Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

Archive for November, 2010

Transit Supporters Unite at KC City Hall 11/18/2010

Posted by Transit Action Network on November 23, 2010


Transit Action Network and nine other groups united last Thursday to testify at the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meeting to endorse Ordinance 100951. The ordinance was introduced by Councilman Ed Ford and co-sponsored by Council members Gottstein and Sharp.

This ordinance would help restore funding to transit. The city has diverted money to other purposes against the obvious intentions of the citizens who voted in 2003 and 2008 for an additional sales tax to improve and expand transit. In 2003 the city took $1.9 million from the 1/2 cent transportation tax for non-transit purposes and in 2010 they are taking $ 5.2 million.  This shift in city budgeting has left a big hole in the transit budget.

Mark Huffer, General Manager of KCATA, started the testimony by providing a very informative slide show about the financial difficulties of KCATA, which are partly caused by the recession and partly caused by City Council budget decisions.  After his presentation, there were presentations by representatives of the ATA Board of Commissioners, MORE2, Amalgamated Transit Union, AFL-CIO, The Whole Person, Alphapointe, RTA, AARP and of course Transit Action Network (TAN).

These presentations provided a huge outpouring of support from transit professionals, transit advocates, religious and social equity networks, and representatives from organizations representing the disabled, the elderly and the unions.

When we began meeting with the acting city manager and the council members in August, we were told repeatedly that they never heard from transit. We don’t think they can say that after Thursday.

The head of the Public Works department expressed concern about the ordinance.  Of course his department has benefited from the money diverted to non-transit projects. However, transit has taken an unfair share of the burden in this recession. Transit suffered by losing funding from both the downturn in sales tax receipts and the excessive amounts of money diverted by the city to non-transit purposes.

Links to media coverage

Video of Nov 18 City Council hearing on 100951 is on the City website at http://bit.ly/bdfR9X.  Public testimony begins about 22 min into this 48 min clip.

Recent press about Ordinance 100951:

Nov 14 Star story http://bit.ly/cscKLd

Nov 18 Star editorial http://bit.ly/c2aIvG

Nov 18 Ch41 story http://bit.ly/9Lzyyy with 2m05s news clip

Nov 19 Star story http://bit.ly/csLEPn

Please contact your city council members and the mayor to support Ordinance 100951 and restore funding to the transit system.

Contact information. http://kcmo.org/CKCMO/CityOfficials/index.htm

After Thanksgiving: What does this ordinance really do and why is the transit community so adamant about it?

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KCMO Ordinance Would Protect Transit Funding

Posted by Transit Action Network on November 10, 2010


Transit Action Network (TAN) is very pleased to announce that Councilman Ed Ford introduced KCMO Ordinance NO. 100951 to the city council last week. The ordinance was co-sponsored by Council members Ford, Sharp and Gottstein.

This ordinance would restore transit funding and restrict what the city can use for non-transit projects. It limits the City’s use of the 1/2-cent transportation tax for non-transit related purposes to 5%. Currently, KCMO is using approximately 18% for such purposes, or in excess of $5M. Although the City has the legal right to do so, we believe it is inconsistent with the voters’ desire to improve finances for public transit, as evidenced by their overwhelming support for the 3/8-cent transit sales tax in the elections of 2003 and 2008.

TAN started working to get an ordinance to restrict the city’s use of the 1/2-cent transportation sales tax in August when we met with the acting city manager Troy Schulte. Subsequently we have met with city council members and the mayor’s chief of staff. MORE2 (Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity) has participated in these meetings with city officials and we have worked together closely on this effort.

TAN requested limiting non-transit expenditures to 4%, so this proposed ordinance is consistent with our request. We have been working with KCATA, which also made the same request.

We will be testifying in favor of this ordinance Thursday, November 18th at the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meeting at 9 am, 10th floor of City Hall.

The first step in passage of this ordinance is for the committee to support the ordinance and send it to the whole city council. If that happens, then the city council needs to pass the ordinance. Seven votes are needed in the full council to pass the ordinance.

Committee members are Councilpersons Riley, Curls, Jolly, and Skaggs. Please let them know that you are in favor of this ordinance.

It is also appropriate to contact other Council offices and simply let them know you are in support of this ordinance.

We are reaching out to other organizations and Kansas City neighborhoods to encourage the city to adopt this ordinance.

ORDINANCE NO. 100951

Amending Chapter 68, Article VII, Code of Ordinances of Kansas City, Missouri entitled “Sales Taxes,” to enact a new section which provides for the distribution of the transportation tax.

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL THAT:

Section 1: That Chapter 68, Article VII, Code of Ordinances of Kansas City, Missouri, entitled “Sales Taxes,” is hereby amended by enacting a new section 68-472.1, entitled “Distribution of tax,” to read as follows:

Sec. 68-472.1 Distribution of tax.  At least ninety-five percent of the sales tax for transportation imposed by Sec. 68-471 of this article and deposited in the City’s Public Mass Transportation Trust Fund shall be appropriated and paid by the City to the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority for purposes as provided in RSMo. 92.400 – 92.421 inclusive. Any portion of this appropriation and payment in excess of that designated by contract as being due the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority for performing its contractual obligations to the City shall be utilized by the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority for its general purposes in providing a public mass transportation system.

Please do not hesitate to contact TAN if you need to discuss this issue. We appreciate your help.

Email: TransActionKC@gmail.com

Link to ordinance on the city website.

http://tinyurl.com/3xmuhfm

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