also have regular contact with MARC’s senior staff, and we don’t hesitate to ask for and receive clarification on many issues.
Kansas City Area Transportation Authority
- We have attended each of the monthly meetings of the KCATA Board of Commissioners this year, and have used these meetings as opportunities to build and improve informal relationships with both Commission members and senior staff.
- We have regular contact with senior staff regarding a wide range of transit funding and service issues.
Johnson County Transit
- We have regular contact with staff of The JO to encourage improvement of their on-street presence (e.g., bus stop signs and posted schedules), and to help promote transit ridership in Johnson County with special focus on the new service launched on July 6.
- We have informal conversations with several members of the Johnson County Transportation Council, and with various Johnson County city and county elected officials.
Outreach / Communication
- We have been working with MoDOT to build local awareness of the state-supported Missouri River Runner rail passenger service connecting Kansas City and St. Louis.
- We participate in the kcrag.com discussion forum ( http://forum.kcrag.com ) to disseminate information about transit developments and issues.
We have informal contacts with:
- Let’s Go KC
- MORE2 (Metropolitan Organization for Racial and Economic Equity)
- Sierra Club
- Kansas City, Missouri, Environmental Management Commission
- Kansas City, Missouri, Climate Protection Steering Committee
- League of Women Voters Kansas City/Jackson, Clay, Platte
(Whew! Sometimes we surprise ourselves!)
Submitted by Transit Action Network’s very informal steering committee (in alphabetical order):