Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

Archive for the ‘Action’ Category

Related to “Action” items by TAN

KCATA Comment Period on July Route Changes Closes April 23

Posted by Transit Action Network on April 20, 2012


KCATA recently began implementing service changes based on the Comprehensive Service Analysis completed in 2011. KCATA received over 700 comments on proposed route changes for 55 routes, and 24 route changes were modified based on public input.

Changes have been implemented on a few routes, and changes on 21 additional routes will take effect in July.  Additional changes are scheduled for October and next January. See the Implementation Schedule.

Review the Preliminary Schedules.

KCATA asks customers to submit comments or questions on the preliminary schedules no later than April 23, using any of the following methods:

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Posted in Action, Local Transit Issues | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Time for Downtown Residents to Get Serious about a Streetcar

Posted by Transit Action Network on April 10, 2012


Downtown is about to enter the next phase of building a streetcar line from River Market to Crown Center.

The line will be 2.2 miles long and is estimated to cost $101 million. The City has applied for a $25 million grant from the Federal Government to help fund the project.  The money will be hard to get because the competition for federal dollars is fierce. Over 700 applications amounting to $10.5 billion dollars in requests were made for the $500 million dollars available. Local support and a local funding mechanism make a big difference to the federal process. Downtown property owners and retail customers will be asked to pay the difference between the project cost and the federal contribution through the formation of a Transportation Development District. Financing the streetcar is a huge hurdle for Kansas City citizens and particularly downtown property owners to overcome.

Now is the time for local action.

1. Take part in the public hearing April 17. The judge will hear testimony for and against the creation of the Transportation Development District (TDD). You don’t have to speak at the hearing, but show up for support and to make a big impression. TAN intends to speak in favor of the streetcar project and the formation of the TDD. Businesses and property owners can object to the formation of the TDD if they feel the structure is unfair.  After this hearing it is up to the judge and the voters.

Streetcar TDD Public Hearing

Tuesday, April 17, 2012 @ 1:30pm

Jackson County Courthouse, 12thand Oak, Kansas City MO

TDD Map - Click To Enlarge

2.  Make sure you are registered to vote, if you live in the Transportation Development District (TDD).  If you aren’t registered – GET REGISTERED!

ONLY REGISTERED VOTERS WILL HAVE A SAY IN WHETHER OR NOT THE TRANSPORTATION DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT IS FORMED AND WHETHER THE STREETCAR LINE IS BUILT.

3.    Follow Streetcar Neighbors on Facebook. Streetcar Neighbors is a group of downtowners dedicated to making the streetcar happen.

If downtown voters create the TDD then there will be an additional election later in the summer to create the necessary funding. The city is actively trying to find alternative funding sources to cover the costs of building and operating the streetcar.

Downtown Streetcar timeline – Downtowners need to register to vote

April 17 – TDD public hearing – BE THERE!

April 18 – TDD judicial hearing

June 5 TDD election (Transportation Development District only)

Summer 2012 – Federal grant winners announced

Fall 2012 – TDD revenue election (Transportation Development District only)

2013-2014- Construction

April 2015 – Operations begins

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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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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

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Don’t Let Congress Destroy Public Transit! Please call your Congressman Now!

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 12, 2012


H.R. 7, the “American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act,” would all but destroy public transit.  Debate starts in the House Monday, February 13.  Please call your Representative to oppose this bill unless significant changes are made.

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 proposed new federal transportation bill currently in the House of Representatives, H.R. 7, is a disaster for public transit.

  1. It de-funds public transit by removing it from the Highway Trust Fund, leaving public transit without the dedicated funding source it has had since the Reagan administration. This bill would force public transit to compete for money from General Revenue.
  2. Funding for bike and pedestrian safety are eliminated. Bicycle and pedestrian deaths make up 14% of all traffic fatalities.
  3. The bill gives transit providers incentives to begin privatizing public transit. Public goods like transit are not well served by privatization. England’s experience with privatization of transit was a failure.

H.R. 7 would dash any hope the Kansas City region has of upgrading its transit system in the future. Even maintaining the transit service we have today would be difficult because money for new buses, maintenance, and infrastructure needs would be harder to get.

Call your member of Congress now. You will be able to leave your concerns with either a staff person or a voicemail.

If you speak with a staff person, ask them how the Representative plans to vote.

a.   If they are in favor of H.R. 7, ask them to please reconsider or make the changes to the bill listed below.

b.   If they are against it, ask them to help change H.R. 7 or try to defeat it.

Ask them to oppose H.R. 7 unless these changes are made:

  1. Fully restore dedicated public transit funding to the Highway Trust Fund (most important)
  2. Include money for bike and pedestrian safety
  3. Eliminate proposed incentives for privatization

Tell them that public transit is critical for getting people to jobs, and also to job training.

Tell them that a recent study by the Economic Development Research Group, Inc., reported that investing $1 billion in public transit created 41,000 jobs, compared to 24,000 for capital and maintenance.

 Missouri:

Rep. Cleaver (202) 225-4535

Rep. Graves (202) 225-7041  

Rep. Hartzler (202) 225-2876

Kansans: 

Rep. Yoder (202) 225-2865

Get Contact Forms to email your representative.

You can also call the Capital Switchboard 220-224-3121 and ask to be connected to representatives.

Even if all of these issues are submitted as amendments to the bill, the House has to be convinced to accept them. A vote is expected this week.

The Senate’s version of a new transportation bill is very reasonable, so please focus on the House version.

For additional information:

Read the legislative briefing from David Warm, Executive Director of MARC, that was sent to our Congressional delegation.

Read DC.StreetsBlog: Why the House Transportation Bill Hits Bus Riders Especially Hard

The future of Public Transit is at risk. Please help spread the word!

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Action Alert!!! House GOP Moves to Eliminate Dedicated Transit Funding

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 2, 2012


Call your member of Congress immediately. The House Ways and Means Committee is attempting to eliminate gas tax revenue from funding transit and instead give all the money to roads. Transit gets about 20% of the fuel tax receipts. Today’s announcement provides only one day of warning before the bill is marked up starting Friday, February 3rd at 9 am.

H.R. 3864, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Financing Act of 2012, threatens to eliminate three decades of successful investments in public transit by ending the guarantee for dedicated funding for public transportation that has been in place since Ronald Reagan. This money is essential to help states and local communities advance critical transit projects.  The House GOP wants any funding for public  transit to come from general revenue therefore making transit fight for every dollar against all the other government expenditures.

Read APTA.com  House Ways and Means Committee Would Eliminate Historical Funding Source 

Read DC.StreetsBlog   House GOP Moves to Decimate Dedicated Transit Funding

Call your member of Congress now:

Missourians: Rep. Cleaver (202) 225-4535 or Rep. Graves (202) 225-7041

Kansans:  Rep. Yoder (202) 225-2865

    • Tell them that you are aware that H.R. 3864 proposes to terminate all dedicated federal funding for public transit.
    • Tell them that you support retaining funding for public transit at the full 2.86 cents per gallon of the federal gas tax.
    • Ask them to do what they can to make sure that H.R. 3864 maintains full funding for public transit.

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Public Budget Hearings – Thank KC City Council for Restoring Funding to Public Transit

Posted by Transit Action Network on January 30, 2012


Kansas City has scheduled their annual public meetings on the budget. If you attend and testify at one of these meetings, consider thanking the Council for passing Ordinance 100951 to restore funding to public transit. This Ordinance, which was passed in December 2010, gives KCATA at least 95% of the revenue from the ½ cent Transportation Sales Tax (after TIF and City administration fees) . The ordinance has a phase in period. The city has to reach the 95% mark by May 1, 2014. When Transit Action Network started working on the ordinance, the KCATA was only going to receive $19.9 million from this fund. In the upcoming budget being discussed for 2012-2013, the city has budgeted $23.5 million for KCATA or 82% of the available money. Reaching the 95% mark will result in millions of additional dollars for public transit. TAN wants to thank everyone who joined forces with us to help get the ordinance passed. Please, remember to thank the Council.

The City of Kansas City, Missouri City Council Public Budget Hearings 2012 will be held on the following dates:

Saturday, February 4th – 4th District
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12 noon
Location: KCMO Health Department, 2400 Troost Ave, KCMO 64108
(park and enter on north side of building)

Saturday, February 11th – 5th District
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12 noon
Location: Southeast Community Center, 4201 East 63rd Street, KCMO 64130

Saturday, February 18th – 3rd District
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12 noon
Location: Robert J. Mohart Multipurpose FOCUS Center, 3200 Wayne Ave, KCMO 64109

Wednesday, February 22nd – 2nd District
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Location: Park Hill Education Center, 7703 N.W. Barry Road, KCMO 64153

Saturday, February 25th – 1st District
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12 noon
Location: Shoal Creek Police Academy, 6801 NE Pleasant Valley Road, KCMO, 64119

Wednesday, February 29th – 6th District
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Hillcrest Community Center, 10401 Hillcrest Rd, KCMO 64134

For more information, please contact:
Susan Borge
Legislative Aide to Councilwoman Jan Marcason
4th District
(please note new phone#/email)
816 513-6517
susan.borge@kcmo.org

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Help Protect the Transit Budget in Johnson County

Posted by Transit Action Network on January 27, 2012


TheJO

Johnson County Transit has already had several years of budget cuts.  This year it resulted in cutting service and changing routes. In the next two budgets they could lose an additional $700,000 or more in total, which would have a significant impact on riders and the level of transit service.

Johnson County is having focus groups to gain information from residents about how they would balance the budget. If you are a resident please attend the focus group in your district to voice your budget priorities. You must register to be included.

More information at Johnson County Residents to Voice Budget Priorities

To RSVP, contact Jennifer Wilding at jenwilding@consensuskc.org or 816.531.5078. With so few spaces available, they are sure to go quickly so please get in touch soon.

If you don’t get on a focus group, please contact your commissioner and tell him how important it is to improve and expand transit service in Johnson County, and ask them not to do additional budget cuts. Transit is a basic infrastructure service and in an urban setting delivering people to jobs is like delivering gas, water and electricity.  Please help secure transit funding.

Focus group dates

The meetings will run from 6 to 8 p.m. at a central site in each district.

Dates include:

District 1: Wednesday, February 15 (Commissioner Ed Peterson)

 District 2: Thursday, February 9 (Commissioner Jim Allen)

 District 3: Thursday, March 1 (Commissioner David Lindstrom)

 District 4: Monday, February 13 (Commissioner Jason Osterhaus)

 District 5: Monday, March 12 (Commissioner Michael Ashcraft)

 District 6: Wednesday, February 8 (Commissioner Calvin Hayden)

Posted in Action, Events, Local Transit Issues | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Comment on Jackson County Commuter Corridors Alternatives Analysis and Watch Video of the Open House

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 2, 2011


The second open house for the Jackson County Commuter Corridors Alternatives Analysis was held this week. The meetings in Lee’s Summit, Blue Springs and Kansas City, consisted of displays explaining the project, process and alternatives. Project consultants answered questions and explained the project. On Wednesday Nov 29th at the Gamber Center,  a welcome from Lee’s Summit Mayor Rhoads was followed by presentations from Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders and Project Leader Shawn Dikes of Parsons Brinckerhoff.

The project team is moving from the first stage, Tier One, to the more quantitative stage, Tier Two. Some of the original alternatives have been eliminated and two new alternatives have been added that include additional rail options.

The purpose of the open house is to gather public input. Read the open house handout explaining the alternatives that are advancing to Tier Two JCCCAA-Open-House-Handout-Nov2011, then view the display boards from the meeting for more information. JCCCAA-Open-House-Display-Boards-Nov2011

After viewing the project materials please go to the project website and make your comments.

There was an excellent turnout for the main meeting. Watch portions of the presentations on TAN’s first video.

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Bicycling: Your New Bus Transfer

Posted by Transit Action Network on November 18, 2011


Let me start by getting one thing out of the way: I am a bike commuter.

Bike Share KC Demo

My morning bike commute is one of the best parts of my day. I also run errands by bike, I explore my city by bike and sometimes haul heavy objects on a bike trailer. And I do these things for, I am sure, many of the same reasons you use public transit: I save money, help the environment and both options offer less stressful alternatives to driving.

But here is another bit of information: I also use transit on a weekly basis and I am a monthly KCATA pass holder.

I buy a pass because there are mornings when I wake up and just don’t feel like riding into the office. Or alternatively, the hill at the end of the day to get back home can sometimes be just too daunting to tackle. Sometimes it’s just nice to let someone else do the driving for a change. But more often than not, I am just using the bike for the first and last mile of my transit trip.

Likewise, I am sure you might be in the same boat on occasion. Transfers take too long or headways just don’t match your schedule. And working your grocery store trips around the bus schedule can be a bit of an ordeal. Perhaps you drive for most of your trips because the nearest bus route is out of walking distance.

Having an alternative sure comes in handy sometimes.

So, I invite you to consider making a minor change in your lifestyle by turning your bike into your new transfer. And BikeWalkKC would like to make this easier for you by offering to be your community partner and help you along your journey (literally). Bicycling in a big city may be a little intimidating for some, but I promise it is an activity that anyone can truly enjoy. It just takes a little confidence.

BikeWalkKC is launching a brand new lineup of educational experiences called KC FeetFirst for area residents who want to feel a little more comfortable when taking to the streets. Every month, there’s a recurring schedule of highly informative, interactive and lively workshops.

The first Friday of the month you can attend Art of the Bike or gain legitimate city bicycling skills on the second Saturday in Confident City Cycling. Talk shop and get hands-on bike maintenance advice on the third Thursday of the month at Maintain Your Ride; each month brings a new learning topic. The second Tuesday of the month will be a clinic on a particular pedestrian or bicycle topic. December’s installment is called Dress Your Bike for Winter.

All of the workshops and clinics are free (BikeWalkKC suggests you make a small donation) and open to the public. For more information or to register, click here.

And while Kansas City may not be as bike friendly as Portland, Oregon, we do have bike racks on 100% of our bus fleet. This is something few major cities can say. It really enables you to cover the first and last mile of your trip without waiting. It also greatly increases number of bus route options for your journey.

Now, we aren’t asking you to stop taking the bus. We just want to help you add another transportation alternative to what you already have or help make transit a more viable option.

Not to mention, you’ll get to feel the wind in your face while getting some exercise and most importantly… having fun!

Sign up today: www.BikeWalkKC.org/education    While you are thinking about bicycling, check out the website of our proposed Public Bike Share. Think of it like another layer of public transportation where the stop is a docking station and the bus is a bike.

Tell us where YOU would like to see stations with our Suggest a Station feature: www.bikesharekc.com.

Bike Share KC is expected to launch by July 2012.

Guest blogger: Eric Bunch is Director of Education, BikeWalkKC. He gave a presentation about the proposed Public Bike Share program at the November TAN meeting.

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KCATA Invites Comments on Proposed 2012 Route Changes

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 13, 2011


KCATA is proposing changes to transit service in Kansas City, Mo. The goal, according to the Metro, is to provide the most efficient service while holding the line on costs and not increasing the their budget.

Route changes for more than 50 routes serving Kansas City, Mo. have been released for public review and comment.  Phased implementation will begin as early as April, 2012.

These proposals are a result of a Comprehensive Service Analysis, or CSA, performed by transit consulting firm Nelson Nygaard of Boston.

We encourage you to review the proposed changes.

There are several ways to comment:

  • Online Form: www.kcata.org/metro2012
  • Mail: KCATA, Planning Dept., 1200 E. 18th St., Kansas City, MO 64108
  • Phone: 816-346-0300 (leave comment on prerecorded line)
  • Email: metro2012@kcata.org
  • Public Meetings: To be scheduled this fall. Meetings will be announced on the KCATA website, in passenger bulletins and on TAN’s website.

Once comments are received, schedules will be designed to improve reliability, provide more direct service and better match demand.  “One of the goals of the CSA is to make riding transit more attractive by designing service that is more intuitive and rider-friendly,” says a KCATA news release.

For further perspective, view a presentation about the proposed changes made to the KCATA Board of Commissioners in August.  It gives an overview of the CSA process.

Presentation of Proposed Route Changes 2012

TAN is reviewing the proposed changes and will be submitting comments.

Many of the changes look really good to us.  Here are some of our initial impressions:

  • Providing service to KCI between 5:30 am and 11:00 pm, seven days a week, will be a great improvement.  Seven-day service to the airport is of enormous symbolic importance.
  • We didn’t see indication that Main Street MAX would be straightened through Downtown, or that Plaza-only trips would be extended to 51st Street in order to better serve UMKC and the Plaza Library.
  • Elimination of Route 57 means there will be no local stops on Main between the Plaza and Downtown.  That might be a problem.
  • Service changes proposed for the area west of Main Street appear complicated and deserve careful review.
  • Service changes proposed for the Northland are, likewise, complicated and deserve careful review.
  • It’s a small thing, but we especially like the emphasis on “clockface headways.”  This means buses would be scheduled to come past each stop at regular intervals — every 10, 15, 20, 30, or 60 minutes.  Thus, for example, you’d be able to count on a bus at 17 and 47 minutes past the hour.  (Night service at the 10th and Main Transit Center already works this way — after 6:30 pm, buses on 10 or more routes depart shortly after 10 and 40 minutes past the hour.)

One last very important point:  Proposed route changes may make transit a little less convenient for some people, but it’s also likely that the change will make transit a more viable option for even more people.  That’s what’s really important.

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

EPA in the Lenexa Corporate Wilderness-update

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 9, 2011


As we reported in our recent article GSA and EPA Make a Bad Move, the current owner of the EPA building in Kansas City, Kansas, Urban America, protested the GSA bid process to the Government Accountability Office Bid Protest Forum. The GAO has published the results of that case. Urban America filed the case under the address name of 901 North 5th Street, LLC. To no ones surprise Urban America lost and the EPA will be moving to Lenexa.

We feel so sorry for the EPA employees. This location site is awful, even if you drive. It is in the middle of nowhere in the far western suburbs of the region. The building is so far back from the street that you can barely see it at the end of the huge parking lot. They certainly aren’t going to walk to lunch or take transit to work. Walking down these busy streets would be dangerous since so many of them don’t have sidewalks.  These pictures were taken about half way into the parking lot.

Here is the short version of the result. The decision was made in two parts, both in favor of the GSA.

DIGEST

 1.  Protest that agency’s evaluation and selection decision were flawed is denied where the record shows that both the evaluation and the resulting selection decision were reasonable and consistent with the solicitation’s evaluation factors.

 2.  Protest that agency failed to comply with terms of Executive Order 12072 is dismissed; our Office does not normally review allegations of an agency’s failure to comply with executive branch policies.

See the complete GAO decisions. GAO Decision 901_NORTH_FIFTH_STREET__LLC vs GSA

In the report the GAO explains that Executive Order 12072 prescribes policies and directives regarding the planning, acquisition, utilization and management of federal facilities. Since it is not mentioned in the solicitation, GAO would not rule on it.

In law there are deadlines for bringing cases or objecting. All of the complaints about what was or was not in the solicitation should have been made before the submission deadline, but no one was paying attention. No one involved raised the red flag, challenged the selection area in the solicitation, questioned that multiple Presidential Executive Orders  were ignored, or complained that clearly defined governmental goals and principles were ignored before the bids were completed.

Hopefully two good things come out of this debacle.

1. Cities and companies take a proactive position to make sure government solicitations are in line with the current understanding of the requirements at the beginning of the process. GSA could have been challenged at that point and the solicitation requirements may have been changed.

2 These government offices are writing the siting recommendations that will incorporate the larger government sustainability goals that were ignored in this solicitation. They have already had two drafts.

U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. General Services Administration, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

They need to hurry up and implement the Recommendations for Siting Federal Facilities so GSA stops undermining many of the sustainability goals of the government.

Contact the EPA and GSA and tell them both to implement the “Recommendations for Sustainable Siting of Federal Facilities”.

 GSA

Washington D.C.- Administrator of the General Services Administration,

Martha N. Johnson (202) 501-0800  martha.johnson@gsa.gov

Two special email addresses have been established to collect comments about this move

Washington D.C. office kc-epa@gsa.gov

Local office kansasepa@gsa.gov

EPA 

Washington D.C.- Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency

Lisa P. Jackson jackson.lisap@epa.gov

Local EPA Office Phone: (913) 551-7003

Region 7 EPA REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR

Karl Brooks x7303  Brooks.Karl@epa.gov

Posted in Action, Local Transit Issues, National Transit Issues, Regional Transit Issue | 3 Comments »

GSA and EPA Make A Bad Move

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 16, 2011


As transit advocates the hypocrisy of the local General Services Administration (GSA) and local Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to move the Region 7 EPA offices from downtown Kansas City, Kansas to a building in Lenexa, Kansas is almost unbearable.

The EPA facility is moving from a transit rich location in a city center in the middle of the region to an extreme western suburb with a deplorable level of transit service.

Keep in mind that the decisions around this move were made locally and deliberately. This move is not the decision of some bureaucrat in Washington, D.C. who doesn’t know the difference between Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO. The GSA office is local. They knew that leaving the current EPA facility meant they would leave downtown Kansas City, Kansas since there isn’t another qualified building for the EPA needs in that vicinity.  Deciding to stay in Kansas meant they would move to the suburbs. Although the GSA Solicitation For Offers has a “city center neighborhood” location option, this was a false choice since they eliminated that possibility by not allowing Missouri to compete. They had just failed after three years to negotiate a new lease with the only qualifying building in a city center in Kansas. Unless the bid submission for the current EPA building changed drastically from earlier negotiations, they were on their way to the suburbs.

Even if the area is stuck with this result we should complain to the heads of the GSA and EPA and tell them to get their internal house in order and instruct their employees to abide by government goals, priorities and Presidential Executive Orders. Federal facilities are supposed to be located in sustainable locations in sustainable communities. According to a government website sustainable communities are places that have a variety of housing and transportation choices with destinations close to home.

The local GSA office made the worst location decision possible.

 When the GSA couldn’t find enough qualified bidders close to the Science and Technology lab in KCK they extended the search area from the lab and limited the search to Kansas. They had to go out 20 miles to even include this Lenexa building. Google transit calculates a 20-21 mile drive to this building from the science lab.  This was the wrong decision.

It is common knowledge in this region that the EPA used to be located in Missouri. It was moved from Missouri to downtown Kansas City, Kansas apparently due to congressional pressure to help revitalize downtown KCK. (Timeline)

The GSA says they had congressional approval to extend the search distance and stay in Kansas, However, the local GSA made this determination and then submitted it to Congress for approval and received this reply, “The GSA Contracting Officer was directed to consider the expansion approved if Congress had not responded by Dec. 16, 2009. No inquiry from Congress was received.” EPA Regional Office Background April 20, 2011. So they got permission for this search area by default.

TAN believes if the rationale for being in KCK is abandoned then the reason to limit the search to Kansas is void and Missouri should have been included in the central business district search. In this case, there may not have been a need to extend the distance out to the extreme western suburbs of the region.

The federal government agrees with this position. Presidential Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership In Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance clearly states federal facilities should “Operate high performance sustainable buildings in sustainable locations” and ensure “that planning for new Federal facilities or new leases includes consideration of sites that are pedestrian friendly, near existing employment centers, and accessible to public transit, and emphasizes existing central cities …”

Executive Order 13514 had been in place for over a year when the GSA Solicitation For Offers (SFO) for a new location was released. Previous executive orders covering sustainability issues have been in effect since Nixon. What happened here doesn’t appear to abide by either the letter or the spirit of the Order by either the local GSA or the local EPA.

 Although the EPA didn’t make the decision to move, and they don’t contract to lease buildings for federal facilities, EPA isn’t blameless. The EPA Program For Requirements document and the GSA Solicitation ignored Executive Oder 13514 and ignored sustainable communities and sustainable locations. The EPA document even fails to list their Office for Sustainable Communities.  (EPA “Program Requirements” starts on page 83 of the Executed Lease Agreement)

GSA has added a page to its website regarding this move and its commitment to Executive Order 13514. It states “GSA has enthusiastically embraced that direction “, but cost was a bigger factor. This contains only a kernel of truth. Sustainable buildings have been enthusiastically embraced.  However the evidence shows there was no mention of sustainable communities or locations in either the GSA or EPA “Sustainability” section of their documents. They didn’t even pretend to abide by this part of the Presidential Executive Order. Of course lower bids can be obtained if major factors are left out of the solicitation.

Transit Situation

 The building at 11201 Renner Boulevard, Lenexa doesn’t qualify as a sustainable location.

 The transit situation at this location is awful. Either the buses don’t cover a long enough workday or they are too far away. If you are disabled and can’t drive or afford a $50,000 specially equipped van, you may not be able to get to work. Area ADA transit services either don’t go to Lenexa or are already overbooked. Add to this the fact that the buses are so slow hardly anyone uses them.

GSA says that less than 5% of the EPA employees use public transit. They aren’t counting all of the public transportation services. Another 75 people use the KCATA vanpool service, AdVANtage. Johnson County Transit (JCT) doesn’t have a vanpool program. So between the buses, vans and ADA public transportation services provided by KCATA and Unified Government Transit (UGT) that is closer to 100 of the 670 employees, or 15%. That is a significant number of employees who are going to lose their public transportation options.

Johnson County, where Lenexa is located, is basically a “transit desert” except for some commuter routes into downtown KCMO and the K-10 Connector to Lawrence, KS. The lack of transit service and the job sprawl in this part of the metro area are the main reasons that Kansas City rated 90 of 100 in the recent Brookings Institute report on job accessibility in the top 100 cities. JCT has no money to start new services, even though they are located in one of the richest counties in the US, but they may be able to change the routes to be closer to the facility.

Lenexa will benefit significantly if the EPA relocates there. TAN would like to see Lenexa step forward to support increased transit funding in Johnson County to improve the transit situation.

The cost issue

GSA cites the cost difference as the major reason for the choice of the new location. Of course everyone wants to save the government lots of money. However in this economic climate there is every reason to believe that a facility in Missouri, in the city center and much closer to the Science lab, could have made a comparable offer. We won’t know though since the GSA eliminated that possibility.

 Conclusion

We can’t turn back the clock and have GSA and Urban America, the owner of the current EPA building in Kansas City, Kansas, agree to a lease. Unfortunately the lease for the Lenexa building was signed April 4, 2011. (Executed Lease Agreement)

Urban America has filed an official bid protest with the General Accountability Office (GAO) Bid Protest Forum. By July 25, 2011 the GAO has to rule on whether federal procurement law was violated. The GAO bid protest process can only result in a recommendation. Since the contract has been signed even if Urban America wins the bid protest, the likely outcome would be a recommendation to pay Urban America for the cost of the bid process. (Timeline)

There is a terrible irony to moving the EPA and the Region 7 Sustainable Communities Office to this new location. How can government agencies move employees to a location that undermines what they stand for and the work they are committed to do?

TAN believes that the federal government must lead by example as stated in the Executive Order. The federal government should not add to the job-sprawl in Johnson County in direct conflict of a Presidential Executive Order, especially when there was such an obvious alternative by allowing Missouri facilities to compete.

Even if the GSA is not found guilty of breaking the law it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t complain to keep this from happening again.

Contact the EPA and GSA to let them know what you think about their actions and tell them both locally and in Washington, D.C. to implement the “Recommendations  for Sustainable Siting of Federal Facilities”.

 GSA

Washington D.C.- Administrator of the General Services Administration, Martha N. Johnson (202) 501-0800  martha.johnson@gsa.gov

Two special email addresses have been established to collect comments about this move: Washington D.C. office kc-epa@gsa.gov, Local office kansasepa@gsa.gov

EPA 

Washington D.C.- Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa P. Jackson jackson.lisap@epa.gov

Local EPA Office Phone: (913) 551-7003, Region 7 EPA Regional Administrator – Karl Brooks x7303  Brooks.Karl@epa.gov

Additional reading – Kaid Benefield’s blog http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/kbenfield/epa_region_7_we_were_just_kidd.html

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Please Comment on the Downtown Corridor (Streetcar) Alternatives Analysis

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 28, 2011


More than 100 people attended the first open house for the Downtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis. However if you missed the open house you can still see the presentation and the maps, and include your comments about the study.

See the first presentation  DCAA Overview-Presentation1

These are the various alignment alternatives being considered for the streetcar.

A.”Bi-directional” options – both tracks running north and south on a single street.

Grand Avenue

Walnut Street

Main Street

Baltimore Avenue

A reason to use single streets is expressed in the Nelson/Nygaard Comprehensive Service Analysis currently underway for the KCATA bus system.

“Routes should operate along the same alignment in both directions to make it easy for riders to know how to return to their location of trip origin. All routes should operate along the same alignment in both directions, except in cases where such operation is not possible due to one-way streets or turn restrictions.”

B. “Couplet” options – one direction runs on one street while the other direction runs on an adjacent street. All couplet options contain streets that are currently configured for two-way auto traffic (in whole or just sections).

Grand/Walnut Couplet

Main/Walnut Couplet

Main/Baltimore Couplet

A reason to use couplets, when not necessary due to street constraints, is for the potential of greater economic development. Many people see rail as an engine of economic development and if the route is split onto two streets then it may generate additional development.

South of 20th Street, all streetcars run on Main or Grand. Baltimore options divert to Main at 10th Street. The River Market is a large loop in all scenarios.

View the maps for the various alignments. DCAA-Alignment-Alternatives-Map

COMMENT FORM: Be sure to fill out a comment form about the plan.

Visit KCSmartMoves to keep up-to-date with the study.

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We Rank 90th of 100 – Is Anybody Surprised?

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 22, 2011


Last week the Brookings Institution released a report, Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metropolitan America, examining the ability of America’s 100 largest cities to get people to work by transit. It should come as no surprise to residents of the Kansas City region that we came in 90th.

Click on table to enlarge

MARC has posted a preliminary response in their online newsletter, Transportation Matters

KCATA General Manager Mark Huffer has also responded to the study on the KCATA website.    KCATA Responds To Brookings Institution Report

The Brookings report is not about quality, as Huffer notes. The KCATA customer satisfaction is over 90%, its buses are on time over 92% of the time and the cost per mile is significantly under the national average.

This report is about quantity of transit service. We don’t have enough transit in the region to get people to work. This problem directly relates to a lack of transit funding. Our region provides very little money for transit compared to our peer cities. Mr. Huffer cites the need for a regional funding mechanism, and TAN agrees wholeheartedly.  MARC proposed a regional transit concept and funding strategy over 10 years ago with Smart Moves. Some parts of that plan are gradually being implemented, like the MAX buses, but funding has remained elusive. Nothing major can change without more money.

The big question is how the region will respond to being ranked 90th.  Will the region’s leaders shrug and proceed with business as usual?  Or will they take the ranking seriously as a challenge to our viability as an urban region, roll up their sleeves, and confront the problem.

We have an abundance of ‘good intentions’ already in place including MARC’s new policy direction regarding future development, a new Long Range Transportation Plan, the recent HUD Sustainable Communities Planning grant, the First Suburbs Coalition, Imagine KC, multiple Alternatives Analysis studies, multiple phases of Smart Moves, and even a broad-based regional commitment to being America’s Green Region. But are they enough?  Will good intentions translate into actions?

We have not developed a transit system relevant to our region’s population or our situation. The Kansas City region has sprawled out in every direction, and therefore lacks the density needed for some of the more capital-intensive transit infrastructure investments. Unfortunately, jobs have sprawled along with residents and retail, and “job sprawl” is especially hard to serve by transit. Even better transit to downtown would address only part of the problem since fewer than 14% of the region’s jobs are now located in Kansas City’s Central Business District.

Getting people to jobs that are dispersed all over the region makes for a daunting task for our underfunded transit agencies.

What do we do?  The Brookings Institution makes three main recommendations, but will we move to implement them?

  • Transportation leaders should make access to jobs an explicit priority in spending and service decisions, especially given the budget pressures they face.
  • Metro leaders should coordinate land-use, economic-development, and housing strategies with transit decisions to ensure transit reaches more people and more jobs efficiently.
  • Federal officials should collect and publicize standardized transit data to enable public, private and nonprofit entities to make more informed decisions and maximize the benefits of transit for labor markets.

Transit Action Network offers the following preliminary recommendations for MARC and the region:

– Evaluate the methodology used by Brookings to be sure it doesn’t misrepresent us.

– View this low ranking as a challenge to improve public transit and, at least as important, assure that most of the region’s future development is accessible by transit.

– Accept that we have not provided a realistic transit choice for getting most people to work, and increase our efforts to get broad-based transit funding, perhaps county-by-county.

– Acknowledge the “good intentions” that the region has in place, but carefully examine whether they are enough, and then adopt new policies and actions as necessary.

– Adopt and implement a set of measures to track our progress toward improving our ranking. If we measure it, we have a lot better chance of making progress.

The Brookings report and a regional response will be the major issue for discussion at the June meeting of MARC’s Transit Committee.  TAN will be there and actively participating in the discussion.

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Streetcar Presentation at Downtown Neighborhood Association

Posted by Transit Action Network on April 29, 2011


Sherri McIntyre, KCMO Assistant City Manager. addresses DNA

Sherri McIntyre, KCMO Assistant City Manager, and Mark McDowell, Transit Action Network, both addressed the Downtown Neighborhood Association Wednesday evening regarding the Downtown Corridor (Streetcar) Study. Sherri talked about the nature of the study, how the study would progress, its time frame and how positive the city is about implementing a modern streetcar line downtown. Mark McDowell then focused on different financing issues and how a Transportation Development District (TDD) is a possible funding mechanism. The Missouri legislation for a TDD will be a strong contender for funding all or part of a streetcar line for both capital and operating expenses.

Mark McDowell addresses DNA

Since the study is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, it is not too early to start grassroots organizing. Transit Action Network asks Downtown residents, as well as residents in the River Market and Crossroads, to take part in a group to make the streetcar happen and to participate in an eventual campaign to pass whatever funding mechanism is ultimately proposed.   Downtown residents can contact TAN at TransActionKC@gmail.com to find out more.

The Kansas City Star (April 29) carried a front-page article by Mike Mansur about the meeting. http://bit.ly/mNA8Zs

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Report on National Transportation Conference. Transit-An Endangered Species?

Posted by Transit Action Network on April 12, 2011


A rainy day on Capitol Hill-April 5, 2011

Last week, April 3-5, I participated in a transit conference sponsored by Transportation Equity Network (TEN) in Washington DC. I went with MORE2, a local member of TEN.

The Conference, called ONE NATION INDIVISIBLE, had 135 representatives from TEN organizations representing 18 states.

Visiting  the Hill to speak with the Washington staffers from our local delegation offered a wonderful opportunity. There is so much potential for new infrastructure, new jobs and making our country a better, more exciting place to live. However, at the end of the day, it looks like we will struggle to maintain what we currently have.

The federal gas tax of 18.4¢ per gallon, which pays for roads and transit through the Highway Trust Fund, hasn’t covered the federal transportation costs for quite a while. The last Transportation Bill expired in 2009. Congress has continued to fund the old bill by subsidizing the gas tax from federal general revenue until a new bill is passed. That is about to change.

Congress is refusing to increase the gas tax to pay for transportation, yet no alternative funding mechanism is getting any traction. We aren’t paying enough to take care of the roads we already have, let alone build new ones. Transit only gets 20% of the money allocated to the transportation budget so the outlook isn’t bright.

There were workshops and transportation speeches from the Deputy Secretary of Transportation, John Porcari, and the Federal Transit Administrator, Peter Rogoff. Then I visited with staffers from the Appropriations Committee and Representatives Yoder R-KS, Graves R- MO, and Cleaver D-MO. I really enjoyed the conference but I left feeling depressed.

Peter Rogoff, Federal Transit Administrator, addresses the TEN conference

John Porcari, Deputy Secretary of Transportation, address the TEN conference

Severe cuts to all transportation are being proposed in the House budget for the remainder of FY2011. While I was there the shutdown of the government was looming.  People at home aren’t expressing outrage about these cuts so the cutters are empowered and we were told we haven’t seen anything yet. Wait until we see the trillion dollar budget cuts being planned for 2012.

Although Congress reached an agreement Friday night, details are still being worked out by staffers. We were told high-speed rail is gone in this budget.

If we can’t keep these programs alive, what is going to happen when Congress gets around to reauthorizing the Transportation Bill?

My overriding concern at the end of the day was how much transportation would be cut. The federal budget is only an authorization to spend. It doesn’t provide any money. There is no intention of increasing the gas tax (Rep. Graves staff repeatedly expressed the position that the Congressman was adamant about not raising the gas tax) yet there is no meaningful discussion or progress toward finding an alternative funding mechanism. Don’t count on the continued transfer from general revenue to make up the difference.

Karl, Keith, Kirk and Mary visiting Representative Yoder's office - not pictured Councilman-elect Michael Brooks

Karl, Kirk and Janet visiting Representative Yoder's office

One possibility is funding transportation at the level generated by the current gas tax. That would be a shock for roads and transit. Transit agencies would lose a huge amount of their funding if this is the final decision. Since a lot of the federal money classified as preventive maintenance is used for operating costs, there would be severe service cuts under this scenario.

If you care about transit, call your Congressional representatives and ask them to find a way to fund transit at or above the current level. Tell them why it is important to you! Speak up about finding a method to pay for the infrastructure improvements needed and remind them how important transit is for people to get to work and perform necessary tasks like getting groceries and going to the doctor. If you can, go to their town hall meetings with the same message.

Janet Rogers 4/12/2011


Posted in Action, Meeting Reports, National Transit Issues | 1 Comment »

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 »

A Great Victory for Transit!

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 18, 2010


On Thursday December 16, 2010, Kansas City passed an ordinance to restore funding from the ½ cent transportation sales tax to public transit.

The vote in the legislative session was 11-1 in favor of substitute Ordinance 100951. This ordinance directs the city manager and budget office to give public transit at least 95 % of the receipts from this sales tax (after TIF and city administrative fees). The compromise that enabled so many council members and the mayor to support the ordinance is a 3-year phase in period. The process will be incremental and start with the May 1, 2011 budget.  Full restoration will to be completed by May 1, 2014.

This change will amount to an additional $3.5 -$4 million a year for transit when fully implemented.  This is the biggest victory for transit in Kansas City since the vote for the 3/8-cent sales tax.

Transit Action Network (TAN) thanks everyone who worked to pass this ordinance.

TAN would particularly like to acknowledge these efforts:

  • David Martin exposed the problem in The Pitch in September to provide public awareness of the problem.
  • MORE2 (Metropolitan Organization for Racial and Economic Equity) participated in the meetings we had with the acting city manager as well as the council members and the mayor’s chief of staff. They spread the word to their member churches and other organizations.
  • KCATA and the KCATA Board of Commissioners played a major role in promoting the ordinance. KCATA General Manager, Mark Huffer, presented an excellent slide show to the committee that really made the funding problems clear.
  • At the Nov 18th Transportation and Infrastructure (T & I) committee meeting 10 organizations representing over 160,000 people plus all of the transit riders spoke in favor of the transit ordinance. They were the KCATA, KCATA Board of Commissioners, MORE2, Amalgamated Transit Union, AFL-CIO, The Whole Person, Alphapointe, RTA, AARP and of course Transit Action Network.
  • A committee of the Downtown Council sent a letter endorsing the ordinance.
  • The Ivanhoe, Blue Hills and Oak Park neighborhood associations provided support from these communities.

Our blog and tweets brought more people on board, as did the social networking efforts of other transit friendly groups.

All of the above groups generated phone calls, email messages and signatures that poured into City Hall. A lot of direct contact was made with council members too.

Brad Cooper and Lynn Horsley of the Kansas City Star wrote several articles about the ordinance and transit funding issues.

Chris Hernandez of NBC Action News CH41 covered the T & I committee meeting on Nov 18.

Council members Terry Riley, John Sharp, Beth Gottstein, Cathy Jolly and Ed Ford supported this issue immediately. When they saw the budget trends in our meetings they understood a change had to be made to limit the city diverting so much of this sales tax to other uses.

Councilman Ed Ford introduced the ordinance and was the “point man” in making this happen. When the ordinance went to the legislative session in the afternoon it had seven co-sponsors, all of the council members mentioned above as well as Melba Curls and Bill Skaggs from the T & I Committee. Councilmen Riley, chair of the T & I committee, and Ford worked closely on this issue and both of them spoke forcefully for the ordinance at the legislative session Thursday. The other council members didn’t see the final language for the ordinance until then so we were extremely pleased that there was such overwhelming support for the final version.

We appreciate Councilman Ford’s acknowledgment of TAN’s leadership role in this effort in his comments during the legislative session.

We thank Mayor Funkhouser, Council Members, acting City Manager Troy Schulte and staff for finding a compromise that was acceptable to everyone.

Transit gets the security of receiving the money from the 1/2 cent transportation sales tax and the budget office gets some time to make this change. WIN-WIN.

News story in the KC Star:  http://bit.ly/hjcUKH

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meeting Dec 16, 2011

(Note: video link not available at this time. This blog will be updated when it is available)

Link to City Council Legislative Session Dec 16, 2011(click on 100951 to go directly to this ordinance)

http://kansascity.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=4905

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The Scoop on Kansas City Transit Funding

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 14, 2010


Why did such a large diverse group of Transit Supporters show up at the November 18 Kansas City Transportation & Infrastructure Committee meeting to support Ordinance 100951 to restore funding to transit?

City Government has been diverting an excessive and increasing amount of money from the ½ cent Transportation Fund to non-transit uses.

  • This is crippling transit. In 2009 KCATA reduced service by 9.5% and increased fares 20% in order to sustain an even lower level of service.
  • (Click on pie chart to enlarge.)
  • The city has gone from diverting less than 5% in FY2003/2004 to over 18% in FY2010/2011

Transit Supporters are aware of the budget pressures caused by the recession. The city has made a lot of very difficult decisions. But adequate transit is a basic city service that should be protected as a city priority. The proposed ordinance would reaffirm the city’s commitment to provide reasonable transit service to the community.

  • This is an issue of fairness, social equity, and keeping faith with the voters.
  • It honors the voter’s support for transit when they passed the supplemental 3/8 cent sales tax.
  • Transit affects people’s ability to get and maintain jobs. The national organization, Transportation Equity Network (TEN) has a new report explaining how MORE TRANSIT=MORE JOBS. 65% of the trips on our public transit system are related to work or looking for work.
  • In addition to jobs, transit provides vital connections to education, medical care, worship, shopping, entertainment and a vast array of personal activities.
  • The significant cuts to transit service have unfairly affected the people who require transit, such as the elderly and the disabled.
  • The ordinance confirms the City Council’s commitment to make Kansas City a “Green” and “Sustainable” place to live.
  • However much the City needs additional funds in times of recession, the ½ cent transportation tax shouldn’t be raided to subsidize non-transit activities.

Why do we need Ordinance 100951?

  • The pattern of shifting more and more money to non-transit uses is likely to continue without the ordinance.
  • It is much too easy to just keep diverting money from this fund for other purposes. The city currently diverts over 18%. What is to keep them from going to 25% or 30%?
  • Rather than using the 3/8 cent sales tax to improve transit as voters intended, the city is, in effect, using the 3/8 cent sales tax to replace the 1/2 cent sales tax.
  • In the current budget the 3/8-cent sales tax is providing more money for transit than the ½ cent sales tax.

Kansas City Funding for Public Transit during the recession

Funding for Public Transit

FY 2008/2009

FY 2010/2011

Decrease

1/2 cent sales tax

26,349,787

19,870,641

(6,479,146)

3/8 cent sales tax

23,263,353

20,734,48

(2,528,868)

Total

49,613,140

40,605,126

$(9,008,014)

  • One third of the  $9 million decrease in transit funding over the last two years is a result of the city siphoning off additional money to non-transit uses. The remainder is due to lower collection rates during the recession.
  • The City is unlikely to help transit from other city revenue sources, so we need to make sure transit gets most of this sales tax revenue.

What does the proposed ordinance actually do?

  • The ordinance directs the budget office on how to allocate proceeds of the ½ cent transportation tax. (See footnotes)
  • There will be no change in the amount of the money available for the budget, just clear direction from the City Council that certain funds be used for transit.
  • Non-transit activities will revert to receiving 5% of the funding like they did when voters overwhelmingly voted for expanded and improved transit in 2003. The remainder will again go to transit.

Will this proposed ordinance cure the financial woes of the KCATA?

  • This ordinance will not totally mend all the financial woes of the KCATA since sales tax receipts are still low.
  • Without this ordinance, Mark Huffer, General Manager of KCATA, pointed out that service cuts of 25%-35% are looming as early as 2014, when the KCATA Reserve Fund would be exhausted.

Is there opposition to the Ordinance?

  • Some concerns have been expressed about losing “flexibility” in the budgeting process. However, considering that the transit system suffered a tremendous financial reduction from the decline in sales tax, maintaining the City’s ability to continue diverting huge amounts of money away from the transit system shouldn’t be called “flexibility”.
  • There is some concern about how to replace the money for non-transit activities that would return to transit. The non-transit activities could return to previous funding methods before the 1/2 cent transportation fund was used so heavily to subsidize their activities.

What can we do?

  • At the next Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meeting on December 16, the committee will make a recommendation on the ordinance to the full council. Please contact your city council members and the mayor to support Ordinance 100951 and restore funding to the transit system.
  • Contact information can be found here.

o   http://kcmo.org/CKCMO/CityOfficials/index.htm

Footnotes:

How will the ordinance be calculated?

  • The proposed ordinance will create a new calculation. Both TIF (Tax Incremental Financing) and city administration fees are deducted first. These currently total about 15% of this sales tax. The 95%Transit/5% Public Works split will happen after TIF and the city administration fees are deducted.

How did TAN get all of this budget information?

  • The Kansas City Budget is online. Choose the appropriate budget from the box in the upper right corner on this link.  Next click on any of the icons that appear. Then open or download the PDF file. It is over 500 pages long. From the FY 2010-1011 Adopted Budget TAN mainly used the Budget by Department and the Schedules.

o   http://www.kcmo.org/CKCMO/Depts/CityManagersOffice/Office%20of%20Management%20and%20Budget/index.htm

Related articles can be found on this blog by using Category “Action” or tag “KC Ordinance”

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