Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

Archive for the ‘Amtrak’ Category

Amtrak services

Is MoDOT About to Sabotage Our Amtrak Service?

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 1, 2014


MOTMWe have been hearing — direct from MoDOT staff — that getting a reliable funding stream for Missouri’s twice-daily Missouri River Runner passenger rail service is one of the advantages of having the proposed 3/4 percent sales tax for transportation.

Now we hear that the trains will not be part of the sales tax project list, and that we’ll continue to have to go to the General Assembly for annual appropriations out of general revenue.

Boarding at KC Union Station

Boarding at KC Union Station

So we posed the question to MoDOT via Twitter:

“@MoDOT – Serious question: How do you propose that @MoRiverRunner be funded? What about funding additional service? Response please. Thx.”

We have received their response:

“@MoRiverRunner definitely a valuable service for Missourians. MoDOT will continue to pursue general revenue funds for it.”

 Translation: Passenger rail won’t be part of the sales tax package.

This makes no sense to us. If the voters pass this sales tax then Legislators will say:  “Hey, MoDOT, we let you ask voters for a sales tax with the flexibility to fund transportation choices. Now you are back here again asking for money for Amtrak? Give us a break!”

Amtrak at KC Union Station

Amtrak at KC Union Station

If this is true, it would run counter to MoDOT’s expressed desire to provide expanded transportation choices, in response to citizen input during the recent “On The Move” long range transportation plan process.

What gives, MoDOT?

The explanation we got just days ago from a mid-level MoDOT representative was that they were concerned that the sales tax funding might not extend beyond the ten-year span of this “temporary” sales tax. Well, if that’s the case, how do they justify doing anything? Nothing is certain about the future. Isn’t ten years of certainty for passenger rail a whole lot better than ten years of annual uncertainty?

MoDOT staff have worked for years with Amtrak and the Union Pacific (the host railroad) to speed up the trains and prepare for eventually expanding the service by adding a third and fourth daily round trip. Don’t undercut all that work by putting the Missouri River Runner trains back on a year-at-a-time, hand-to-mouth basis. If you do, MoDOT, your credibility will be seriously damaged.

Amtrak passengers loading at Jeff City to go to St. Louis.

Amtrak passengers loading at Jeff City to go to St. Louis.

Posted in Amtrak, Local Transit Issues, Rail, Regional Transit Issue | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Missouri State Rail Plan Open House in Kansas City – April 11

Posted by Transit Action Network on April 6, 2012


MoDOT is about to finalize a statewide plan for rail service, both passenger and freight, and is holding another round of open house meetings to get comments. The Missouri State Rail Plan FINAL DRAFT, reflects  previous input from citizens, freight railroads operating in Missouri, shippers, and economic development and transportation agencies.

The plan is the Missouri Department of Transportation’s 20-year strategic framework for passenger and freight rail development in Missouri. Enhancing passenger rail and improving freight rail access are among the top recommendations.

MoDOT wants to know what you think. Join them at this upcoming public meeting.

Date: Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Time: 4:30 to 6:00 p.m., with a presentation at 4:45 p.m

Location: Mid-America Regional Council, Board Room, 600 Broadway St., Kansas City, MO

The meeting site is wheelchair-accessible.

The Invitation includes dates and locations for other open house meetings throughout the state.

For more information about the MSRP visit:

http://www.modot.org/othertransportation/rail/staterailplan.htm

Send online comments to staterailplan@modot.mo.gov

If you can’t attend this meeting, you can participate in the online meeting at www.morail.org April 10 through May 4, 2012.

Posted in Amtrak, Events, Rail, Regional Transit Issue | Leave a Comment »

Transit Adventure: A Trip to Harry’s Town via KCATA and Amtrak

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 18, 2010



Jayson lives in Midtown Kansas City.  A few months ago he decided to go carless, and he started a blog, http://www.carfreeinkc.com, to write about his experiences.  He posts occasional reports about his transit adventures, and we especially like the one about a trip he and a friend took from Kansas City to Independence (KCATA Route 24 from Downtown) and return via Amtrak to Union Station.  It’s a pretty easy half-day trip, but you will probably want to make train reservations in advance, http://www.amtrak.com, to avoid an extra charge.  Amtrak fare is generally $8 for adults (second adult and senior tickets are less) and $4 for kids 2-15.  Here’s his account of the trip:

Posted in Amtrak, Transit Adventures | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »