Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

Archive for March, 2011

KCATA Announces “How to Ride Clinics”

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 31, 2011


Spread the word. KCATA wants to save you thousands of dollars a year.

As gas prices rise, public transit becomes more and more attractive.  During the month of April receive one-on-one help learning about The Metro at KCATA How to Ride Clinics. New riders at the clinics will get a free 3-day pass.

How-to-Ride clinics will take place on the following days, locations and times.

  • April 2: Blue Ridge Crossing Shopping Center, North side of parking lot, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • April 9: City Market, Park-and-Ride at 3rd & Grand, 9 a.m. – noon
  • April 9: Costco, Linwood & Gillham, West side of parking lot, 1 – 4 p.m.
  • April 16: Waldo, 75th & Wornall, on the far side of the CVS parking lot, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

If you can’t make it to a clinic, check out the Starter Kit for New Riders and begin riding The Metro and MAX .

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Posted in Events, Local Transit Issues | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Loss of E-TAX could devastate KCMO Transit

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 29, 2011


Transit Action Network strongly supports retention of the Kansas City Earnings Tax in the special election on April 5.

We all worked hard to protect transit funding last year.  During that process members of the city council, the mayor’s staff, and the interim city manager were all very candid about the impact losing the E-TAX would have on the ordinance they passed in December 2010 to restore transit funding.

We were told that loss of the Earnings Tax would place an extraordinary financial strain on the city, and that extraordinary measures would have to be taken. The transit funding ordinance (Ordinance 100951) would be rescinded, and the city would use the 1/2-cent transportation sales tax to replace E-TAX revenue used for non-transit transportation purposes.

This would deal a devastating blow to transit, and significant transit service cuts would have to be made.

If you care about transit — if you care about providing access to jobs and many other opportunities, vote YES on April 5 to retain the Earnings Tax!

Posted in Action, Local Transit Issues | 1 Comment »

Transit Consultant Chosen for Downtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 24, 2011


Modern StreetCar

March 22. The MARC Board approved authorization to execute an agreement with HDR to do the Alternatives Analysis (AA) for the downtown corridor. HDR is an international employee-owned architecture, engineering and consulting firm. They have an excellent reputation working on transit projects and HDR has been heavily involved in streetcar implementation, especially in Portland. They have a KCMO office at 4435 Main.

The HDR team includes Nelson/Nygaard, Patti Banks, Burns & McDonnell, Polsinelli Shugahart, HG Consult, and Architectural & Historical Research.

From MARC’s  Request for Proposal (RFP):

For the purposes of this Alternatives Analysis, the downtown corridor is in Kansas City, Missouri and extends from the Rivermarket on the north, through the Central Business District and the Crossroads areas to Crown Center on the south.  This is the center of the bi-state region and includes the region’s largest concentrations of employment, regionally significant activity centers and a growing residential population.

Downtown is the current regional hub for transit services and the expected terminus for future regional rail being studied in a separate Alternatives Analysis that is to be coordinated with this effort. There is significant transit service downtown, including two BRT lines terminating downtown, but existing services primarily focus on bringing persons from outlying parts of the city and region in and out of downtown. There is a significant and growing need for transit service focused on conveniently moving people within downtown and connecting the downtown activity centers, employment centers, residential areas and transit hubs. This need will heighten with any future introduction of regional or commuter rail.”

Modern streetcar and a variety of alternatives will be considered to meet the current and future needs.

Read KCATA’s  Kansas City Streetcar Concept

The AA is expected to be completed by Jan 2012.

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How to Pass a Transit Ballot Measure!

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 17, 2011


The Center for Transportation Excellence (CFTE) is having its biannual conference in St. Louis this summer.

Transit Initiatives and Communities Conference

understanding the keys to successful transit ballot measure campaigns

June 20-22, 2011
Registration is Open!

Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark

Ballot measures have become an integral part of transportation finance. This is the only national conference devoted to understanding the role of ballot measures in improving transportation choices and investment, and providing advice on how to achieve success at the ballot box.

http://www.cfte.org/TIC/TIC2011.asp

The Center for Transportation Excellence, a non-partisan policy research center created to serve the needs of communities and transportation organizations nationwide. The purpose of the center and its website is to provide research materials, strategies and other forms of support on the benefits of public transportation.

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KC City Council Candidates Transit Forum

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 14, 2011


Transit Action Network (TAN) is providing this transit forum for KC Council Candidates to assist voters in making informed decisions regarding candidates’ positions on transit matters for the City of Kansas City. We will not endorse any candidate through our website or other communication efforts.

We believe these questions will need to be addressed during the next council term, although they deal with transit issues that have both short-term and long-term time horizons.

We greatly appreciate the effort and thoughtful answers of the candidates who replied.  All candidates were contacted.

Click here for city council candidates’ responses.  KC City Council Transit Forum 3/14/2011

TAN looks forward to working with the successful candidates on transit issues.

Public Comment: TAN is serious about getting improved and expanded transit in the Kansas City Region.  We welcome diverse views on transit that are presented in a civil manner. This is a moderated blog-site and only transit-related comments or questions will be posted.

Dick Davis-1st District

Aaron Benefield-2nd District

Ed Ford-2nd district At Large

Ed Ford-2nd District At Large

Melba Curls 3rd District At Large

Jan Marcason-4th District

Michael Brooks-5th District

Ken Bacchus-5th District

Cindy Circo 5th District At Large

John Sharp-6th District

Scott Taylor-6th District At Large

Tracy Ward-6th District At Large

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Mayoral Candidates on Transit and Upcoming City Council Transit Forum

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 11, 2011


Transit Action Network (TAN) is re-posting the mayoral transit forum for candidates Mike Burke and Sly James to assist voters in making informed decisions regarding candidates’ positions on transit matters for the City of Kansas City and its surrounding Metro area. We will not endorse any candidate through our website or other communication efforts.

Sly James

Mike Burke

We greatly appreciate the effort and thoughtful answers of these candidates.

We believe these questions will need to be addressed during the next mayoral term, although they deal with transit issues that have both short-term and long-term time horizons.

Early next week we will post our transit forum for City Council candidates. They have all been contacted and asked to respond to four transit questions.

Click here for mayoral candidates responses.   Sly James and Mike Burke on Transit

Public Comment: TAN is serious about getting improved and expanded transit in the Kansas City Region.  We welcome diverse views on transit that are presented in a civil manner. This is a moderated blog-site and only transit-related comments or questions will be posted.

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KCATA Board Of Commissioners Meeting 2/23/11

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 7, 2011


1. Congratulations to Robbie Makinen for being elected the new KCATA Chairman of the Board of Commissioners. Mr Makinen is Economic Development Coordinator for Jackson County and the Jackson County representative on the Board.

2.. The Board of Commissioners approved the KCATA FY 2012 federal appropriations funding request of $6 million in federal transit capital funds for new buses.

The primary categories from which federal funds are derived are formula funds and discretionary funds.  Congress and the President have announced that there will be no discretionary funds or “earmarks” for FY 2012.  KCATA has traditionally been very successful in attaining discretionary funds for bus replacement and other critical capital needs. While Congress has committed to eliminating earmarks in 2012, KCATA’s Congressional delegation has requested that KCATA’s priorities for capital funding for fiscal year 2012 be submitted to them, nevertheless.

KCATA staff met with Senator Blunt’s staff. They requested that KCATA submit normal earmark request forms to help the Senator prioritize capital needs around the State.  Sustaining basic services and maintaining the existing fleet are the highest priorities for 2012.  With more than 30 buses in need of replacement, KCATA has an ongoing need to replace buses that have exceeded their useful life.

3. The Board of Commissioners approved the revised strategic priorities. Two documents were presented.

 

KCATA Strategic Priorities 2011

The first document identified the updated Strategic Priorities and Mission and Vision Statements, as well as priority areas identified by senior staff.  The document intends to capture the overall strategic direction for the Authority.  Although it can be updated periodically, the vision and overall priorities are intended to remain relatively stable over time.

The second document, KCATA 2011 Blueprint – Feb 23, 2011, identified a series of actions that support the priorities.  Mark Huffer pointed out that many of these action items will carry over into subsequent years, others are part of daily operations, and others will be completed in 2011. This document should be updated on an annual basis, as existing projects get completed and new ones are identified.

Three items of particular interest on the blueprint were discussed.

a. Under Technology -The 5 year strategic plan for technology development. The new Smart Card technology available for fare boxes provides more flexibility and information. Also, the new generation of riders has higher expectations for KCATA to provide real-time information though mobile devices.

b. Under Capital Improvements-KCATA needs to revise the Fleet Replacement Plan due to the possibility of losing funding.

c. Under Environmental Responsibility-The need to develop a board policy toward alternative fuels was discussed. There is concern about compressed natural gas (CNG) because of its volatility. The current KCATA facilities would not be suitable for CNG. Also 2011 diesel emissions are comparable to CNG emissions. Cost, danger, return on investment and volatility all need to be considered.

4. Mell Henderson of MARC and Mark Swope of Olsson Associates briefed the board on the current Smart Moves update, planned activities and expected outcomes. Smart Moves is the long-term regional vision for improving and expanding transit in the metropolitan area. MARC is leading an update focused on strategies for implementing the transit improvements envisioned in Smart Moves. This current work will build upon previous regional transit planning work. Public engagement is expected by May.   Regional Transit Implementation Plan Phase III Presentation 2/23/2011

5 Bill Brown, federal lobbyist for the Missouri Public Transit Association, attended the meeting to provide the Board with his perspective on the current Washington landscape and what the public transit industry should expect and be prepared for in 2012 and beyond.

The Presidents proposed 2012 budget calls for a significant increase in funding for public transit, high-speed rail, and Amtrak.  The Administration also proposes fundamental changes to the transit funding, as well as several new programs.  Conversely, several House committees are proposing drastic budget cuts for many domestic programs, including transit in 2012.

In the meantime, the 2011 federal budget has not been approved.  The transportation authorization bill expired in 2009 and there are no signs that a new bill is imminent. The Administration and Congress say there will be no earmarks this year – a source of funding that has been very important to KCATA.  All these considerations lead to great uncertainty in regards to planning and funding new transit projects.

Bill was adamant, in his opinion, that funding for high-speed rail will be cut.

6. UMKC students voted in favor of a new activity fee. Students will receive a KCATA bus pass for $14/term ($28/year). This pass goes into effect Fall 2011. It will generate over $186,000 per year for KCATA and will be reviewed in one year.

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