Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

Archive for October, 2010

Third Quarter 2010 Action Report

Posted by Transit Action Network on October 22, 2010


This report for the Third Quarter of 2010 builds on our First Half report:

https://transactionkc.com/2010/07/13/transit-action-network-%e2%80%93-our-first-six-months/

Here’s a brief overview of what we’ve been up to:
 
Kansas City Funding of Transit
 
During the Third Quarter our principal focus has been on Kansas City’s funding of transit. 

https://transactionkc.com/2010/10/05/update-on-kc-transit-funding-1042010/

In September we worked with a reporter to get an article published in The Pitch on September 16 about Kansas City’s cuts in transit funding 

http://www.pitch.com/2010-09-16/news/kcata-bus-service-still-lousy/

All governments face budget challenges, but Kansas City has reduced its funding of transit far more than we believe justified, in large part because transit riders and proponents haven’t been sufficiently vocal.  The city’s half-cent sales tax has been the main support for transit since 1971, and whereas the budget shows that revenue stream actually increased by nearly 3 percent between 2003 and 2010, Kansas City’s use of that money for transit has decreased by more than 20 percent.  City budget officials have simply used the money for other purposes.  We testified at city budget hearings last March, but we’ve learned that to have a meaningful effect on the budget we have to influence decision-makers at the very beginning of the budget process.  We had an extended discussion with Acting City Manager Troy Schulte about that matter in August, and we are now about to complete a first round of meetings with all City Council members.  Our goal is to reverse the trend and minimize the diversion of half-cent sales tax money away from transit.  In our meetings with city officials we partner with Metropolitan Organization for Racial and Economic Equity (MORE2), a faith-based organization that brings the strength of a strong moral focus and its numbers to the cause.  As we do so we are in contact with KCATA management, but we maintain our independence.  We believe part of the outcome of our activity will be a more energetic effort on behalf of transit by the KCATA staff and its Board of Commissioners.

 

Regional Transit Initiatives
 
In response to the proposed “Regional Rapid Rail” commuter rail system championed by Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders, we continue to be very involved with key decision-makers, and with Mid-America Regional Council’s Transit Committee.  We are monitoring MARC’s “Commuter Corridors Study,” which is examining the concept, and we have submitted comments on the draft report.  Our involvement stresses the importance of cost-effective transit solutions while not allowing a high-profile transit proposal to draw attention away from pending threats to funding for current commuter bus services to Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit, and Liberty.

https://transactionkc.com/2010/08/05/big-week-for-regional-rapid-rail/

https://transactionkc.com/2010/07/15/regional-rapid-rail-and-marcs-alternative-analysis-request/

 

Public Events
 
We regularly attend public events related to transit:

+ Dedication of the new Christopher S. Bond Bridge over the Missouri River.

+ Formal award of federal stimulus funds (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER) for transit

+ Dedication of the new walking and cycling accommodation on the Heart of America Bridge

 

Mid-America Regional Council
 
We are an active and informed presence on behalf of transit at a number of MARC’s committee meetings.  We also are in regular contact with MARC’s senior staff regarding critical transit-related issues.
 

Kansas City Area Transportation Authority

We attend and report on monthly meetings of the KCATA Board of Commissioners.  

+ July meeting – Report and presentation regarding need for schedule information about JCT service at MAX stops

https://transactionkc.com/2010/08/08/july-kcata-boc-meetingcomprehensive-service-analysis-public-input-and-customer-satisfaction-survey/

+ August meeting – Report

https://transactionkc.com/2010/09/14/kcata-aug-2010-board-of-commissioners-meeting/

+ September meeting – We briefed the board on our efforts with respect to Kansas City funding for transit

 

Johnson County Transit

We continue to encourage The JO to improve its on-street presence (such as bus stop signs and posted schedules), to improve connectivity between their transit services and those of KCATA, and to help promote transit ridership in Johnson County with a special emphasis on the new service launched on July 6.

+ We have promoted transit ridership by reporting on the new service they launched on July 6   https://transactionkc.com/2010/07/09/inaugurating-the-new-johnson-county-transit-service/

+ We have encouraged use of JCT buses to Union Station https://transactionkc.com/2010/07/20/take-the-jo-to-the-jurassic/

+ We have reported on the formal kickoff event for the new service https://transactionkc.com/2010/08/16/news-from-the-jo/

+ We have helped to spread the word about new JCT services through social media https://transactionkc.com/2010/08/19/lets-tweet-up-transit/

 

Networking

We get things done by “networking” with other organizations.  We have informal contacts with:  MORE2 (Metropolitan Organization for Racial and Economic Equity); Let’s Go KC; League of Women Voters Kansas City/Jackson, Clay, Platte; and a number of other organizations.  We have been working in the Green Impact Zone and other urban core neighborhoods to educate and activate leaders and residents https://transactionkc.com/2010/07/24/action-the-green-impact-zone/

We also participate in the kcrag.com discussion forum http://forum.kcrag.com

 

You Can Get Involved

If you want to get involved, or just know more about 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
 
Submitted by Transit Action Network’s very informal steering committee (in alphabetical order):
 
Ron McLinden
Margie Richcreek
Janet Rogers

Posted by our backup blogmeister.

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Update on KC transit funding 10/4/2010

Posted by Transit Action Network on October 5, 2010


Kansas City has been diverting the half-cent sales tax money away from transit for several years.  As a result, transit service was cut last year by 9.5 percent and fares were increased 20 percent.

Transit Action Network (TAN) is asking the Kansas City city council to pass an ordinance to limit the city’s non-transit use of the ½ cent sales tax that feeds the Public Mass Transportation Fund. We would like to see a limit in the range of 4%-5%, which would be in line with the amount the city used for these items when the voters enacted the supplemental 3/8-cent transit sales tax.

The city’s use for non-transit related projects has grown from under 5% in 2003 to over 18% in 2010.

Even in this recession, the city is receiving more in sales tax than it did in 2003, yet public transit is getting $5 million less this year than in 2003. The money is going to road related projects instead of transit.

Transit Action Network has already met with nine council members and acting City Manager Troy Schulte. A member of MORE2 (Metropolitan Organization for Racial and Economic Equity) has been part of the delegation at nearly all of these meetings. We are working with MORE2 because this issue affects getting to and maintaining jobs, which is important to both our groups.

We have met with: Troy Schulte, Cindy Circo, Beth Gottstein, Terry Riley, John Sharp, Jan Marcason, Bill Skaggs, Cathy Jolly, Ed Ford and Melba Curls.  We have meetings scheduled with the remaining council members.

We updated the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority Board of Commissioners at their September 22 meeting.

We are also making arrangements to speak at neighborhood associations to expand the awareness of this problem. We have already scheduled presentations for the Ivanhoe and Blue Hills neighborhoods.

This is also a sustainability issue. The city needs to make its actions match its green value system. The city has adopted numerous green initiatives and improving transit is a major component of sustainability. You can’t get to sustainability by de-funding transit.

TAN members spoke last March at the city council’s budget hearings, but we learned that was too late.  Now is the time to speak out about the budget if there is any hope of affecting it.

When we met with Troy Schulte in August he advised us to RAISE THE LEVEL OF DISCUSSION ABOUT TRANSIT, and he reminded us that the SQUEAKY WHEEL GETS GREASED.

So we’re beginning to squeak.  Loudly.

Some council members didn’t know about this issue and needed to do some research.  Some are ready to support limiting the city’s use of these funds.  Only one has been adamant about “not hamstringing the budget!”

We don’t’ think the way to fix the city’s other problems is to create a new problem by gutting the transit system.

If you haven’t contacted your councilperson and the mayor, please do so.  You can get their email address or phone number at http://kcmo.org/CKCMO/CityOfficials/

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KCATA Does a Cameo Drive-by for Bridge Dedication

Posted by Transit Action Network on October 2, 2010


Assistant District Engineer Linda Clark of MoDOT presided over the ceremonies, which included Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, plus a number of state, county, and city officials, and well over a hundred walkers and cyclists.

A new bike/ped pathway on the Heart of America Bridge across the Missouri River was dedicated on October 1, 2010.  The project has been on the wish list of local cyclists and walkers for many years, and its construction was accelerated using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (federal stimulus) money.  What’s the transit connection?  For starters, people from south of the river who work an evening shift in North Kansas City can now take transit to work and have a safe way to get back across the river after transit service ends.

The KCATA's walk/bike "wrapped" bus made a cameo drive-by appearance during the HOA Bridge ped/bike pathway dedication. This photo was taken later in the day near Union Station.

Thanks to our close working relationship, Transit Action Network was able to get the ATA to assign their special “Walk There / Bike There” bus to Route 142 so it would pass by (cue the cheers and waves) during the dedication ceremony.  Our thanks to Cindy Baker and her colleagues at the ATA who made this “cameo appearance” possible.

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