Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

KC Mayoral Transit Forum Day 4

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 3, 2011

Questions 4   Expansion of transit service outside Kansas City has been under discussion for some time, and one approach is for counties to establish their own transit funding mechanisms.  Suppose Jackson County were to propose a 1/10-cent countywide sales tax to fund transit improvements in the near term. The tax would primarily, though not exclusively, fund intra-regional buses in commuter corridors.

a.    Would you support county tax levies for transit?

b.    If so, what would be needed to assure Kansas City voters’ support?

c.     If you would not support county tax levies for transit, please explain why.

Mike Burke

Mike Burke

a. If Jackson County proposed a transit tax and a startup system, I would need to know how it interfaced with city transit systems and what form of governance before I could endorse it. I would also want to make sure that a one county tax would not adversely impact the ability to develop a more comprehensive multicounty system.

Jim Rowland

Jim Rowland

a. I will work collaboratively with Jackson County and other metropolitan governments to find solutions on this issue.  Whether the County would move forward with an initiative like the one outlined above is for its elected leaders to determine.  I am concerned about taxes in general, in that some people view them as the only solution.  I was able to create comprehensive Citywide recycling without a tax increase after previous councils failed multiple times with implementing the program through a sales tax election. I mention this only to demonstrate the point that it is sometimes possible to achieve our goals without making taxation the option of first resort.

b. Just as in any tax vote, Kansas Citians would need to be assured that the tax would help solve an important problem, that Kansas City would be treated fairly in the deal, and that the revenues generated would be well-spent.

Mayor Mark Funkhouser

Mayor Funkhouser

a. While individual county taxes would help with the funding gap, transit needs to be addressed by the region collectively.  I support an integrated, regional, multi-modal public mass transit system. I would consider supporting a ballot measure for a regional dedicated tax for mass transit if it met the following criteria:

  • Funded by the entire region.
  • Integrated into the existing transportation network.
  • Multi-modal, including commuter rail, modern streetcars, light rail, bus, BRT, and bicycle and pedestrian trails.
  • Centered on downtown Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Robust enough to provide excellent access to all major nodes and employment centers in the region.

I support MARC’s regional Smart Moves initiative. We, as a region, should work collaboratively under the leadership of MARC, in order to aggressively seek federal funding and work with our federal delegation for more federal funding for public transit.

Sly_ James

Sly James

Although I do not support any tax increases at this time, I do not want to take this idea off of the table.  Our transit system is a regionally utilized service and should be improved, and funded, accordingly.

I’ve been a strong advocate for public transit and will continue to be as mayor.  However, we need to restore the public’s trust in City Hall before we ask for additional tax dollars.  The city’s plan to withhold $5.4 million in tax revenue intended for KCATA is simply unacceptable and represents a systemic problem with the way our city conducts business.  Withholding funds that have been allocated by voters for a specific purpose continues to breed the type of widespread distrust of City Hall that must be fixed.  Our budget must always reflect the priorities of the citizens of Kansas City, not simply the priorities of our bureaucracy.


Henry Klein

a. I would be willing to consider it.

b.That the return on investment to the city exceeded the cost.

Deb Hermann

Deb Hermann

a. My support would depend upon how such proposed coverage paid for by the tax affected all of Kansas City and its residents.  I would expect that if support is regional, so should be the governing process.

b. The political and civic community must provide a united front with strong support.  Again, it would depend upon how equivalent that tax was to the transit coverage provided.  The governing process would also have to be fair to all our residents.

Day 5 The Jackson County Commuter Corridor Alternatives Analysis


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