TIGER Grant Reduces Need To Take Money From The Buses
Posted by Transit Action Network on September 15, 2013
Transit Action Network is very excited about the city receiving the Federal $20 million TIGER grant. These grants are very competitive and there are a lot more applications than there is money to distribute.
We congratulate Kansas City on its successful application. As the US Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, told the Kansas City Star when he was in Kansas City on September 6 to announce the grant, “The community has its act together in a big way,” he said. “Coming together to put an 80 percent match on the table — we know what the overall vision for Kansas City is.”
You may wonder why the city only had 80% of the money. The 20% streetcar-funding shortfall that Foxx referred to happened when Kansas City decided to reduce the top rates for the TDD (Transportation Development District) property tax prior to the streetcar election. In the original plan, the top property tax rates, combined with the sales tax, would have fully funded the streetcar from revenue collected within the TDD. In order to close the funding gap the city created, the city plans to take $2 million a year from the revenue generated by the city-wide 1/2 cent Transportation Sales Tax. This sales tax is used to pay for bus service. Since the federal government is now filling that funding gap through the TIGER grant, the city shouldn’t need to tap the half-cent sales tax. Applying that yearly $2 million toward bus service would come close to paying for a new MAX line on Prospect, or on another urban corridor such as Independence Avenue or North Oak Trafficway.