Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

KC Mayoral Transit Forum Day 3

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 2, 2011

Question 3   Money is the main barrier to improving transit in the Northland and other outlying areas. How would you address this problem without decreasing transit service in the central core?

Mayor Mark Funkhouser

Mayor Funkhouser

Kansas City successfully won $27 million in federal funding for the Troost MAX bus Line. This is a good example of how we expand our bus service with funding sources that don’t come directly from the city taxpayers. We must continue to pursue regional funding and actively seek federal funding for transit.

Sly_ James

Sly James

As mayor, I will consider transit improvements as part of a long-term, comprehensive plan that brings to the table neighborhoods, businesses, regional governments, school district officials, and other civic leaders from every part of the city to create a plan that benefits every part of the city and one that considers the special and specific needs of the diverse areas of the city.


Henry Klein

I would like to use this question to present to TAN the alternative proposal I made to the RTA this past week.  In presenting this plan, I would like both TAN, RTA and the city as a whole to consider another option for a 21st Century transit idea that could be implemented very fast, very affordably, offer dramatically increased frequency and prevent us from the kinds of disappointments we have had in the past in expanding our transit options.  The plan below can both stand on its own or “plug and play” with both the streetcar and/or Jackson County commuter transit proposals.

The points to the plan include –
1) Rightsizing the Equipment/Buses used in the System.  Currently, we do not have the correct size buses for the routes we run.
2) Expanded Use of Hybrid/NG/Electric buses – the same factors that will potentially drive greater ridership could also raise our costs to prohibitive levels.  In conjunction with the other points of this plan, we will likely need to get special federal support.  This support will likely be come if we have a comprehensive plan such as this.
3) Integration with BRT (bus rapid transit) plans on both sides of the stateline
4) An ATA run “Private Investment for Public Good” routes extension
a) Specifically – we create two systems – one that we run as we currently do, and a second, where we bid out certain routes to the private sector so as to expand the system
5) Creating Alternatives to 1 and 2 car ownership through partnerships such as ZipCar
a) Making certain that Zipcar stations are conveniently and strategically located within the transit system
6) An NRG style electric refueling system like the one being set up in Houston
a) Specifically, NRG will be installing charging stations for electric cars in homes as well as have recharging stations throughout Houston.   Consumers will pay $80/month for this.  When you match this to the cost of fossil fuel (gasoline), this becomes an interesting and viable alternative.

Note: All of this would be tremendously helpful in transit to/from the Northland.

Deb Hermann

Deb Hermann

If we expect a tax to be acceptable to our residents, then the coverage paid for by that tax will need to be sufficient to cover all of the City.  If the coverage is only of the downtown and Jackson County, then the voters of Clay and Platte County will not accept it.  We will need to find some method of providing service to those residents.

Again, legislative efforts need to be more aggressive and regional.

Mike Burke

Mike Burke

The Northland needs a more centrally located and inviting transit hub where Max lines and feed  routes connect. Efficiencies could be achieved through right sizing equipment and routes.

Jim Rowland

Jim Rowland

Money to finance transit expansion is certainly one issue, but it is closely related to the issue of density.  Expanding transit offerings in the Northland and other outlying areas is so expensive because these areas are low in density, especially when compared with the central city.  My administration will work to heighten density in strategic places and ways, in order to provide the “market” needed to make transit a cost-effective option.  As noted above, we also must work on promoting a culture where transit is a logical, viable option.

Retaining current service levels in the central city is absolutely essential, because a sizable population in the central city relies on public transit as their primary mode of transportation to work, home, and play.

Day 4 we start regional questions!


One Response to “KC Mayoral Transit Forum Day 3”

  1. Suzanne said

    I am concerned that the responses to this question don’t deal with the current needs of residents. There are people in the inner city who desperately want to take jobs at Zona Rosa but can’t because there aren’t enough buses to get them to work and back. They can’t wait to grow the Northland for greater density and I’ll probably be old and gray before Platte and Clay Counties vote to join a regional transit system. There will be a lot of KC commuters complaining about a lack of buses too when gas prices spike again. I love long-term comprehensive plans, but that is all we ever get. When does the rubber meet the road?

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