Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

KC Mayoral Transit Forum Day 5

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 4, 2011

Question 5   Jackson County, MARC, and KCATA will consider alternatives for improving commuter transit service within Jackson County through a federal Alternatives Analysis study, which should be concluded within the next two and a half years. The study will evaluate various bus and rail alternatives from Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit to downtown Kansas City.

a.    Would you support implementation of the preferred alternative from this study regardless of whether the choice is bus or rail? Please explain your answer.

b.    Would you support a countywide tax to support implementation of the preferred alternative from this study?

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

d.     If you would not support a countywide tax, please explain why.

Deb Hermann

Deb Hermann

a. There is not yet a concrete proposal to comment on.  I am more interested in a comprehensive transit program that serves the most citizens whether bus, rail, or a combination of both.  This is critical to the quality of life of our citizens, economic development, and the environment.  I am very interested in the commuter rail proposal of Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders and would hope that this proposal gets very serious study.

b. See above

c. Confident and strong support from the political and civic community is imperative and the first priority.  Our citizens have been confused by a myriad of plans and varied support of the leadership.  We need a plan we all can get behind and convey that to our citizens.

All citizens need to understand how any plan will make life better for everyone in Kansas City.

d. See above

Mike Burke

Mike Burke

a. I support the Alternatives Analysis study for commuter rail and eagerly await its findings.  I believe that a commuter rail system must be complimented by a well-planned hub and feeder system and would want to make sure that the system served Kansas City residents as well as suburban commuters.

b. If the system meets the above criteria, I would support a tax to fund it.

Jim Rowland

Jim Rowland

a. Provided that the study is conducted in an impartial, objective, rigorous, and scientific way, I would support its outcome.  I strongly believe that public policy should be guided by empirical data and serious analysis.  Analysis should not be used to simply justify a pre-determined conclusion, but to help us determine the best strategy for achieving our goals.

b. If the elected officials of Jackson County feel that a countywide tax is necessary, I would not oppose them.

c. 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. I support the transit study. However, I think the study should be a part of what, ultimately, must be a regional transit network. Jackson County’s commuter proposal could be an important part of a regional system.

b. It would depend on the study results and the feasibility of its inclusion in a regional system.

Sly_ James

Sly James

My support and advocacy for public transit has always been driven by facts and whether or not I support the preferred alternative will be based on the contents of the study’s results.  I am not biased in one way or the other when it comes to bus or rail as a preferred mode of transit.

Although I do not support any tax increases at this time due to the budget crisis we’re facing in Kansas City and the ongoing economic recession, I am a transit advocate and will be supportive of thoughtful proposals to improve public transit.

To be clear, we have a lot of work to do with Kansas City and Jackson County voters before we ask them to open up their pocketbooks for a new tax.

First, we must restore trust in City Hall and confidence that we are spending tax dollars wisely. As I mentioned before, I will make sure that money goes to the purpose specified by voters.  For example, I will make sure that the tax revenue voters devoted to the KCATA gets to the KCATA.  Withholding such devoted funds breeds the type of widespread distrust of City Hall that must be fixed.


Henry Klein

a. Yes, provided that the return on investment (roi) was better from the one chosen.

b.  Possibly, again provided the return on investment made sense.

c.  The issue here is simply that we have to assure voters that the overall cost of the system is something we can afford and provides a net overall positive good to the city and the county.

Day 6   State and Federal Transit Issues


One Response to “KC Mayoral Transit Forum Day 5”

  1. Bill said

    Question for Henry Klein
    On both day 4 and day 5 you mention return on investment (ROI) as a way to evaluate transit projects. ROI is normally a financial measurement determined by how much money a project generates compared to its cost. Both roads and transit are heavily subsidized and don’t have a normal financial return on investment. I would hate to try to justify the road in front of my house by this measure since it doesn’t generate any monetary ROI. Since I am not clear what you mean by this, how would you evaluate a transit project using ROI when the major return from transit, as well as roads, is the ability to get around?
    Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: