Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Online Transit Forum – Candidates for Mayor of WYCO/KCK

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 19, 2013

UG logoTAN asked all of the candidates for Mayor of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas to answer questions about transit to help voters understand their positions on this critical issue. We appreciate candidates Janice Witt, Ann Murguia, Mark Holland and Nathan Barnes for talking the time to respond to our questionnaire and sharing their philosophy, vision and ideas on transit.

We have chosen questions on Transit Philosophy, Funding, Meeting Increased Transit Demand, KCATA, and Creating a Transit-Friendly Environment.

The whole document with all the responses can be downloaded at the end of the article. Be sure to send this article to citizens of Wyandotte County so they can be informed about the candidates’ positions.

Transit is a major issue in Wyandotte County since there is significant demand for a good transit system from the citizens.

The answers are given in the order TAN received them. We do not endorse a particular candidate but believe voters should be well-informed as to candidates’ knowledge of the subject and their positions. The responses are color coded in order to improve ease of reading and finding the response from a particular candidate. The candidates’ initials are used to identify their responses. JW=Janice Witt, AM=Ann Murguia, MH=Mark Holland, NB=Nathan Barnes

Section 1- Transit Philosophy

A. What do you see in the future for transit in Wyandotte County?

Janice Witt

Janice Witt
responses in black

JW – I see a beautiful transit system that is clean, efficient and respectful. One that is conducive for everyday riders to commute from and to any community or destination without trading their self- respect for a ride. I see beautiful, respectful and functional covered bus stops/landings with time and information accessible and powered by solar energy to maintain the positive green effects of the use of transit instead of personal transportation.

AM – We need to create the kind of public transportation system that incent ridership.   I think we are off to a good start with the $10 million grant we received to improve the State Avenue corridor, but we need to do more.

MH – I think we are going to have to be very creative in addressing the needs of our community.  State and Federal funding has been under attack, and these funds are essential to providing the level of service necessary to serve our community.  My hope is to improve access to transit.

I supported the “Complete Street” initiative that calls for more sidewalks.  Without access for people to walk to the bus from their neighborhoods, it becomes very challenging to increase ridership.

NB – Under my administration I see Wyandotte County a fully integrated system with more routes and bigger buses.

B.   Do you support continued county funding of public transit as an essential service throughout Wyandotte County? 

JW – Yes, without transit the small businesses in Wyco would have no means to acquire manpower other than personal transportation. Without transit the poor will remain in the cycle of poverty because of a lack of transportation. If they have no access to fresh groceries and further education, the cycle of poverty continues.  Without transit there will continue to be a drain on mental well-being, health outcomes and isolation issues that plaque Wyco.

Ann Murguia

Ann Murguia
responses in green

AM -Yes….many WYCO residents depend on public transportation to meet their daily needs.  The government needs to assist in developing a quality state of the art system that will create such demand, that over time, through ridership, will pay for itself.

MH – Yes.  I wish it were stronger, but I believe there will always be a need for a local match for State and Federal funds.

NB – Yes. It is a city and county issue and our city and county should address funding.

C.   Federal funding is dramatically decreasing for ALL transit. A decrease in State transit funding is also a possibility. Should Unified Government replace these lost funds, both capital and operating, in order to maintain the current level of transit service?

 JW – I believe that there should be a small percent sales tax added in KCK, so that we can build ourselves the transit system that we need to make our community mobile and viable to incoming business, homeowners and new adventures both into the Northeast and our entire community. Edwardsville, Turner, Bonner all of these surrounding communities that are considered any part of KCK should have access to the positive effects of mass transit. It helps us all in the long run. I also hold no aversion to a bi-state tax and joining the concept of a regional transportation authority to give smooth, efficient service to all of our communities. Why do I find this acceptable? Because right now as we speak, Schlitebahn has a proposal before our commission to tax an additional 2% sales tax to build on to their already subsidized private venture waterpark. This has ZERO benefit to the everyday citizen of Wyandotte County. It is a personal or Corporate business expense that is being added on the people who will then have to pay exorbitant fees to get into the water park even though they have paid for it twice now at the cost of our fair grounds which gave Free access to the people of this county to educational and social experiences. Unlike a bus system, which would give access for minimal fees to anyone who needed transportation hopefully anywhere in KCK, JOCO or KCMO.

AM –  I don’t think government is our only option when it comes to public transportation funding.  The philanthropic community has a lot of interest in seeing a more healthy Kansas City.  I have good relationships with this community and would hope to be able to work with them and private business to offset some of the costs associated with developing a quality transit system that over time could sustain itself.

Mark Holland

Mark Holland
responses in blue

MH – We are facing State and Federal funding cuts in numerous areas.  Transit is one that is heavily dependent on this funding.  It would be nice to say that we will not cut services, but the reality is that if this is not a national priority we will be hard pressed to replace the loss dollar for dollar.

NB – Yes.The transit system is currently under funded. The least we can do is to keep the funding going. I will take Wyandotte County from the welfare mentality to the understanding that it is our responsibility to fund basic transportation.

Section 2 – Funding

A.   Currently local transit funding in Wyandotte County comes out of General Revenue Funds.

1. What local transit funding mechanisms do you think are best for Wyandotte County?

JW – I believe that there should be a percent sales tax especially in the number one tourist destination in the state of Kansas. There must be some benefit to the citizens of this county.

AM – I think there needs to be new ideas in addressing funding for transit. This is a long-standing problem for governments across the metropolitan area and nationally.  As I said above, I don’t think government is our only option when it comes to public transportation funding.  The philanthropic community has a lot of interest in seeing a more healthy Kansas City.  Public transportation promotes a healthier lifestyle.  I would hope to be able to work with charitable organizations and private business to offset some of the costs associated with developing a quality transit system that over time could sustain itself.

MH – I think General Fund dollars are the best place for this fund.

Nathan Barnes

Nathan Barnes
responses in purple

NB – A dedicated sales tax.

2. Would you consider a small county-wide transit tax to help sustain the transit system Please explain your reasoning.

 JW – What I would consider is this, the bulk of the transit that is necessary at this moment involves the Legends area and transit for the dwindling population of the Northeast and other areas to get to the businesses in the West and the KU area. The specific serviced section of the community will bear the brunt of the cost over the long run every day by using the service and paying standard fees. It is my opinion that, the business districts that benefit are the areas that should bear the bulk of any percent of tax increase, as the citizens would also be included in the revenue from the increase in purchases made in that area. If a separate tax district could be utilized to ensure that the small businesses of our general community are not harmed by this increase I would not be against it. But my mind is open, this is an issue that needs to be at the forefront of conversation, but I need more information.

We are taxed to support abatements for corporations but never given the opportunity to support ourselves. I do not believe the people would have a problem with this if they could see and use the benefit.

AM – I think any time we talk about taxing the people in WYCO that needs to be placed on a voting ballot.

MH – That would not be my first choice.  When we unified the government 16 years ago, we brought a whole plethora of “special taxes” back into the General Budget.  I understand the thought that it looks like more of a priority if it stands alone, but I think it is unnecessarily cumbersome in annual budgeting process.

NB – Yes.With decreasing federal funds it is the only choice.

B.   Transit demand in Wyandotte County continues to increase.  How and where would you get additional local transit funding to meet the increasing demand?

 JW – Small percent tax approved by the citizenry.

 AM – I think it is simple supply and demand.  As transit demands increase our product will become better and ridership will increase and therefore revenue from riders will increase.

MH – I think this is where we need to be creative.  It is very difficult to put the cost on users, who in our particular community are often the least able to support it.  We need to continue tracking which lines are running at capacity and which ones are not.  Are there areas where we can expand call for service?  Are there areas where we can run smaller vehicles?  We need to keep in mind the goal of transit is to get people from point A to point B, not just to run buses.

NB – I will get additional local transit funding to meet the increasing demand from Sales Taxes.

C.   How will you work to increase Wyandotte County’s level of transit funding

1.    at the state level?

AM – On many occasions I have been successful in reaching across party lines and will use that experience to lobby for public transportation.

MH – We need to continue to lobby for State funding based on ridership and not on population.  This is one of the biggest challenges.  Transit money should follow the need, not the area.

2.    at the federal level?

AM – Again I have good relationships with our elected officials on the federal level that will allow my voice to be heard for the people of Wyandotte County.

MH – We need to continue to engage with regional lobbying efforts.  These collaborative conversations with the entire Metro area will yield far better results than if we go individually.  I think the ongoing success of KCATA is the best hope Wyandotte County has for more funding.

State and Federal

JW – The very best that I can! Those who know how this should be handled will give me guidance and I will follow their lead. I am not a micromanager. I believe that people gain the knowledge, skills and abilities to do the job that they are hired to do. As a manager I would ensure that we had the proper staffing with the proper tools to do the proper job and make the right decisions for the greater good of this community. It is my job to educate myself to their findings and support their position. In my opinion if I cannot trust them to do all of that, then I have failed as their leader. I would educate myself further, follow their lead since this would be their field and be support to good strong decisions on the local, state and federal levels.

NB – I plan to Lobby efforts at both state and federal.

Section 3 – Meeting increasing demand

A.   Areas such as Rosedale, with very limited transit service, are trying to get additional service to meet the needs of its residents, many of which are transit dependent.  What process should exist and/or what criteria should be met in order for residents to get new or expanded transit service?

JW – I would want more info and there is not enough time for me to make myself familiar enough to make a statement in section 3.

AM – I think we have many great opportunities in Rosedale specifically to improve transit in some very creative ways.  We already have a great relationship with University of Kansas and I definitely think involving them in discussions about public transportation can help improve services for that area of WYCO.  But do not forget that there are other areas that struggle to get their fair share of public transportation like the Turner area.  Those residents tax dollars pay for that service yet they receive nothing for it at this time.  This situation needs to be addressed as well.

MH – Again, creativity.  Is there a way to add call for service?  How can we partner through KCATA and the Jo, leveraging the proximity to KCMO and Johnson County?

NB – I must gain the true picture of the needs of the residents and then act on what is needed. Convene a meeting or meetings to address these individual concerns.

 B.   Route 101 will change to the Connex service later this year.  Will you make sure that the upgrade in service level is enough to alleviate the current overcrowded conditions, without negatively impacting other services?

JW – I would want more info and there is not enough time for me to make myself familiar enough to make a statement in section 3.

AM – As to the details of the routes, we hire professional transit staff that make those decisions.  These are not made at the Commission level.  I have confidence in our staff and their ability to manage over crowding without impacting other services they provide.

MH – Absolutely.  It looks like this improvement will make a huge difference.

NB – I pledge to aggressively pursue answers to address these concerns.

Section 4 – KCATA

A.   What characteristics would you look for in making appointments to the KCATA Board of Commissioners?

JW – I believe that anyone appointed to any commission should have a genuine interest in the community. Not just be there to fill a seat. I am looking for constant results from appointed commissions. If nothing is being changed. Nothing is being done, because no one is perfect and there is always room for improvement and we should be finding it by listening to the citizens. They will surely tell us the problems and maybe even how to fix it if we listen.

AM – I believe that the characteristics of the current Board members are what we need to maintain in the future.

MH – We need collaborative, regionally minded individuals who have a heart for all the benefits transit brings to the people and the environment.

NB – Knowledge of the needs and a passion for those that depend on public transportation

 B.   Unified Government currently contracts with KCATA for only 90 days at a time. This policy gives a negative impression regarding the stability of the transit system in the county.  What needs to happen to return to a full year contract like other municipalities?

JW – Committed long-term relationships based on honesty, respect and concern for the people, no exceptions. If we all care about the people that are riding on the transit including the drivers safety, comfort and health issues, there should be no room to have an issue. The bottom line is that as a business we all have to make money in order to maintain viability. But when the actual product is service and the people are the consumers of that product sometimes the measure for error and success becomes clouded by opinion, personality and politics-I think this is a mistake. I think we should set very specific service guidelines to service both the inside consumer and the outside consumer then let those perimeters establish a rock solid acceptable standard of service for us all. Including a long-term agreement with the KCATA so that the future and expectation for everyone is clear and the repercussions established, should those benchmarks not be met by either party. NO GAMES!

AM – This is a staff decision and I would need to consult with staff to better understand why we are contracting in this manner.

MH – This looks like a reasonable request.  I would need to speak with our team at the city to see why this policy is in place.

NB – An open discussion. Most commissioners are not aware of this.

 C.   Would you consider contracting with KCATA for all fixed route services? Please explain why or why not.

JW – I love the idea and we will have a Transit friendly environment and I believe that KCATA will be the organization to ensure that, that happens. However, I cannot say yes or no to this question at this time since there would have to be in my opinion an opportunity for local business to play a part…potentially managed by KCATA in the growth of transit in the area. It was the mini bus of my childhood that was a privately held company that actually brought transit back to the grasp of those of us country bumpkins that lived in the west in the early 80’s when there was no transit service available. I rode the minibus to and from school during a very specific period of my life. So…I cannot say that I would close small business access to All transit routes without looking further into what that would mean to this community and the potential of other small businesses relocating here to assist in transit service. My crystal ball is cloudy on that one, lol. Ask me again later after I do some research-my mind is always open to offer the best service possible to humanity.

AM – Again, this is a staff decision and I would need to consult with staff before making any changes.

MH – With the State and Federal spending cuts, I don’t think we can take anything off the table.  This would have serious considerations for our UG employees and I would not do anything without seeking assurances about their future.  Again, we need to be creative in how we serve the community.

NB – Once all of the information is presented to the Unified Government I would review the pros and cons of the issue and make a decision. I do believe that the current bus system in Wyandotte County should play some part in that system.

Section 5 – Creating a transit-friendly environment

What non-financial actions can be taken to create a more transit-friendly environment in

1.    Kansas City, Kansas?

MH – We are looking at residential developments in and around the new 7th street transit center downtown.  The more we can foster “transit friendly” development and encourage growth nearby, the better.  We are also looking for a major redevelopment at Indian Springs around the new transit center there.  I think the strategic location of this center automatically makes Indian Springs a new kind of destination.

NB – Regular updates to the powers that be.

 2.    Village West?

MH – Coordinating routes with businesses and restaurants to make sure the buses are running at the right times for opening and closing.  This makes the use of transit a more organic, and less onerous option for the employee.

NB-Make the case for why they should be a part of the discussions and the solution.

KCK and Village West

JW – Retraining in proper customer service and the emphasis on positive outcomes for the customers experience while in transit care. Service is a product. It must be fine tuned constantly to ensure good relationships and long-term viability of business ventures. Especially when the effects are of detriment to healthy lifestyles and a healthy planet. Many times the bus driver will be the only connection to the welfare of some riders. They need to be empowered to be safe consumers of their own product but have the authority to demand change to benefit the entire experience. I think answering the needs of the drivers, mechanics and service vendors of the buses will alleviate stressors that can cause frustration with a frustrated public.

AM – I currently use our transit system on occasion and I find it to be a very friendly environment.  However, I am sure there are always ways to improve and in order to know how to create a “more” friendly environment we need to ask the people using the current system on a regular basis.

Complete transcript:WYCOKCK transit forum for candidates 2013

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Rosedale Transit Meeting – Feb 19

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 18, 2013

Rosedale, a neighborhood in Kansas City, Kansas, is working to expand transit service on SW Boulevard in order to meet the needs of its community.

Feel free to come to the meeting and share information, make suggestions, or find out more about the project!

Rosedale Transit Meeting

Tuesday, February 19th from 5 pm – 6 pm

Rosedale Development Association • 1403 Southwest Blvd. Kansas City, KS 66103

Call (913) 677-5097 for more information

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Missouri May Put 1-cent Transportation Tax On The Ballot

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 18, 2013

Missouri recently introduced legislation, which would radically change the way the state collects and spends transportation funds. It could have a major impact on the prospects for transit, at least in the two major urban areas in the state.

The Proposal, Major Points:

  1. The legislation authorizes a state-wide 1-cent sales tax for ten years dedicated to transportation and subject to voter approval. [Polling indicated no support for an increase in the fuel tax. In fact the legislation and ballot measure would freeze the fuel tax at the present level for the ten-year period.]
  2. The sales tax will generate about $7.9 B over the ten-year period. 10% will be taken off the top and split evenly between cities (5%) and counties (5%) for new funds of about $79MM annually. This would represent about a 30% increase over current receipts from the fuel tax alone. $1.1B of the tax would be dedicated to rebuilding and adding a lane in each direction to I-70 between Independence and Wentzville.
  3. After funding Federal matches, MoDot would be left with about $5.5 B over the ten years. This would be distributed to each of the MoDot regions. The Kansas City Urban Region, essentially MARC’s boundaries, would be in line for $933MM over the period in NEW transportation funding.
  4. Cities, Counties and MoDot regions (MPO’s in urban areas) would have complete autonomy in how these funds are spent. There is no set aside for any particular mode (except for rebuilding I-70). In theory this is NOT a highway bill, but it will depend on the project selection process.

MOstateflagIs This for Real? How likely is it that the proposed legislation will get passed and approved by voters? We don’t know, but here is current data as of February 8. In the General Assembly the legislation had attracted 18 co-sponsors; a good indication of likely passage. Initial hearings are scheduled for the 19th and 20th of this month. The people we spoke to at MoDot were divided with one person calling passage a slam dunk and the other less sure. The legislation would simply allow a public vote on the proposal so how likely is the measure to win at the polls? Polling done in December of 2012 related to transportation needs showed that 52% of likely voters would approve the measure. This rises to 54% if MoDot proposes a specific list of projects – hence MoDot’s “listening sessions.” The legislature and Governor are constitutionally prohibited from using the funds for anything other than transportation. It is generally believed by professional campaign organizers that 54% is not a healthy margin of support, so a positive outcome at the polls is most certainly not assured; but, nevertheless possibly within reach. Some people feel these percentages are optimistic when general state needs are considered rather than just transportation needs.

Action Needed There are two ways transit advocates and organizations need to be involved over the coming months:MOTM

1. The legislation is by no means fully baked so there is an opportunity to shape it (maybe “tweak” is a better word) to transit constituents’ benefit.

There are still many issues yet to be determined by the legislation. These include, among others, whether these funds can cover operations or whether they are exclusively for infrastructure development and how decisions are to be made about projects, which run through multiple MoDot regions such as the Amtrak route.

A concern for transit advocates is that “tweaking” of the legislation over the next couple of months might result in restrictions on the use of funds for non-highway modes. It will be important for transit advocates to stay informed about the legislation as it makes its way through the legislative process.

2. MoDot will hold “listening sessions” around the state to update the “Missouri On The Move” (MOTM) long-range plan. The report from the listening sessions will not be done in time to inform the project listing for the general assembly. The listening sessions are for the MoDot’s long-range transportation plan, not necessarily for the project list related to this possible legislation. We expect MoDot districts will make up the lists for the legislation with MPO/RPC input if they assert themselves.

The Kansas City area listening sessions are scheduled for March 12-13-14, locations to be determined. Transit advocates, in concert with MARC, transit agencies, and local and county governments should set priorities and be at the table along with highway interests for these sessions. Getting projects on the list is crucial. In the event voters pass the proposal, however it’s prospects may seem today, that list will represent the State’s transportation plan for the next ten years and be difficult to amend.

Areas to ponder:

This proposal represents a shift in the state from user fees to dedicated sales tax revenue for new transportation funds.

At this point, there is no pot of money reserved for transit and passenger rail.

Gasoline is exempt from the sales tax, while current gas tax is among the lowest in the country – #45.

Sales tax is often used as a revenue stream for cities and counties and a state sales tax would impact the ability of local municipalities to pass local sales tax initiatives.

There is a prohibition against tolling.

Rural I-70 would be funded statewide but urban portions have to be funded from district allocations.

Upcoming meetings:

The first legislative committee hearings in Jefferson City on the 1-cent sales tax for transportation funding:

Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 12:00 pm to 2pm in House Hearing Room 7

Sen. Schatz (chair of the House Transportation Committee) scheduled a full committee hearing on HJR 23, sponsored by Rep. Dave Hinson.

Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 8:00 am to 10 am in Senate Hearing Room 1

Sen. Kehoe (chair of the Senate Transportation Committee) scheduled a full committee hearing on his bill, SJR 16.

Contact the offices of Rep. Dave Hinson (573) 751-0549, and/or Sen. Mike Kehoe (573) 751-2076 if you want to attend and/or testify on the bills

Transportation Funding Proposals can be found at the links below:

MOTM meetings:

Chief Engineer Dave Nichols (number 2 man at MoDOT) will make a presentation on MOTM at the Total Transportation Policy Committee (TTPC) Tuesday, February 19 at 9:30 at MARC.

Modot MOTM listening events – Per MoDot, Kansas City meetings are March 12-13-14, locations not determined yet

More information is available at:

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KCK Mayoral Candidates Forum – Feb 13

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 12, 2013

armourdaleThe Armourdale Renewal Association is holding a political platform for the mayoral candidates of Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas

Date and time: Feb 13, 5 pm – 7pm


Armourdale Community Center
730 Osage
Kansas City, KS

Bus service: Route 107

The public is invited and encouraged to attend.  The venue holds 70 people. Transit advocates could ask candidates questions about making improvements to the transit system in Wyandotte County, plans to maintain or increase funding even if federal or state funds dry up, and how will they make Village West more transit-friendly.

TAN is having an online transit forum with the KCK mayoral candidates, similar to our 2011 mayoral forum for KCMO. We have already sent the questionnaire to the candidates and we will post their responses next week.

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Public Hearings On JCT Fare Increase – Feb 12 and 14

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 11, 2013

Johnson County Transit is proposing a fare increase effective April 15, 2013. Public meetings are being held this week.


Tuesday, February 12 from 7 am to 8 am 
Thursday, February 14  from 5: 30 pm  to 6:30 pm


Sylvester Powell Community Center (meeting room C)
6200 Martway
Mission, KS 66202

Additional comments can be made through March 15 by:

Phone: 913-715-8255 to leave a recorded message


Proposed Fare increase Comments
Johnson County Transit
1701 West 56 Highway
Olathe, Kansas 66061

 Proposed Fare Increases

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Proposed cash fares increases are 50 cents for K-10 and 25 cents for most other routes.

There is an anomaly though because the proposed cash fare increase for Route 812/Jo Flex is $1.25, which is significantly more than the other fare increases. Low-income people living in HUD section 8 housing in Overland Park mainly use this route to get groceries, medicines and other basic needs.  We discussed this route in our Title VI claim dealing with the service cuts. Johnson County does not classify this route as low-income but TAN disagrees. This fare increase appears to place a disproportionate burden on the low-income people who use this route.

Here are the percentage increases to the base cash fares.

K-10 has a 16.7% increase – JCT has identified the K-10 route as both a minority and low-income route

Most Jo routes have a 12.5% increase

Route 812/Jo Flex  has a 125% increase

Equity – Although it is obvious that JCT is proposing that all the non K-10 routes have the same base fare of $2.25, we are concerned that this could create an Environmental Justice issue. We will have to see if the FTA decides that Route 812/Jo Flex is indeed a low-income route.  Different modes of transit service may have different fares without being discriminatory.  Route 812/Jo Flex mainly serves low-income people two days a week for 4 hours, so it hardly seems fair to increase their base fare 125% just to make it the same as the standard and commuter express routes for daily commuters. For riders of Route 812/Jo Flex over 60 years old, they can get relief from the high increase if they purchase a 10 ride reduced fare pass. However, younger low-income people will feel the full brunt of this increase.

Process – We wonder when public meetings will be held in the KCK or KCMO areas that JCT serves?  How do riders or potential riders using a reverse commute and needing a northbound bus after 6:30 pm, when this meeting ends, get to KCK or KCMO using transit? We hope there was a public meeting in Lawrence. Inadequate public participation was the basis of our Title VI claim for the service cuts and we see similar problems with the process for the fare increase.

Fare Structure – We question the wisdom of continuing a fare structure under which very long morning / evening commuter trips from Gardner or Olathe via I-35 have the same fare as much shorter “errand” trips on local streets, such as the 75th Street – Quivira and Metcalf – Shawnee Mission Parkway routes.  KCATA has two categories of routes — regular ($1.50 fare) and commuter (generally $3.00).

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KKFI EcoRadio Discusses KC Transit Issues with TAN on Feb 11

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 10, 2013

KKFI 90.1 FMEcoRadio on KKFI Community Radio, 90.1 FM,  discusses transit issues in the Kansas City region on Monday, Feb 11 at 6 pm with TAN co-founder, Ron McLinden.

From EcoRadio, “America’s car culture must end soon if we’re going to avoid catastrophic climate disruption, and it will be forced to end over time as global oil production peaks and begins to decline, driving up fuel prices. We can’t expect Kansas Citians to drive a lot less until we give them safe and comfortable alternatives, though. Host John Kurmann will talk with Ron McLinden of the KC Transit Action Network about plans for streetcars running between the City Market and Crown Center, commuter rail in Jackson County, the City of Kansas City, MO’s failure to fully fund bus service, and how we can make our regional transit system easier to use.”


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

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 1, 2013

This Saturday tell your Council Members and the Mayor to restore funding to KCATA as intended by Ordinance 100951.METRO logo (Read our previous article for Ordinance details-see link below)

Saturday, February 2
9am to 11am
Robert J. Mohart Multi-Purpose Center (auditorium)
3200 Wayne, KCMO 64109

kcmo_big_logoThere are only three public budget hearings about the city manager’s proposed budget. Tell your Council Members and the Mayor that the failure to “incrementally increase” the KCATA budget toward 95% of the available money is unacceptable and against the wishes of the voters.

People depend on this service for all aspects of their lives including getting to work and school, buying groceries and medicines, and going to the doctor. The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) announced that 2012 Metro ridership exceeded 16.1 million trips, the second highest annual ridership in nearly two decades. The Metro is an essential service.

The city has not “incrementally increased” the percentage that KCATA is receiving despite what the ordinance instructs the city manager to do.  KCATA received 74% when the ordinance was passed in 2010. Funding for KCATA has to be at 95% by May 2014.  The city manager’s budget is only proposing 71% for KCATA, which is less than when the ordinance was passed. If the KCATA budget was “incrementally increased” after the ordinance, then it should receive close to 88% in this budget.

The beginning of 2011, right after the ordinance was passed, TAN held an on-line forum for the mayoral election. Before the ordinance was passed the city was diverting over $5 million to non-transit uses.  Here is Candidate Sly James’ comment about that situation:

“I’ve been a strong advocate for public transit and will continue to be as mayor.  However, we need to restore the public’s trust in City Hall before we ask for additional tax dollars.  The city’s plan to withhold $5.4 million in tax revenue intended for KCATA is simply unacceptable and represents a systemic problem with the way our city conducts business.  Withholding funds that have been allocated by voters for a specific purpose continues to breed the type of widespread distrust of City Hall that must be fixed.  Our budget must always reflect the priorities of the citizens of Kansas City, not simply the priorities of our bureaucracy.”

 Message to Mayor James – This proposed budget has increased the amount being diverted to non-transit uses to $6 million. KKFI 90.1 FM

If the city doesn’t follow the ordinance, KCATA will need to subsidize the city’s bus service $5 million this year to maintain this service level.  KCATA continues to provide more transit service than the city is paying for. KCATA is using up its emergency reserve account to pick up the difference. KCMO should stop dragging its feet and use the taxes the way the voters intended.

Listen to KKFI Community Radio 90.1 FM

To hear more about this issue, TAN advocate Janet Rogers will be a guest on two KKFI radio shows to talk about what is happening to KCATA funding and why the proposed budget needs to be changed.

Saturday February 2 – Sharon Lockhart’s Every Woman between 3-4 pm

Tuesday, February 5 – Tom Klammer’s Tell Somebody between 6-7 pm

Previous TAN article: Action Alert! KCMO City Manager’s Budget Is Failing The Transit System

Opportunities to speak up at 2013-14 Public Budget Hearings

Saturday, February 2
9am to 11am
Robert J. Mohart Multi-Purpose Center (auditorium)
3200 Wayne, KCMO 64109

Saturday, February 9
9am to 11am
Northland Neighborhoods Inc.
4420 NE Chouteau Trafficway, KCMO 64117

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

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Time To Sign Up – National Smart Growth Conference with a Kansas City Flavor – Feb 7-9

Posted by Transit Action Network on January 2, 2013

NPSG logo

 New Partners Conference

This year, the New Partners Conference makes its way to America’s heartland—Kansas City, Missouri.

New Partners says “Smart-growth development – compact, walkable, and diverse – is attractive to developers, investors, local governments and communities because it offers new opportunities for economic growth that’s also environmentally sustainable. The 2013 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference offers lots of opportunities to learn about smart growth and economic success.”

The 12th annual New Partners conference will explore practical strategies for identifying and overcoming barriers to more sustainable development in the Midwest and the rest of the nation.

The three-day conference program will include more than 90 sessions and close to 400 speakers. The multidisciplinary program includes breakout sessions, workshops and training sessions.  It  features cutting-edge policies and programs, projects, and best practices, as well as strategies and implementation tools that address the challenges of implementing smart growth development principles.

15 optional tours of local model projects

Don’t just talk about smart growth – come to the conference and see it! Beyond the great sessions, New Partners also offers 15 optional tours of local model projects on Thursday morning and afternoon and Sunday morning (Feb 10th) .

On Thursday morning, Feb 7th, KCATA, the FTA, and Transit Action Network present:

Tour 3–Kansas City’s Low-Cost/ High-Benefit BRT – The MAX

MAX brt

Full  Tour List
  • Tour1–Kansas City, Kansas:Melting Pot in“The Dotte”
  • Tour2–What 1893 KC Can Tell Us about Our American Cities Today
  • Tour3–Kansas City’s Low-Cost/ High-Benefit BRT – The MAX
  • Tour4–A Look at Marlborough: A Community Focused on Holistic Solutions
  • Tour5–Green Impact Zone:A Model of  Concentrated Capacity Building
  • Tour6–Global Trade and Local Community: A Tour of Argentine Neighborhoods
  • Tour 7–First Suburban Redevelopment Strategies in the Kansas City Metro
  • Tour8–Development Tools…Historic Preservation, the Arts and Infrastructure
  • Tour9–18th & Vine Jazz District:A Walk through the Past into the Future
  • Tour10–Rain to Recreation:Lenexa’s Strategy for Stormwater Management
  • Tour11–Kansas City Municipal Farm:Urban Agriculture and Sustainable Transformation
  • Tour12–KC Regional Solar Installations
  • Tour13–Kansas City Walk Audit with Walkability Guru Dan Burden
  • Tour14–Smart Growth Can Be Fun:City Market, Food Trucks, Power & Light District, Crossroads
  • Tour15–Distributing Local, Good Food: The Good Natured Family Farms Experience

Local Sessions

­   Regional Equity Network
   Scenario Planning Tools (combines local Envision Tomorrow examples with examples from other regions)
­   How Midwest Cities Use EECBG (includes Dennis Murphy of KCMO)
­   Good Movement (includes KC examples as well as examples from other parts of the country)
­   Managing school closings (includes KCMO as well as other communities outside the metro area)

There are also a number of Midwest sessions that do not necessarily involve the KC region.

Special Features of the Conference

  • Technology Fair: An Interactive Demonstration of Public Engagement Tools for Smart Planning
  • New Partners Takes the “Parklet” Indoors!
  • The Doctor Is In – the Midwest: EPA’s Smart Growth Prescriptions to Create Sustainable Communities

Sessions will be at the Kansas City Convention Center, with guest rooms across the street at the Marriott Kansas City Downtown Hotel.

Come join us in this process by making your reservation to attend, today!

Conference Brochure

Conference Website & Registration

Registration Deadline: The registration deadline is Friday, January 18, 2013. Registrations will be accepted after this date if space is available, and a $50 late fee will apply. All walk-ins will also include a $35 “walk in” fee (in addition to the late fee).

The official hotel room rate for the group is $119 (single/double) until January 14, 2013 at 5:00pm CDT. After that date, the group rate is subject to availability and is not guaranteed.

PRE-CONFERENCE Wednesday Workshop

Sustainable Neighborhoods, Thriving Residents: Strategies for Building Equitable Communities
■ February 6 • 1:00-6:30 p.m.

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KC Streetcar Party Video

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 14, 2012

Transit Action Network shares Kansas City’s excitement over the success of the streetcar election. It has taken a long time and a lot of work but Kansas City will finally get rail and the return of streetcars. Receiving 63% of the vote for the sales tax and 62% for the property tax is a huge victory. This election is a major historic event for Kansas City. Congratulations to everyone who worked on this project and voted for the streetcar!

Watch the election party video and hear the full presentations by Mayor James and Councilmen Russ Johnson and Jim Glover. There is a lot of excitement about the direction of the city.


Matt and David in St. Louis learning how to pass a transit ballot initiative, June 2011


Matt, Janet and David at the CFTE conference, June 2011

Nearly two  years ago we went to lunch with David Johnson and Matthew Staub and suggested they start a dedicated downtown advocacy group to fight for creating a Transportation Development District, TDD, and funding the streetcar. In April 2011, we went with David to the Downtown Neighborhood Association to talk about the streetcar and using the TDD legislation. In June 2011, David,  Matt, TAN advocate Janet Rogers and other Kansas City transit advocates all went to St. Louis for a conference on “How to Pass a Transit Ballot Initiative” hosted by the Center for Transportation Excellence. After that David and Matt were up and running with Streetcar Neighbors.  Little did we know they would do such a great job to make the streetcar a reality, but we certainly believed they were the right people for the job.

Other transit advocates wanting to expand the streetcar into their neighborhoods are already learning from the Streetcar Neighbors model – start early, identify the potential YES voters and get out the vote.

If you missed the Election Watch Party, you can watch it here!

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Attend the Streetcar Election Watch Party Today

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 12, 2012

kcmo_big_logoThe Kansas City Streetcar election ended last night at 5:00 pm.  565 ballots were received. The Election Board counts and certifies the ballots today.DTSC

Streetcar Neighbors, in collaboration with the Downtown Council,  are hosting an Election Watch Party today.

Where: 1617 Event Space at Nara  1617 Main Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64108

When: 4 pm to 8 pm

At 4:30 pm Mayor Sly James is scheduled to announce the results of the election.

We expect this announcement to be a major event in the history of Kansas City . Be there!

Facebook event page: Streetcar Election Watch Party

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MAP-21 Webinar Tuesday Dec 4

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 3, 2012

MAP-21, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, was signed into law by President Obama on July 6, 2012.  MAP-21 is the first long-term highway authorization enacted since 2005 and it funds surface transportation programs at over $105 billion for fiscal years (FY) 2013 and 2014. It expires September 30, 2014. The new law is having a huge impact on transit programs. The FTA is holding a webinar tomorrow and recommends it to transit advocates. The following is their invitation.The Federal Transit Administration

MAP-21 Stakeholder Outreach

The Federal Transit Administration Invites You to Participate in



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

1:30pm-3:00pm (Eastern)

View the Live Webcast on Dec. 4:

What’s Covered

  • MAP-21 Overview
  • Outline of the FY 2013 Apportionment Notice
  • Key Provisions and Interim Guidance
  • FY 2013 Apportionment Tables
  • Next Steps – Future Implementation

Who Should Participate

  • FTA Grantees and Subrecipients
  • Metropolitan Planning Organizations
  • Public Transportation Advocates

No RSVP necessary. Please review the Webcast Testing Instructions provided.

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Jackson County AA Study Team Will Reveal Recommendations Tomorrow

Posted by Transit Action Network on November 26, 2012

Tomorrow, November 27, consultant recommendations from the Jackson County Commuter Corridors Alternatives Analysis will be presented to stakeholders in the morning, and to the public that afternoon.

 Transit consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), guided by Mid-America Regional Council, Jackson County, Kansas City, and Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, has been studying commuter needs in three corridors for nearly three years.  Work on the I-70 and Rock Island corridors is about complete, while work on the third corridor, US-71, got started late and is farther behind.

Here’s what we expect tomorrow:

[1] – Commuter rail is in.  Commuter rail will be recommended in the I-70 corridor since the underlying motivation for the AA was to find a way to make commuter rail workable.

[2] – Union Station is out.  Union Station is out and Third and Grand is back in as the western terminus for commuter rail from eastern Jackson County. This is the site of the current KCATA park-and-ride lot and the end of the MAX and future Downtown Streetcar lines.  Jackson County tried to work with Kansas City Terminal Railway to get access to Union Station, but latest indications are that KCT has not been interested in a capacity analysis on their tracks to see if it could be made to work — not even if Jackson County pays for the study.  Union Station has been the preferred terminus from the beginning, so we expect to hear that some day commuter rail might go there.  Realistically, that isn’t likely if hundreds of millions of dollars are spent going to Third and Grand.

 [3] – No CEI.  We had anticipated that the study would include a Cost-Effectiveness Index (CEI) for each rail corridor.  However, indications are that it won’t.  The CEI is a standard measure of costs and benefits (and thus of relative merit) used by the Federal Transit Administration in evaluating projects that compete for federal funding.  Omission of this measure is disappointing in light of the emphasis PB’s Shawn Dikes put on it at the first stakeholder meeting.  A rule of thumb in transit studies is that following FTA procedures is a good indication of whether a project makes sense – whether FTA funding is to be sought or not.

We suspect the Study Team knows without doing the calculations that commuter rail in this corridor isn’t cost-effective by FTA standards, and just doesn’t want to release unfavorable information – even though more than $1.2 million has been spent on the study.  Our preference is to have the CEI as an objective comparison to recent commuter rail projects in other cities, and to thus have a better-informed electorate.  Thus, we’re disappointed that PB hasn’t stayed true to its original focus on the importance of the CEI number.

 [4] – There is political and popular support for transit.  Unlike in 2007, there is political will to take a transit and trails package to the voters, even if we have to pay locally for most of any rail proposal.  The AA might not support federal funding for rail, but people do a lot of things subjectively, and there’s a widely held perception that the Kansas City Region should have rail.  Commuter rail might still be five years or more away – detailed environmental studies related to impacts on Kessler Park plus construction will take time.

 [5] – The Package.  We don’t expect to find out much tomorrow about the comprehensive package Jackson County will ultimately take to the voters late next year, but it’s safe to say it will include something for everyone:

  • One line for commuter rail.
  • A hefty trails plan that includes the old Rock Island right-of-way as a connection to the cross-state Katy Trail.
  • Upgraded express bus service with more frequent peak hour trips, plus at least a few midday trips.
  • New transit routes to connect the various cities, especially in Eastern Jackson County.
  • Something significant for Kansas City.  The city already pays for the region’s highest level of transit service, including two popular BRT routes, a Downtown Streetcar line expected to begin construction in 2013, and more than a dozen routes that operate 7 days a week.  Jackson County has been talking about BRT on Prospect, and we’re interested to see what else the County has planned to entice KCMO residents.

Tuesday is the day to watch.  The Stakeholder Advisory Panel will meet at MARC at 8:00 am to hear and respond to the recommendations for the corridors, followed by the Open House for the public at 140 Walnut in River Market between 4:00 and 6:00 pm.

So there you have it – what we think we know.  We’re willing to be proven wrong, of course.  But we can promise you one thing:  It’s going to be One Interesting Tuesday.

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Jackson County Transit Studies Open House Nov. 27

Posted by Transit Action Network on November 21, 2012

Click to Enlarge

Join us at the last open house for the  Jackson County Commuter Corridors Alternatives Analysis, which covers the  I-70 and Rock Island Corridors. The last Stakeholder Advisory Panel meeting is being held the morning of Nov. 27 and this public gathering is on the same evening.  Learn about the final recommendations being made toward determining an LPA, “Locally Preferred Alternative”  and provide your input for the Partnership Team.

Where: River Market Event Place
            140 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO
When: Anytime between 4 pm and 6 pm on Nov 27, 2012

This open house provides information on all three corridors being studied; I-70, Rock Island and US 71. The US 71 Transit Study is ongoing.

There will be prizes and giveaways, too!

TAN advocates Janet Rogers and Mark McDowell have enjoyed serving on the JCCC AA Stakeholder Advisory Panel and they continue to serve on the Stakeholder Advisory Panel for the  US 71 Transit Study.

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Registration Open -12th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference, February 7-9, 2013

Posted by Transit Action Network on October 12, 2012

Registration is now open for the 12th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference, February 7-9, 2013 in Kansas City, MO.

The multi-disciplinary program includes over 90 plenaries, breakouts, workshops and trainings, and will feature cutting-edge policies and programs, projects, best practices, as well as strategies and implementation tools that address the challenges of implementing smart growth development principles.

KCATA, FTA, and Transit Action Network are sponsoring the tour  Low Cost/High Benefit BRT – The Kansas City MAX. Be sure to attend the conference, sign up for this tour on the MAX and learn how to implement a MAX system, including equitable development, environmental justice issues, planning, design, engineering and funding strategies.

Other conference features include:

  • 15 tours of local model projects;
  • Coordinated networking opportunities;
  • Professional Continuing Education Accreditation;
  • Additional optional pre-conference workshops and tours;
  • So much more!

The official hotel room rate for our group is $119 (single/double) until January 14, 2013 at 5:00pm CDT. After that date, the group rate is subject to availability and is not guaranteed.

To make your reservations at the Marriott Kansas City Downtown Hotel, call 1-877-303-0104 and indicate that you are attending the New Partners Conference. You can also make your New Partners Conference hotel reservations online through  Marriott Kansas City Downtown Hotel Reservations. 

Visit  for more details on the conference program, tours, special events and opportunities, featured speakers, travel and hotel information, local attractions, and to REGISTER NOW!

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Attend the KC Downtown Streetcar Authority Meeting – Sept 26

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 25, 2012

The KC Downtown Streetcar Authority meetings are open to the public. Feel free to attend and hear the discussions.

Next meeting:

When: Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012, 11-12:30 p.m.
Where: Helzberg Auditorium, Central Library, 10th and Main, Kansas City MO.
The Authority will start discussions about the fare structure and choosing an operator.

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Attend Johnson County Transportation Council Meeting Sept. 18 – 5:30 pm

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 14, 2012

The Johnson County Transportation Council meeting will discuss the REVISED proposed eliminations and reductions to service, effective Jan 2, 2013.  A public comment section is on the agenda. Please attend and make your feelings known about the proposed changes. The council changed its regular meeting time in response to comments received about the service reductions. JCTC wants to hear from you.

Johnson County Transportation Council Meeting

Where: Sylvester Powell Community Center
6200 Martway in Mission
Kansas 66202
When: Sept 18th @ 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Meeting packet agenda JCTCpacket20120918

Revised Proposal for Eliminations and Reductions JCTC20120814ServiceReductionRec

Previous blog article JCT Releases Revised Proposal for Cuts – Save The JO

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Attend Forum on Transit at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church – Sunday, Sept 16 at 10am

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 14, 2012

The Sunday morning Forum at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church is well-known and respected as a great place to learn about and discuss major issues in the community.  The All Souls mission for the Forum is “to afford a platform for the discussion of significant issues, especially those which involve ethical values in the contemporary world.”

The Forum is free and open to the public. This Sunday’s presentation is:

Where Do We Go From Here?

Public transit in the KC metro area and the controversies surrounding it

by Janet Rogers, co-founder of Transit Action Network

 All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church
4501 Walnut Street
Kansas City, Mo. 64111

Forum starts at 10 a.m.

Janet will provide an overview of the current state of transit in the KC Region, the near term vision for transit including the Downtown Streetcar and the Jackson County’s comprehensive transit vision, controversies plaguing transit and a long-term perspective on where we go from here.

According to KKFI 90.1FM radio: “The All Souls Unitarian Universalist Forum, Kansas City’s longest ongoing conversation, has offered a platform for the discussion of significant issues since 1943. Guest speakers typically focus on issues of political, social justice, moral, educational and artistic significance. Each presentation is followed by questions and discussion.”

KKFI 90.1FM broadcasts the forums on Thursdays at noon.  The broadcasts are several weeks behind the actual presentation.

Forum, September 16, 10 a.m., Bragg Auditorium

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KC Downtown Streetcar And The Funding Election

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 29, 2012

If you live in the newly created downtown Transportation Development District (TDD) get ready to pick up you next ballot to vote for funding the downtown streetcar. The TDD board decided on another mail-in election, just like the first election.

Click to enlarge TDD

The second election consists of two questions.

The first question is for the 1-cent retail sales tax.

The second question is for special assessments on property:

  • Residential property — 70 cents per $100 of assessed value
  • Property for non-profits — 40 cents per $100 of property assessed between $300,000 and $50 million
  • Commercial property — 48 cents per $100 of assessed value
  • Municipal (city) property — $1.04 per $100 of assessed value
  • Commercial surface parking lots — fee of 15 cents per space per day

You need to vote yes on both questions. Both questions have to pass for a successful outcome.

Important dates and times:

  • August 31 @ 8 am  – Ballot request period starts. Request ballot from Jackson County Courthouse (or print it from the Judge’s Ruling document below)
  • October 2 @ 5 p.m. Deadline to return completed ballot request and proof of voter registration
  • October 30 – Ballots mailed
  • December 11 @ 5 pm – Ballots due at Jackson County Courthouse

Attend Streetcar Neighbors Ballot Application Breakfast this Friday, August 31 at 7 a.m. at LATTeLAND – 12th St.

The TDD Board consists of Mayor Sly James, Port Authority Chair George Wolf, residential property owner Matthew Staub, and commercial property owner Jeff Krum (CFO of Boulevard Brewing Company). Mayor James and Matthew Staub are co-chairs of the TDD Board.

The Kansas City Streetcar Authority, formed on Aug. 3, consists of downtown stakeholders and city appointees. It’s role is contracting streetcar operations and consulting on remaining engineering and construction activities with Public Works.

As soon as the second election is final, the city can issue bonds and start construction. Operation is planned for 2015.

Judge’s Ruling: KC Streetcar Order for Funding Election

The ballot application is Exhibit B of the Judge’s Ruling. Print, fill out and return the ballot request by 5 p.m. on October 2, 2012 along with proof of voter registration to:

Jackson County Court Administrator
Attn: TDD Ballot Application
415 East 12th Street, Third Floor, Room 303
Kansas City, MO 64106

Proof of voter registration can be a current copy of your voter registration card or go to and print proof of registration using the “Check Your Voter Status” box.

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JCT Releases Revised Proposal for Cuts – Save The JO

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 28, 2012

Johnson County Transit (JCT) has released a Revised JCT Service Reductions Aug 14,2012 report for eliminations and reductions to its transit system.

Summary of the revised proposal:

Eliminate five routes (instead of nine)
Reduce/combine service on the four other routes that were proposed for elimination
Make additional schedule modifications on four other routes based on comments and service efficiencies.

Here are the original 9 routes slated for eliminations with some of our comments. Review the JCT report for additional information. Keep in mind that JCT is still reviewing the routes and could make more changes.

Routes Originally Proposed for Elimination

Three Routes Eliminated Totally
Route 676-P – Paola/Spring Hill/Olathe Eliminating this route and Route 816 will leave these communities and seniors without any transit. The Special Edition does not operate in Spring Hill and Paola.
Route 810 – DeSoto FlexRide This change will leave this community and seniors without any transit. The Special Edition does not operate in DeSoto.
Route 816 – Spring Hill Shuttle Eliminating this route and Route 676 will leave this community and seniors without any transit. The Special Edition does not operate in Spring Hill.
Eliminate 667-R and 669-I and combine with 546-D into one new route
Route 546-D – Johnson/Quivira, Route 677-R – Downtown/Olathe, Route 669-I – KCK/Lenexa/Olathe Eliminate current routes I, R and D but combine them into a new Route 546-D. The new Route 546-D would have only 9 trips instead of the current 16. The northern end would be in KCK. The southern end is usually at 116th and Renner. See the proposed map. One trip extends south to 127th & Mur-Len (Villa St. Francis) to serve 7:00-3:30 workday (currently served by Route 669/I) One trip extends to Ridgeview to serve 8:00-5:00 workday  (currently served by Route 677/R
Keep routes instead of eliminating them; make significant service reductions.
Route 66-E – Nall/Downtown – Reduce from 4 to 2 trips This reduces service between Johnson County and Wyandotte counties. This is the only JO service that goes to KU Med. Routes with only one morning and one evening trip are bound to fail. The national transit-consulting firm Nelson Nygaard recommends at least 6 trips (3 each way) to make a successful commuter route. If they must reduce service, JCT needs to consider other options in order to keep the four trips.
Route 672-M – JoCo/Downtown Midday – Keep but eliminate Metcalf portion of route The route would travel from Mission to OPM on Shawnee Mission Parkway, I-35, and US-69, instead of using Metcalf and 95th. This re-routing should save 10-15 minutes per trip. Transfers to Metcalf destinations can be made via 856 in Mission. South of Oak Park Mall, the route would remain unchanged. Downtown employees who want additional midday flexibility could take MAX to the Plaza and transfer to 856, or to Waldo and transfer to 875.
Route 812 JO Flex– Reduce from 3 days to 2 days This change is better than eliminating the route.

Transit Action Network knows that JCT is trying to combine routes and provide as much transit as possible for its current riders given the budgetary restrictions and instructions from the County Commissioners. We are also aware that unless the County makes significant budget changes, all of these routes and more may be eliminated in 2014.

click to enlarge

Below is the Commission’s transit priority list that JCT is directed to implement over the next two years as a result of a reduction in federal and state funds.

The Board of County Commissioners Transit priorities (in order of importance):

  • Protect the most vulnerable county residents by maintaining Special Edition and SWIFT services.
  • Support TIGER investments by maintaining service on the Metcalf and Shawnee Mission Parkway corridor
  • Maintain I-35 Xpress (Bus on Shoulder Routes)
  • Maintain K-10 Connector
  • Continue Local Services and Local Links

Our concern is the county’s lack of commitment to developing a full service transit system. In terms of transit, Johnson County thinks like a small city instead of a big wealthy county. Blue Springs, Missouri has a population of slightly over 50,000 people. For transit it normally considers an OATS bus for seniors and the disabled and a few commuter express buses as sufficient, although Blue Springs is  working very hard to get commuter rail. Johnson County, with a population of 544,000, has stated a position that supports a similar low level of bus transit, with one exception. They want to keep the new Metcalf/Shawnee Mission Parkway and 75th Street/Quivira CONNEX routes. So do we, but these routes need to be paid for with new county funds instead of transferring funds from the current transit system.  Johnson County accepted a $10.7 million TIGER grant from the federal government for improvements along the M/SMP corridor, and they would have to return the money if they cancelled these routes. Yet the county refuses to add new money to the transit budget to replace the three-year start up money the federal government gave them for operating expenses on these routes.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Ed Eilert complains about the cost per rider and farebox recovery ratio on some of these routes, yet he knows that the main CONNEX service has far worse performance numbers than nearly all of the regular routes they are proposing to eliminate, such as Routes 669-I, 667-E, 672-M and the JO Flex.

Routes originally proposed for elimination Example: Farebox recovery ratio
672-M 17%
669-I 15%
667-E 14%
JO Flex 11%
Major CONNEX Route – protected
556 Metcalf/Plaza 9%
856 Metcalf/Plaza Flex 7%

The disingenuous nature of the Commission’s priorities is very concerning. Providing transit for seniors is at the top of their list, yet eliminating the local service in Spring Hill, Paola and DeSoto will leave their elderly populations stranded once again, since the Special Edition bus doesn’t service those areas.

The county won’t eliminate all of the proposed routes at this point in time or they might be in violation of Title VI of the Federal Civil Rights Act. The Act says if you receive federal funds, you can’t eliminate service to minority and low-income populations in a discriminatory manner. Of the original proposed eliminations, routes 546-D – Johnson/Quivira, 667-E – Nall/ Downtown, and 669-I – KCK/Lenexa/Olathe have significant service to areas with higher percentages of minority and low-income populations. These routes would be eliminated based on the Commission’s directions to JCT.

You still have time to comment to the Commission on the changes being proposed. Final BoCC action is planned for October 18.

Contact Johnson County Board of County Commissioners

  1. Phone: 913-715-0430
  2. Email contact form:
  3. Chairman: Ed Eilert (913) 715-0500
  4. District 1: Ed Peterson  (913) 715-0431
  5. District 2: Jim Allen  (913) 715-0432
  6. District 3: David Lindstrom (913) 715-0433
  7. District 4: Jason Osterhaus (913) 715-0434
  8. District 5: Michael Ashcraft (913) 715-0435
  9. District 6: Calvin Hayden  (913) 715-0436

JCT Tentative Timeline –

• Joint JCTC/BoCC meeting on August 30, 2012, 11 am, Board of County Commission’s hearing room on the third floor of the County Administration Building in Olathe
• Present final recommendations at JCTC meeting on September 18, 2012
• Submit JCT/JCTC recommendations to BoCC on October 4, 2012.
• Agenda Review: October 11
• Final BoCC Action: October 18
• Final changes posted the week of October 22, 2012
• Changes will begin operation on January 2, 2013

The Johnson County Transportation Council (JCTC) meeting on September 18 will be held at 5:30 pm at Sylvester Powell: 6200 Martway, Mission, KS so that more people can be present to hear the presentation of the final recommendations and hear the discussion.

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Public Open House – US 40 Highway Corridor – AUG 28, 29 and 30

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 24, 2012

Provide input for the region-wide development process to create sustainable places. There will be public meetings on each of the six corridors being worked on. This meeting is for the US 40 Highway corridor, which extends from 31st and Prospect in Kansas City, MO, to US 40 and Adams Dairy Parkway in Blue Springs, MO. Sustainable places create transportation corridors that accommodate different modes of travel — walking, biking, transit and auto.

Click to enlarge

Tuesday, August 28th – Independence, MO

Location: Noland Road Baptist Church, 4505 S. Noland Road Independence
Any Time Between: 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Presentations: 5:30 p.m., repeated again at 7:00 p.m. (choose one)

Wednesday, August 29th – Kansas City, MO

Location: Brush Creek Community Center, 3801 Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd.
Any Time Between: 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Presentations: 5:30 p.m., repeated again at 7:00 p.m. (choose one)

Thursday, August 30th – Blue Springs, MO

Location: William Bryant Elementary School, 1101 Southeast Sunnyside School Road
Any Time Between: 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Presentations: 5:30 p.m., repeated again at 7:00 p.m. (choose one)

This community meeting is related to the $4.25 million grant Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) received from HUD to help create sustainable places in the Kansas City region.  Print and post the Flyer.CSP_Flyer_40 Highway Meetings

Visit MARC’s website to learn more about this process. The CSP initiative includes plans and demonstration projects in six key corridors in the Kansas City region: State Avenue, North Oak, U.S. 40, Rock Island, Central City and Shawnee Mission.

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