Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Attend The Site Dedication for the Streetcar Vehicle Maintenance Facility – NOV 7

Posted by Transit Action Network on November 4, 2013


Site Dedication for the Downtown Streetcar Vehicle Maintenance FacilityStreetcar-Blast-Invitation

When: November 7, 2013 at Noon

Where: 600 East Third Street, KCMO 64106

See the Invitation for a map and more details.

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Public Meeting About A Possible Prospect MAX – Oct 22

Posted by Transit Action Network on October 21, 2013


METRO logoKCATA, City of Kansas City, MO, and Mid-America Regional Council are having a public meeting to discuss the possibility of a MAX line on Prospect from Downtown to South Kansas City.

When: Oct 22, 5 pm to 7 pm
Where: Emmanuel’s Community Center, 3510 Prospect Ave., Kansas City, MO 64128MAX brt

The planning process in underway so it is important to get input from customers and area residents.

At the meeting:

  • See and tour a MAX bus
  • Ask questions about possible MAX service and submit comments
  • Enjoy complimentary appetizers

Bus connections: Take 71-Prospect or 35-35th Street to the community center. Plan a trip online or call 816-221-0660 for assistance with schedules.

KCATA link   Let’s Talk Prospect MAX

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Attend the Midtown MetroCenter Grand Opening, KCK, Sept 27

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 25, 2013


Celebrate the opening of the largest transit center in the region. TIGER

What: Midtown KCK MetroCenter Grand Opening
Where: 47th and State Avenue, Kansas City, Kan. (Indian Springs)
When: Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, 10 a.m.

UG logoThis is the second transit center to open related to the new State Avenue Connex service, a major east-west route in the region. The new transit center is part of the $10.5 TIGER (Transportation Improvements Generating Economic Recovery) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation that the State Avenue corridor received.

Other TIGER-funded enhancements along the State Avenue corridor include bus stop platforms; passenger shelters and benches; and landscaping and environment improvements.

After the opening ceremonies, stay for the party.

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Ribbon Cuttings KCK Metro Centers – Aug 9 and Sept 27, New Connex Service – Aug 11

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 5, 2013


INVITATION_7th_Street_METROCENTER.jpg_and_Document1 Kansas City, Kansas has a lot to celebrate with the start of the new Route #101 State Avenue Connex service and the opening of two new Metro Centers.

Join them for the first ribbon cutting:TIGER

What: Downtown KCK MetroCenter Grand Opening

Where: 7th and Minnesota

When: Friday, August 9, 2013, 10–11 a.m.

For more information about the grand opening, visit the Unified Government Transit website.

In addition, the Route #101 State Avenue CONNEX service will start Sunday, August 11th.

There are changes to the route from the current alignment, especially in downtown KCK where the route will be straightened out along Minnesota Ave.

New Alignment effective Aug. 11, 2013

New CONNEX Alignment effective Aug. 11, 2013

The new service and transit center will affect these routes:

101-Minnesota-State Ave.
102-Central Ave.
103-3rd Street-Fairfax
104-Argentine
106-Quindaro
107-7th Street
115-Kansas Avenue

The changes to these seven routes serving downtown KCK should create more convenient connections between Metro and Unified Government Transit routes.

For details of route and schedule changes see the related KCATA  bulletin.

The next ribbon cutting is scheduled for September 27th at the 47th Street Midtown KCK MetroCenter (47th and State Avenue/Indian Springs).

These transit centers are part of Kansas City’s $50 million TIGER (Transportation Improvements Generating Economic Recovery) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Other TIGER-funded enhancements along the State Avenue corridor include bus stop platforms; passenger shelters and benches; landscaping and environment improvements.

Watch the  TIGER Progress Report  episode 9 to learn more about local transportation and transit improvements, including construction of the 7th and Minnesota Transit Center.

To learn more about the impact of TIGER on the Kansas City region, visit www.marc.org/TIGER.

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NEXT RAIL – Streetcar Expansion Kickoff Event – August 8

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 31, 2013


Next_RailKC needs your ideas on how to move forward with Phase 2, an expansion of the streetcar system.

August 8

Union Station

30 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, Missouri 64108

6pm – 8pm

According to the NEXT Rail Facebook page, “Through a community-based and data-driven process, the City of Kansas City, Missouri will develop a plan for the expansion of the Downtown Streetcar line into a citywide network that creates new connections between people and places and catalyzes the revitalization of our neighborhoods. “DTSC

Join them at the NEXT Rail kickoff event:

Agenda

6:00 PM Opening remarks by Mayor Sly James and other elected officials
6:30 PM Public presentation on the project
7:00 PM Interactive model exercise

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First Look at KCATA’S New “Clean Air” Buses – July 10 at 10am

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 9, 2013


KCATA unveils its new CNG (Compressed Natural Gas ) buses tomorrow.

Compressed_Natural_Gas_Unveiling-5

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JCT Ribbon Cutting For The New Transit Center

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 2, 2013


The_JO_ConnexJohnson County Transit (JCT) postponed the ribbon cutting for its new Mission Transit Center for a whole month, but the wait was worth it. July 1st was a beautiful day to celebrate the official opening of the Allen Roth Transit Center. Johnson County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Ed Eilert spoke at the dedication of the Allen Roth Transit Center in Mission.

Allen Roth Mission Transit Center Entrance at 5251 Johnson Drive, Mission, Kansas

Allen Roth Mission Transit Center Entrance at 5251 Johnson Drive, Mission, Kansas

The new transit center has 73 transit departures  from this location every weekday.  The Transit Center  is located  at 5251 Johnson Dr. Parking is next to Wendys on the south side of Martway just east of the transit center.

Connex bus 556Although the transit center serves 5 additional JCT routes  (546, 660, 661, 667, and 672) , the big excitement is over the introduction of the new CONNEX service.

CONNEX is the brand for the Metcalf / Shawnee Mission Parkway route (556/856). The route began operating under this brand name on June 3, 2013. There are 17 round trips daily between 119th or 135th and Metcalf on the south, and the Plaza / UMKC / Rockhurst on the north and east.

The JO has six of these buses for use on this route. Each seats 25 passengers.

Midday trips are often operated using smaller buses since these trips may “flex” off-route to pick up or let off passengers who have made advance arrangements.

Socializing before the dedication ceremony begins.

Socializing before the dedication ceremony begins.

Dedication ceremonies begin, July 1, 2013.

Dedication ceremonies begin, July 1, 2013.

Johnson County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Ed Eilert speaks at the dedication of the Allen Roth Transit Center in Mission.

Johnson County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Ed Eilert speaks at the dedication of the Allen Roth Transit Center in Mission.

Elected officials cut the ribbon to dedicate the new Allen Roth Transit Center in Mission, Kansas. July 1, 2013.

Elected officials cut the ribbon to dedicate the new Allen Roth Transit Center in Mission, Kansas. July 1, 2013.

Connex bus going

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JCT Ribbon Cutting For Mission Transit Center – July 1, The JO CONNEX – June 3

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 30, 2013


TIGERThe_JO_ConnexJoin Johnson County Transit at their ribbon cutting event for the new Mission Transit Center.
Where: Mission Transit Center, 5251 Johnson Drive, Mission, Kan.
When: Friday, May 31, 8:30 a.m. Re-scheduled to Monday, July 1

The new transit center will enhance transit service along the Metcalf/Shawnee Mission Parkway Corridor. The transit center is one feature of the extensive infrastructure improvements in this corridor made possible by a federal $10.7 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant. At the ribbon cutting, JCT will provide exhibits of before-and-after transformations along the transit corridor and information about enhancements to the transit services in Johnson County, Kan.

Effective June 3rd, many of The JO buses will change their routes in order to utilize this new Transit Center.   Route 556/856 will be re-branded as The JO CONNEX, an enhanced route with limited-stop service, which will use the new infrastructure in the Metcalf/Shawnee Mission Parkway Corridor.

JCT Proposed_Schedules_June_2013

For questions regarding the ribbon cutting:
Contact Brian Scovill at 913.895.6052 or Alice Amrein at 913.715.8352.

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UG Public Budget Hearing – May 16

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 15, 2013


A public budget hearing for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County is scheduled for May 16th at 7 pm in the UG Commission Chambers at 701 N. 7th Street, KCK (in City Hall).  This meeting is an opportunity for transit rider groups to voice their concerns and desires for transit.photo (51) This meeting is a great opportunity to impress upon the commissioners, especially the newly elected officials and the new mayor,  the importance of transit in the UG community.

Rosedale Development Association is one group working to get transit improvements in their area.  This week, Erin, from Rosedale Development Assn. (center), took Carroll, Carol, and Pastor Joe (photographer) of Westwood Christian Church to survey Rosedale Ridge Apartment residents about their public transit needs. They discovered many of them do not have cars. They rely on rides from friends or make a long hike to the nearest bus stop (~ 1.5 miles away). TAN supports Rosedale’s efforts and hopes that Wyandotte County is able to extend a bus line into their neighborhood.

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TOP (Transit Oriented People) Party – May 24

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 9, 2013


TOPP 2013

Click to enlarge

Join us Friday May 24th at McCoy’s in Westport from 4pm to 6pm for our TOPP.

Download  TOPP 2013 Invitation  Feel free to print, post, share and forward this invitation to all your transit friends.

Come share your year of transit memories with people who care about a quality comprehensive transit system for ALL riders and potential riders.  Party with people whose vision of our region’s transit future improves ALL modes of transit. Help us create a more transit-friendly region!

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US 71 Transit Study Open House – May 23

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 6, 2013


US_71_open_house

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KCMO holds first KCATA Funding Review Committee Meeting – April 25

Posted by Transit Action Network on April 24, 2013


kcmo_big_logoKansas City’s new Ordinance 130173 set up the KCATA Funding Review Committee,  to “recommend  a multi-year financial plan for distribution of the  (1/2 cent ) transportation sales tax after reviewing the needs of the bus service and establishing a maximum allocation for development and expansion of a streetcar system”. The committee’s final recommendations are due to the Council by August 1, 2013.METRO ogo The meeting is open to the public.

The initial meeting of the committee is tomorrow and will include a presentation on “KCATA 101”.

KCATA FUNDING REVIEW COMMITTEE

Thursday, April 25, 2013, at 10:30 AM
10th Floor Committee Room, City Hall

Chair, Councilman Ed Ford

Additional Council members are Dick Davis, John A. Sharp, Jan Marcason, Scott Wagner

Proposed Agenda

1. Discussion on the purpose of the committee.

2. Future meeting schedule.

3. Presentation on the KCATA.

4. There may be a general discussion regarding current KCATA Funding Review Committee issues.

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KCATA Workshop: Planning Downtown Service for Kansas City’s Future – April 4

Posted by Transit Action Network on April 4, 2013


Please attend the KCATA downtown workshop.

Thursday, April 4, 5:30 – 7:30 PMMAX brt

Kansas City Design Center
1018 Baltimore
Kansas City, MO 64105

METRO ogo Join KCATA today as it begins examining a wide range of potential improvements for downtown bus service and circulation.  Share your thoughts.

Planning efforts will examine the following:

  • Short-term route changes to simplify and integrate downtown bus and MAX service with the planned streetcar on Main.
  • Potential longer-term improvements such as new transit centers, superstops, a transit mall, transit emphasis corridors and a variety of transit priority measures to best support downtown activities and development.

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

Last Chance – Speak up for KCATA Budget at KCMO Finance Committee Meeting Mar 20

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 19, 2013


METRO ogoThe city council is almost finished working on the FY 2013/2014 budget. Tomorrow may be your last chance to comment in front of the council on the Public Mass Transportation Fund (1/2-cent Transposition Sales Tax) budget.kcmo_big_logo

Finance, Governance & Ethics Committee
March 20, 2013 at 8:30 am
10th Floor Committee Room
City Hall
414 E. 12th Street
Kansas City, MO 64106
 

In your testimony about the budget for the 1/2 cent Transportation Sales Tax and Ordinance 130173:

  1. Encourage the committee to table the new ordinance, 130173, which is an attempt to deal with the transit issues we’ve have all been concerned about. The council hasn’t had sufficient time to thoroughly discuss the ordinance and determined how to get the best result. It is possible to complete this budget with the current ordinance.
  2. Even if the committee tables the new ordinance, which we hope it will, please ask them to comply with the existing ordinance relative to non-transit uses and restore funding to KCATA.
  3. Ask that $5 million, currently allocated to non-transit uses, be moved to KCATA:
    •  to comply with current ordinance 100951 to restore funding to KCATA.
    •  to eliminate KCATA’s need to use its emergency reserve account to maintain current transit service levels.
  4. Ask that the streetcar only uses this funding source for one year, while an alternative funding source is identified.

Currently the FY 2013/2014 budget for the  city’s use of the 1/2 sales tax money includes $6 million dollars allocated to non-transit projects, $2 million to the streetcar, and $600 thousand to administrative fees.

Based on Ordinance 100951, city non-transit uses were supposed to start shrinking in 2011 so the KCATA budget could rise to 95% of the available funds from the ½ cent Transportation Sales tax by 2014. KCATA would only be allocated 71% of the available funds in the new budget.

The 2003 and 2008 elections for a 3/8 cent sales tax were based on the assumption that the ½ sales tax would continue to go to the KCATA but here is what actually happened.

1_2_cent_comparison_2003_2014

Up until now the city has ignored its own ordinance and continued to spend money on other priorities.

Contrary to what most people think, KCATA has not been receiving 7/8 cents in sales taxes (sum of ½ cent and 3/8 cent sales taxes). In the proposed budget KCATA is budgeted LESS money from the ½ cent transportation sales tax than it received in 2003 although receipts have increased considerably.

In 2003/2004 the city was only using $1.3 million for non-transit uses from the ½ cent transportation sales tax.

Here’s what we propose:

  1. Table the new ordinance: it is not needed.
  2. Move $5 million from Public Works Capital Improvements to KCATA. That would move the budget closer to complying with the current ordinance and eliminate the need for KCATA to use up its emergency money. Based on the ordinance, KCATA should be receiving close to 88% of the 1/2 cent Transportation Sales Tax for the proposed budget.
  3. Due to the short time-frame, use $2 million from the Public Mass Transportation Fund  for the streetcar for this one-year only.
  4. Once the budgeting process is completed, begin working on alternative funding sources for the $2 million, preferably out of the TDD.  The city sold the idea of the streetcar being funded out of the TDD. Do this and provide long-term financial stability for the streetcar using those new funds.
  5. Convene the Transit Working Group that Councilwoman Circo proposed at the March 6 meeting of this committee, and let that group take some time to explore all of the transit-related issues involved.  There are a lot of issues, and decisions related to transit should not be made in a vacuum.
  6. Include Transit Action Network in that Transit Working Group, as we asked two weeks ago.

The council can work this out, but the time is running out. The budget has to be voted on next week.

Contact Kansas City Mayor and City Council

Mayor’s office 816-513-3500 email Mayor@kcmo.org

Council office 816-513-1368

Go to http://kcmo.org/CKCMO/CityOfficials/CityCouncilOffice/index.htm for phone numbers and emails for specific council members

TAN has been writing about this issue since January when the city manager released his proposed budget for FY 2013/2014.

See previous articles for more information.  KCATA and the KCMO Budget-Video of the March 6 hearing of the Finance, Governance and Ethics Committee

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KCATA and the KCMO Budget-Video of the March 6 hearing of the Finance, Governance and Ethics Committee

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 13, 2013


METRO ogoPeople are  speaking up about the failure of Kansas City’s proposed budget for FY2013-2014 to properly fund KCATA as required by Ordinance 100951 and expected by elections in both 2003 and 2008.

Watch the testimony: http://kansascity.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=7223kcmo_big_logo

Testimony related to transit begins at 38:30 and ends about 1:41:30

  • Loretta Jackson-Cowans about 38:30
  • Councilman Ed Ford about 41:40
  • Councilwoman Marcason about 46:40
  • Mark Huffer of KCATA about 48:02
  • Councilwoman Cindy Circo about 1:05:08  – We need to create a working group…
  • Councilman Michael Brooks about 1:07:00
  • City Manager Troy Schulte about 1:07:12
  • Jonothan Walker of ATU about 1:19:22
  • Sheila Styron of The Whole Person about 1:23:25
  • Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network about 1:26:13
  • Ron McLinden of Transit Action Network about 1:33:02
  • Closing remarks by Council members about 1:39:10
  • End of transit testimony about 1:41:30

Lynn Horsley’s KC Star article about the meeting http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/06/4103920/concern-about-kc-bus-money-going.html

Get more information:  Attend KCMO Finance Committee Meeting March 6 – – City Wants to Replace Ordinance That Restored Funding to KCATA

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Attend MoDOT Long-Range Plan Meetings in Kansas City – March 12, 13 and 14

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 11, 2013


MOTMMoDOT is inviting input on the latest update of its long-range transportation, “On the Move.” It is extremely important that transit advocates attend the meetings to make sure transit is a priority.

The project website http://www.missourionthemove.org/about-on-the-move/ says,
“On the Move is a community engagement effort led by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to gather direction and insight from Missourians on major transportation issues and priorities across the state.”
 
Three “listening sessions” are scheduled for Kansas City this week.

KCI Expo Center, Ambassador Room
11730 NW Ambassador Drive , Kansas City, MO, 64153
March 12, 2013 6:00 pm
Link to RSVP: http://www.missourionthemove.org/event/on-the-move-listening-session-kansas-city-region/ 
 
 
UMKC, Atterbury Student Success Center, Pierson Auditorium
5000 Holmes Street, Kansas City, MO, 64110
March 13, 2013 5:00 pm
Link to RSVP:http://www.missourionthemove.org/event/on-the-move-listening-session-kansas-city-region-2/  
 
Union Station, Chamber Board Room
30 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO, 64108
March 14, 2013 5:00 pm
Link to RSVP: http://www.missourionthemove.org/event/on-the-move-listening-session-kansas-city-region-3/

Mo_transit_fundingMoDOT is asking for RSVP’s to attend these sessions, but we encourage you to attend even if you have not RSVP’d.

While the purpose of the meetings seems simple enough — to gain public input to update the LRTP — it’s complicated by the fact that legislation is moving through the Missouri General Assembly to put a one-penny sales tax for transportation on the ballot in 2014.  That tax would be for a ten-year period, and would fund a list of specific projects. 

Thus, there’s some ambiguity about whether these meetings are just about long-range needs, or whether they are also about coming up with a project list.  Even top MoDOT staff have not been able to express clearly how the listening sessions will relate to the project list.

Our hope is that the listening sessions will stay focused on the big picture — Missourians’ long-term needs and desires — rather than individual projects.  Ask people about long-term needs and that’s what they’ll think and talk about.  Ask them what projects they want and the session could turn into a “my project is more important than yours” contest.

Nonetheless, transit advocates need to attend the listening sessions this week to help assure that additional funding for transit is included in whatever package is ultimately presented to the voters. Identify and prioritize the long-term needs and desires first, then choose projects to fulfill that list.

We suggest you take the following perspective into whichever listening session you attend:

  •  Roads and bridges are important, but Missouri also needs to increase its investment in other transportation alternatives.
  • Missouri’s population is aging, and with that goes an increased need for both urban and rural public transit.  Missouri currently provides less than $1 million per year to all transit providers combined — only $119,000 this year for KCATA.  Nearly every other state with an urban population invests much more in transit.
  •  More and more people are voting with their pocket books to drive less and use transit more.  That’s reflected in the decline in the percent of adults who have a driver’s license, a trend that’s evident in every age group but especially among young adults.
  •  MoDOT should continue to add accommodations for cyclists and pedestrians along its routes, particularly in cities and towns.
  • Missouri needs a stable source of funding to continue and increase the popular “Missouri River Runner” trains linking Kansas City and St. Louis.  These trains are operated by Amtrak but funded by Missouri.

So please attend one of the meetings and tell them to make transit a priority.

http://www.missourionthemove.org/community-engagement/schedule-of-events/

You can also express what you want to see in Missouri’s transportation future online.

http://www.missourionthemove.org/community-engagement/project-suggestion-form/

See The Blue Ribbon Citizens Committee on Missouri’s Transportation Needs Final Report 2013

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KC Downtown Streetcar Open House Re-scheduled for Mar 6

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 6, 2013


Attend the KC Downtown Streetcar Open House on March 6.KC_streetcar

Union Station from 4-7 pm.

This open house is re-scheduled from February 21.

Link to the  information boards, factsheet and maps. If you have any questions about these materials or the KC Downtown Streetcar project, please email the team at info@kcstreetcar.org or call them  at 816-822-3011.

http://www.kcstreetcar.org/publicmeetinginfo.htm

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Attend KCMO Finance Committee Meeting March 6 – – City Wants to Replace Ordinance That Restored Funding to KCATA

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 5, 2013


kcmo_big_logoPlease attend the Finance Committee meeting tomorrow to object to replacing Ordinance 100951, which restored funding to KCATA, with a different ordinance. Even if you don’t speak, your presence in support of transit is very valuable.  If you can’t make the meeting, continue to contact the Mayor and council members.

Finance, Governance & Ethics Committee
March 6, 2013 at 8:30 am
10th Floor Committee Room
City Hall
414 E. 12th Street
Kansas City, MO 64106

Since the City Manager released his budget for FY 2013-2014 Transit Action Network has been fighting against the city’s blatant violation of Ordinance 100951, which was passed in 2010 to restore funding to KCATA.

Instead of restoring funding to KCATA the city is unilaterally increasing money to non-transit projects. In 2003 only 5% of the money went to non-transit projects, but this budget has increased non-transit expenses to 18%. In 2010, when we exposed what the city was doing, the council passed Ordinance 100951 to restore funding to KCATA up to the 95% level by May 2014. In 2010 non-transit projects received  $4.5 million and the ordinance required them to start decreasing this amount in order to increase the KCATA amount. Instead they have purposely ignored the ordinance and raised the non-transit budget to $6 million in the proposed budget.  There is no excuse for this since we started reminding the mayor, council and the city manager about this ordinance last September.

So we spoke up again this year asking the council to

  1. Honor its commitment to voters and taxpayers
  2. Obey Ordinance 100951 – – the KCATA share should be close to 88% of the available money in this budget, instead of only 71%
  3. Support the bus system and fully pay the bill for bus service to KCATA instead of forcing KCATA to use $5 million of emergency funds to keep the buses rolling at this level.

Instead responses have included

1 So what if KCATA has to use up the emergency money.

2. So what if we made a promise to the voters-we make promises all the time we don’t keep.

3. We aren’t doing anything wrong because we aren’t cutting service (Does it occur to them that service will have to be cut when the emergency money runs out so this is not a sustainable plan for funding transit? Does it occur to them that it is coercive to force a congressionally chartered bi-state authority to use its emergency funds to provide their transit service?)

4. So what if we are violating the ordinance-we’ll just change it like we do all the time.

And changing the ordinance is exactly what they are planning on doing. Instead of moving in the direction to restore money to KCATA, they are working on a new ordinance to do exactly what they want instead of what voters wanted. I think people believed Mayor James when he commented on this issue BEFORE he was elected, so why is he taking the opposite position now?

Candidate James, February 2011: 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.

Although the meeting is about the budget and this ordinance is about providing transit vs diverting that money to other uses, it is significant that this committee also reviews the city Ethics and Governance issues.

We would like to know how it is ethical to take tax money and then unilaterally decide to spend it somewhere else.  The deal made with voters was more contractual than just a casual promise.

1. TWICE the city made a well documented offer to voters – – if voters agreed to pay another 3/8-cent sales tax for transit, then the city would add the new money to the ½ cent transportation sales tax and KCATA would receive 7/8 cents in sales tax to provide a bigger, better bus system.

2. The voters accepted this offer by passing the new transit tax.

3. Millions of tax dollars are collected to pay for the bus service.

Instead there has been an increasing amount of money diverted to non-transit uses even after Ordinance 100951 was passed to correct this failure to fulfill the explicit contract.  If you made this type of deal with a business, then the failure to comply would be an obvious breach of contract. It is not ok to use your money for something other than what was agreed to in the contract. If nothing else, why isn’t this a serious ethics violation?

Governance is not just about passing laws, regulations and ordinances – it is about enforcing them. Why is the head administrator allowed to ignore direction from the elected officials and an important ordinance by diverting millions of dollars to projects of his choice instead of where both the voters and the council have directed him to spend the money?  Why is the response to this flagrant disrespect for the rule of law (which an ordinance is) allowed? Why, instead of making him change the budget, is the city considering changing the ordinance?

If KCATA has to severely cut service in a couple of years, you’ll be told that KCATA was given 7/8 cents in sales tax and they couldn’t live within their means. That explanation will be a serious distortion of what happened.

How does the streetcar fit in? Although the $2 million is small in comparison to the money being diverted to non-transit uses, it is significant over time. If they take $2 million for the 25 year length of the bonds, that is $50 million dollars being taken away from the bus service. That is about 20 years of operating the Troost MAX service. That $2 million could pay to operate a Prospect or North Oak MAX. The money they want to take for the streetcar isn’t excess money lying around. Using the money for roads and streetcars will have a negative impact on bus service levels in the foreseeable future.

Although the streetcar is a great addition to transit in the city it is not a game changer for the vast majority of riders and it doesn’t reduce the city’s responsibility to provide bus service throughout the city. They shouldn’t be taking any money from the bus funding until they have exhausted the funding mechanisms in the Transportation Development District (TDD), which they have not done.

Don’t be naive and think the streetcar is only going to take the $2 million. Don’t fall for the “it is all transit“ line. Once they start identifying this money for streetcars, then expect any additional streetcars to take even more money away from the bus system.  Although it may seem good to limit the streetcar amount to the $2 million they have in this budget, it still sets the precedent that this is streetcar money and they will just change the ordinance in the future if they want more.

If the city wants to use this money for the streetcar, then let it be from the 5%.  What we don’t want is to start carving away at this money, which is all the bus system has. We don’t want 5%-20% to Public Works, 6% to the first streetcar, 5%-17% hoarded in the ending balance, more streetcars, etc., etc.

Keep it simple – – 95% to KCATA for bus service and they can use the rest as they please for transportation. The 5% can be used for public works, streetcars or any ending balance in the account.

Below is the proposed ordinance as it stands. Of course, they may have filled in the blanks by Wednesday.

Ask for

The first blank:  95%

Second blank: providing bus service through KCATA.

This would keep the ordinance basically as it is.

ORDINANCE NO. 130173

Amending Chapter 68, Article VII, Code of Ordinances of Kansas City, Missouri entitled “Sales Taxes,” by repealing Section 68-472.1 and enacting in lieu thereof one new section of like number and subject matter which pertains to the distribution of the transportation tax.

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL OF KANSAS CITY:

Section 1. That Chapter 68, Article VII, Code of Ordinances of Kansas City, Missouri, entitled “Sales Taxes,” is hereby amended by repealing Section 68-472.1, and enacting in lieu thereof one new section to read as follows:

Sec. 68-472.1. Distribution of tax.

After deducting the City’s two percent cost of handling authorized by RSMo 92.418 and fulfilling any Tax Increment Financing obligations, at least __________ percent of the remaining sales tax for transportation imposed by Sec. 68-471 of this article and deposited in the City’s Public Mass Transportation Fund shall be used for ___________________.

See previous post: Public Budget Hearing Saturday Feb 23  Speak Up About the Millions Diverted From KCATA

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Public Budget Hearing Saturday Feb 23 Speak Up About the Millions Diverted From KCATA

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 22, 2013


kcmo_big_logoLast KCMO Public Budget Hearing for FY 2013-2014

Saturday, February 23
9am to 11am
KCPD South Patrol Division (main entrance)
9701 Marion Park Drive , KCMO 64137

In 2003 and again in 2008, Kansas City passed a 3/8-cent transit sales tax in order to build a bigger better bus system. It was a package deal: the 3/8-cent transit tax would add to the already existing ½ cent transportation sales tax (which previously had been the only source of funding for the Metro) to provide KCATA with the equivalent of 7/8 cents sales tax for operating the Metro.  That is NOT what happened.METRO ogo

In the City’s proposed budget for FY 2013-2014, KCATA is getting less than 6/8 cents in sales tax. The city is diverting nearly $10 million away from KCATA even though they are violating Ordinance 100951 to do so.

For the proposed FY2013-2014 budget, 1/8-cent sales tax generates a little over $8 million.

$10_million_shortIf the city was obeying the ordinance and started incrementally increasing the KCATA share of the ½ cent transportation sales tax in May 2011, then KCATA would be getting about $6 million more in the FY 2013-2014 budget. If KCATA only got $5 million more in this budget, they would not have to bleed out the reserve account to maintain service.

Saturday is the last public budget hearing to comment on the city diverting money away from KCATA despite the clear intention of voters that the full 7/8 cent of sales tax should support the bus system.  However, continue to contact the mayor and your council members though March until the budget is adopted.

Where is nearly $10 million going in the proposed budget instead of to KCATA?

  • $6 million to non-transit projects in public works – 18% of the money
  • $2 million to the streetcar – 6.1%
  • Almost $2 million is held back by the city  – 5.4%
    • The previous two years, the city hoarded over $5 million in the fund rather than pass the money on to the KCATA.

    At this point, KCATA is not going to get one more dollar than it did this year.

This diversion of tax money away from the KCATA is not new. This is why in 2010 we approached the city to pass an ordinance that required the city manager to give 95% of the ½ cent transportation sales tax to KCATA by May 2014, and to start incrementally increasing the KCATA share of the money in May 2011. This ordinance meant the city would comply with the promises made to voters in the two earlier elections. Instead the city has violated the ordinance every year. KCATA is getting a smaller share of the fund than it did in 2010. The KCATA share has gone from 74% down to 71%.

1_2_comparison_again

Voters should understand that legally the city could trash Ordinance 100951 and totally ignore the two elections and give all the ½-cent transportation fund to roads and streetcars. Voters never get to vote on this money since it is taxing authority given to the city from the State of Missouri. That is why we approached the council in 2010 and tried to protect the bus service from encroachments from other projects by passing the ordinance. Up to this point the city has chosen to flagrantly ignore that ordinance.

In fact, the city manager is already saying he wants the council to change the ordinance. One possibility for changing the ordinance being openly discussed is to allocate $2 million to the streetcar off the top and let KCATA have 95% (or less) of what is left.

No matter how great it is to have a streetcar and give more money to roads, the bus system still has to carry the heavy load of transporting nearly 55,000 people daily to work and home and all their other transit trips. And KCATA ridership is increasing. Kansas City is huge geographically and it takes a lot of money to transport people over all these miles.  Continue to shrink the money, expect to shrink the service area and service level.

For a change, we would prefer to see KCATA fully funded and get MAX systems added to Prospect and North Oak, instead of having to cut service in a couple of years. There are consequences to the city’s actions.

The city council still has time to fix all of this. Do they have the will? Some of the council members do, such as Ed Ford and John Sharp. Please contact the mayor and the city council and let them know what you think about taking all this money away from the Metro.

Previous posts:

Action Alert! KCMO City Manager’s Budget Is Failing The Transit System

Speak Up to Restore KCATA Funding and Listen to KKFI To Get the Scoop

Lynn Horsley’s column in the KC Star http://www.kansascity.com/2013/02/08/4056689/bus-backers-worry-about-funds.html

Listen to Janet Rogers, co-founder of Transit Action Network discuss this issue on KKFI radio’s TellSomebody, hosted by Tom Klammer on Feb 5, 2013

http://tellsomebody.libsyn.com/city-manager-schulte-reneges-on-transit-funding-obligation

Contact Kansas City Mayor and City Council

Mayor’s office 816-513-3500 email Mayor@kcmo.org

Council office 816-513-1368

Go to http://kcmo.org/CKCMO/CityOfficials/CityCouncilOffice/index.htm for phone numbers and emails for specific council members

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KC Downtown Streetcar Open House – Feb 21 (To be re-scheduled due to snow)

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 20, 2013


Enjoy the first KC Downtown Streetcar Open House in Union Station’s Grand Hall. The event is hosted by the City of Kansas City.KC_streetcar

Detailed exhibits will be on display illustrating the two-mile route, including information about construction, station stops and the vehicle maintenance facility. No presentation will be made so visit anytime during meeting.

Construction is planned to start in late spring or early summer, so property owners, business owners and residents along the route are encouraged to attend the meeting and share their thoughts and concerns with representatives of the City and the consultant team.

Date and Time: Thursday, Feb 21 between 4 pm and 7 pm

Location:

Union Station,Grand Hall
30 W. Pershing Ave.
Kansas City, MO

For more information about the project, visit the Downtown Streetcar website at http://www.kcstreetcar.org for updates on the project and road closure and detour information.  You can also call the streetcar hotline at 816-822-3011.

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