Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

Archive for March, 2012

Urgent Action! Convince Congress to Pass a Transportation Bill This Week

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 26, 2012


Ask your Representative to pass H.R. 14. This bill in the U.S. House of Representatives is an identical version of the bi-partisan transportation bill passed in the Senate last week by 74-22. (S. 1813, the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (MAP-21)).

Missouri:

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (202) 225-4535

Rep. Sam Graves (202) 225-7041

Rep. Vicki Hartzler (202) 225-2876

Kansas: 

Rep. Kevin Yoder (202) 225-2865

 The Senate transportation bill includes

  • Funding for public transit
  • Safe Routes to School
  • Transportation Enhancements like bike paths and accessible sidewalks at transit stops
  • Short term flexible transit operating assistance when a crisis, like a recession, causes transit systems to cut service, increase fares, and lay off workers.

The Senate version also rejected privatization of transit systems.

Please pass H.R. 14.

The previous transportation bill expired in 2009 and we have had eight extensions already. The current extension expires March 31.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica introduced a ninth extension that would expire June 30, 2012.

There is no reason to believe another extension will produce a better result – or any result. If they won’t compromise now, there is no evidence that they would compromise to get a final bill three months from now.

Instead of another extension, bringing H.R. 14 up for debate is the best chance we have this election year to make Congress do its job.

The Senate bill is the first bill to pass either branch of Congress since the old bill expired. The Senate two-year bill is much shorter than a typical transportation bill.

The original House version of a transportation bill, H.R. 7, which TAN objected to a few weeks ago, is stalled in the House.  (Don’t Let Congress Destroy Public Transit! Please call your Congressman Now!) Their original partisan bill caused a huge public outcry, including from TAN Advocates. Speaker of the House Boehner can’t get the Republicans to agree to their own bill. Many Representatives understand you can’t stop funding transit. Others in the Republican House are upset that the House bill was still too big, even without funding transit. Their position would have a devastating impact on roads and bridges, too.

If the House can’t agree on H.R. 14, then we will have another extension and we will be back to the drawing board in a couple of months.

Please ask your Representative to pass H.R.14.

More background

Transportation for America urges House members to end delay and bring a stronger, bipartisan package to the floor for debate

House to Consider Three-Month Surface Transportation Extension Next Week (APTA)

 

 

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Posted in Action, National Transit Issues | Leave a Comment »

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Prasies KC Use Of TIGER Grant

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 25, 2012


In his blog , FastLane, Ray LaHood , the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, praises Kansas City on its use of the $50 million DOT TIGER grant received to improve the Green Impact Zone. 

TIGER transforming Kansas City’s Green Impact Zone

He also raves about the Mid-America Regional Council’s TIGER website, which tracks the money being spent and provides videos showing the progress of individual sub-projects.

Posted in Local Transit Issues, National Transit Issues | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Great Bargain for JCT Commuters and A Step Forward for Seamless Transit

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 15, 2012


Two significant transit decisions are about to be implemented.

1.  Johnson County Transit (JCT) has decided to sell its monthly pass through its website.  The reported price is $67 (plus a small service fee), and sales begin in April for a May 1, 2012 start date. The JO Store

The JO will continue to sell its monthly pass to employers for re-sale to their employees.  Employers will continue to pay $63 per pass, and they generally discount the pass to their employees.

Availability of the monthly pass will be a significant cost saving for Johnson County commuters whose employers don’t sell passes.  Such commuters currently have to pay cash fares ($2.00 each way, or $88 for a 22-workday month), or use 10-ride passes ($18.00 for 10 rides, or $79.20 for a 22-workday month).

 2.  Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) will accept the JCT monthly pass on all regular Metro buses (excluding premium-priced commuter routes). KCATA and JCT will allocate revenue from the JCT pass between themselves based on usage.  JCT monthly passes will be accepted on Metro buses beginning May 1, 2012.

Anyone can purchase the JCT monthly pass online to use on either system.

TAN advocates have worked for Seamless Transit for many years, and this development is clearly a step in the right direction.

The advantage to Johnson County residents is obvious: they can use Metro buses during the day for lunch trips or errands, or to get closer to home (e.g. to the Plaza or Waldo) before calling a family member, a friend, or a cab when they work late.  What’s more, Johnson County riders can drive to a Missouri location (such as Waldo) and use Metro buses to reach Missouri attractions on weekends.  (A free ride on a Metro bus compares favorably with a $30 parking fee for a Sprint Arena event.)

Missouri and Wyandotte County residents who also need to use The JO will have the option of purchasing the JCT monthly pass.  These riders will need to evaluate whether their savings will justify the higher up-front cost of the JCT monthly pass.  Riders who use transit only for commuting now pay $3.50 per day in cash fares ($1.50 going to work, $2.00 to return), or $77 per 22-workday month.  A rider who needs to be able to use Metro buses all week as well as commute to Johnson County currently pays $94 for a 22-workday month ($50 Metro pass plus $44 in cash fares on The JO).

Although JCT and KCATA have accepted each other’s transfers for several years, neither system has accepted the monthly bus pass of the other system until now.  The JCT monthly pass will be accepted on Metro buses but the Metro $50 monthly pass will not be accepted on JCT buses, mainly due to the large price difference. (Metro pass users may not know that they can ask for “a transfer to The JO” when they board.  KCATA normally does not issue transfers to its monthly pass users.)

The JCT monthly pass sale through their website and KCATA acceptance of the JCT monthly pass are positive steps toward Seamless Transit. Well over 500 JCT monthly pass holders will get automatic access to the extensive (7 days a week, 20 hours per day, service to five counties) Metro system at no additional cost.

Due to the large fare differential between the two systems and limited service provided by JCT, it will be interesting to track the sales numbers for the JCT monthly pass to see:

  • how many passes are sold to riders outside of Johnson County
  • what percentage of morning commuters from Kansas City to Johnson County use the JCT monthly pass (this direction is considered a reverse commute).

Transit Action Network welcomes a victory for Seamless Transit and will work to make sure that:

  • Metro riders are aware of their new option for access to The JO
  • JO riders make good use of their new access to the Metro system beginning May 1.

Posted in Local Transit Issues, Regional Transit Issue, Seamless Transit | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

TAN Happy Hour with TOP (Transit Oriented People)

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 6, 2012


Transit Action Network met at McCoy’s in Westport for Happy Hour on February 10. Along with great conversation, food and drink, we had a group discussion covering the latest in transit. Transit Oriented People included TAN advocates, the KCATA Chairman of the Board of Commissioners – Robbie Makinen, Kansas City Councilman Jim Glover, members of KCATA, The Whole Person, Sierra Club, and family and friends. Hope you can join us next time.

Posted in Events | Leave a Comment »

Urgent Action Alert! Downtown Streetcar Needs Letters of Support

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 1, 2012


Kansas City, MO is applying for Federal dollars to help pay the construction costs for the proposed Downtown Streetcar from the River Market to Crown Center.

The Federal Tiger Grant process is competitive and applications with significant local support have a greater chance of success.  Transit Action Network, along with numerous other organizations, already supplied a letter of support to the project team. Now they are asking individuals to do the same.

Vireo (formerly Patti Banks Associates) provided  a form letter for individuals. Letter of Support with Customizeable Language_TAN Feel free to personalize the letter.  Additional information: TIGER Grant Handout for KC Downtown Streetcar. The February 27 deadline on the handout was for organizations. Individuals need to send their letters ASAP. Applications close mid-March.

Hardcopies are requested since original signatures are preferred.

Send to:

Julie Lorenz
Burns & McDonnell
9400 Ward Parkway
Kansas City, Missouri, 64114

Posted in Action, Local Transit Issues, Rail | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »