Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

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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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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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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.

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

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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!

Posted in Events, Rail, Videos-Transit | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

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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Sanders Renews Commitment to Public Transit

Posted by Transit Action Network on November 5, 2012


County Executive Mike Sanders left it until the end in his annual State of the County Address last Friday, but he left no doubt that he’s still committed to public transit.

Speaking to a standing room only crowd in the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Board Room at Union Station, Sanders spoke with pride of guiding principles for his administration, one of which is that we don’t borrow from the promise of the future to meet the needs of today.  Jackson County balanced the budget without raising taxes, he said, and is one of only six Missouri counties with a Double-A bond rating.

In introducing Sanders, Kansas City Mayor Sly James spoke optimistically of the election currently underway to fund a Downtown Streetcar.  Construction begins next year, James said, with fare-free operation beginning in 2015.  Though he didn’t say so explicitly, the Streetcar project might not be underway at all were it not for Sanders’ leadership on regional transit.

An introductory video emphasized the close working relationships between Jackson County and the mayors of the county’s principal municipalities.  Transit, specifically plans for a comprehensive regional transit system, was cited as one of the areas of common agreement.

Sanders invoked inspiring imagery a number of times during his speech.  We face new and serious challenges, he said, but America was built on courage and imagination, not fear.

Sanders spoke of expansion of the existing County trail system, and said extension of that system into Kansas City would begin next year with strong support from Kansas City Councilwoman Cindy Circo.

Finally he got to transit.

We meet in an iconic structure, he said, one that illustrates the power of transportation to connect us.  No initiative has the potential to shape our future more than to build a modern, efficient public transit system.  Sanders compared building a comprehensive transit system in Jackson County to the Interstate Highway System that President Dwight D. Eisenhower launched in 1955.

Such a system is needed to meet Jackson County’s transportation needs, he said, and it must be our next great enterprise to build a system of rail, buses, and trails so future generations will have greater choice in how they get around.  Young people want and demand rail and other public transit options.

Sanders also cited a recent Brookings Institution report that ranked Kansas City 94th out of 100 urban areas in its ability to provide its citizens access to jobs and other opportunities by transit.

The process of constructing a World Class public transit system is complicated, Sanders said — an obvious reference to current discussions with the freight railroads over use of their tracks for getting commuter trains to Union Station.

We need to invest the time it takes to plan a great system, he said.  It’s not about getting transit done fast, it’s about getting it done right.

Through an unprecedented collaboration, Jackson County Mayors are in agreement, and are speaking with one voice.  A solution on transit is within reach, and it’s clear that Mike Sanders’ commitment is still there.

On reflection, it seems notable that Sanders did not make any specific reference to commuter rail.  Nor did he mention a possible target date for submitting a Trails and Transit funding measure to the voters, perhaps because there are a lot of details yet to be worked out.  (See our blog post, Jackson County Transit Studies Update – Our Current Assessment)  Speaking with reporters afterward, he mentioned August or November next year as possible dates.  That’s consistent with information we’ve had for several months.

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Jackson County Transit Studies Update – Our Current Assessment

Posted by Transit Action Network on October 15, 2012


There was no surprise when Jackson County announced that it would not put a transit tax measure on the ballot this November. There are still too many unknowns, and a comprehensive package will take more time to develop. Better to do this right than fast.

One of the big unknowns is location of a downtown terminus for commuter rail. The Jackson County Commuter Corridors Alternatives Analysis for the I-70 and Rock Island corridors, which has been underway  for over a year, is currently on hold. The County would like to move the downtown terminus from Third and Grand, the option presented to the public in April, to Union Station. That’s good, because nearly everyone really wants commuter trains to go there, and that’s the location identified for commuter rail in Kansas City’s comprehensive plan, FOCUS.

The sticking point has been getting the Kansas City Terminal Railway to agree to allow commuter trains on their tracks.  These are the tracks that Amtrak trains already use.  Once the Terminal (and its owners, primarily the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific) agree they are open to that possibility, a capacity analysis will have to be done to determine if commuter trains can be sandwiched in among all the freight and Amtrak trains.

Actually, it’s a little more complicated than that: whereas there’s some flexibility in freight train schedules, frequent delays for a commuter train could lead to loss of riders and failure of the whole commuter rail endeavor, so the railroads would have to commit to a pretty exacting schedule for the commuter trains.  As of this writing, a capacity analysis has not yet been done.

For commuter rail into Union Station to work, the railroads have to:

  • agree in principle that commuter trains on their tracks would be OK
  • complete a capacity analysis to determine that it’s feasible, and
  • develop detailed cost estimates.

Meanwhile, Jackson County continues to work on more-detailed cost estimates for getting trains to a terminal at Third and Grand.

While that’s going on, the US 71 Corridor Transit Study is proceeding in the first phase of its evaluation process.

In addition to studying the I-70, Rock Island, and US 71 corridors to identify a locally preferred alternative in each, Jackson County is fleshing out the rest of a county-wide transit and trails plan to take to the voters. 

That plan would:

  1. Fill in many of the bus transit needs in the county. All rail systems need a robust bus system to support them and Jackson County doesn’t have that outside of Kansas City, Missouri. MARC’s Smart Moves transit concept is the basis for filling in the missing transit links in the county, and Transit Action Network advocates Janet Rogers and Ron McLinden are working with a team that includes Jackson County, Kansas City, KCATA, and consultants to help define the transit part of the package.
  2. Develop a plan to connect and complete a Jackson County trails system. No longer would there be “trails to nowhere,” but “trails to everywhere.” The County has been working with trail and bike advocates, using MARC’s MetroGreen plan as the basis for the trails component.

Assuming voters approved a one-cent sales tax  — nobody at the County will verify that this is the target amount — that would raise only about $80 million per year. Given that limitation, the County will have to make some tough choices because they can’t afford to do everything that’s currently being considered.

Right now we consider the following as likely components of a trails and transit package to be submitted to the voters:

  • Probably one commuter rail line using the Kansas City Southern tracks in the I-70 corridor
  • Implementation of many of the service components of the region’s Smart Moves transit plan
  • Bus Rapid Transit (MAX style service) on Prospect
  • Transit connections linking municipalities throughout the County
  • Upgraded Express Bus Services in all three major corridors (including I-70, even if commuter rail is developed in that corridor)
  • Build out of a complete network of trails as envisioned in MetroGreen.

We anticipate seeing such a package submitted to the voters sometime in 2013, though perhaps not until the second half of the year.

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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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US 71 Transit Study – Video of Open House

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 10, 2012


The Jackson County US 71 Transit Study, an Alternatives Analysis, started in June and is the third transit corridor to be studied as the County works to complete a transit package to put before voters. Completion is scheduled for the end of the year.

There have been two Stakeholder meetings (Janet Rogers and Mark McDowell both represent TAN) and a public meeting. Until a final decision has been made for locally preferred alternatives in the three corridors, nothing can go forward.

The US 71 corridor originates in downtown Kansas City, Missouri and extends south of the downtown area, terminating in Belton, Missouri. The corridor generally parallels U.S. 71 crossing Kansas City (MO), Grandview and Belton and is being evaluated as a potential addition to the Jackson County Commuter Corridors Alternatives Analysis, a transit study that has been in progress since 2011, which consists of the I-70 corridor and the Rock Island corridor.

This corridor is very congested and portions of US 71 between 51st and 75th are particularly slow. Current transit service on U.S. 71 and parallel service on Prospect provide transit access for the area, but scheduled travel times are almost double the travel time of the automobile.

The US 71 corridor study is benefiting from the work already done in the other corridors. This study is considering Express Buses, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), streetcars and commuter rail. Just a reminder that the commuter rail is not electrified light rail. It is a diesel vehicle, Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU), which operates on existing freight lines or new tracks.

The project team, Jackson County, MARC, KCATA and Kansas City, Missouri  and the consulting team, Parsons Brinckerhoff, are all the same as the previous study.

The study is in Phase I, which provides the purpose and needs statement and does an initial evaluation of the alternatives to decide which ones will go through to Phase II.

The first two alternatives advance automatically to Phase II

1. NO Build  – do nothing plus

  • all capital improvements identified in the fiscally constrained MARC 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) that will be implemented by 2035.
  • the existing bus network augmented with the recommendations listed in the KCATA Comprehensive Service Analysis Key Corridor Network.

2. TSM (Transportation Systems Management)

Everything in No Build plus

  • capital improvements and bus network enhancements.
  • an expansion of KC Scout Intelligent Transportation Systems.
  • New park and ride lots
  • Capital bus enhancements on U.S. 71 (such as bus on shoulder), which will be identified and evaluated as part of Tier 2.
  • New intermodal transfer point in vicinity of Hillcrest and Bannister Road.
  • Seven U.S. 71 / Prospect BRT station pairs.
  • Extension of local bus service along Prospect to Bannister Road and Blue Ridge.
  • Extension of Express Bus service (Route #471) from current terminus Point at U.S. 71 & Red ·  Bridge Road to U.S. 71 & M-150. The extended service would serve park and ride lots at U.S.
  • 71/M-150 and at Truman Corners Shopping Center. Number of trips would be increased from 5 AM and 5 PM to 8 AM and 8 PM.

Three additional alternatives to be evaluated for advancement to Phase II

Alternative 1: Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

  1. Two alignments are anticipated for the BRT alternative–a Commuter BRT on U.S. 71 and an Urban BRT on Prospect.
    1. US 71 Commuter BRT connects M-150 in Grandview with the 10th and Main Transit Center.
    2. Prospect Urban BRT connects Bannister Road in south KC with the 10th and Main Transit Center.

Alternative 2: Enhanced Streetcar Alternative

The enhanced streetcar would serve a third phase of the KC streetcar system (phase II would be to the Plaza). The streetcar would travel on the west side of US 71 and ends at M-150. A feeder bus network would also be a part of this alignment.

We expect the streetcar alternative to be eliminated because it is so expensive and probably wouldn’t qualify for federal funds to help us pay for it. We expect the projected ridership to be too low to make the line cost-effective by FTA standards. If it is advanced to Phase II it will be because the partners want to do the cost and ridership analysis for future reference.

Alternative 3: Diesel Multiple Unit Alternative

The alignment for the DMU Commuter Service South Line runs from the Jackson County Line to Leeds Junction. South of Leeds Junction the rail travels with limited stops on KCS track to its destination near M-150 in Grandview. North of Leeds Junction, it shares a common line with the Rock Island Corridor alternative, and farther north those lines combine with the I-70 corridor into downtown.  The two possible alignments for the DMU Commuter Service Common Line into downtown run from:

a. Leeds Junction to the River Market

b. Leeds Junction to Union Station via the Trench

The DMU alignment crosses nearly 80 bridge structures. About 20 of those would require improvement of some kind, up to and including replacement.

The stations along this alignment are limited due to various complications, including physical challenges and the lack of population and employment density.

The U.S 71 corridor has a large low-income population. The ability to provide improved access to work opportunities is an important goal of the enhanced transit system.

There will be additional public involvement as the study progresses.

US71 – combined alternatives – Click to Enlarge

US71 – BRT -Click to Enlarge

US71 – Streetcar- Click to Enlarge

US71 – DMU – Click to Enlarge

For more detail, review the information from the public open house materials and fill out the comment form.

http://www.kcsmartmoves.org/projects/us71transitstudy-openhouse1.aspx

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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 www.kceb.org and print proof of registration using the “Check Your Voter Status” box.

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Streetcar TDD Vote Passed!

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 1, 2012


The unofficial results are in for the creation of the Downtown Streetcar Transportation Development District (TDD).

318 YES, 141 NO.  Congratulations.  The TDD will be created.

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Streetcar Ballots Due 5 PM July 31

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 30, 2012


Get your ballots in!!! If you haven’t returned your ballot to vote on creating the Transportation Development District (TDD) for the downtown streetcar, the deadline is quickly approaching.

The ballots are due in Jackson County Courthouse by 5 pm July 31. That does NOT mean postmarked by that time. The ballots must be physically present. The election board is going to count the ballots on Aug 1.

The county had received 405 ballots as of last Thursday night. A significant number of the 555 ballots requested had not been received.

At this point, please do NOT mail your ballot.

Either:

1. hand deliver it to Jackson County Courthouse, 415 East 12th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64106 or

2. if you need the ballot picked up, message Streetcar Neighbors on Facebook and they will pick it up and deliver the ballot for you.

If you didn’t watch our video the KC Streetcar Stroll in May, you may want to watch it now.

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Open Houses – U.S. 71 Transit Study – July 12 and 17

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 10, 2012


The U.S. 71 Transit Study is underway.  The project team and lead consultant are the same as for the Jackson County Commuter Corridors Alternatives Analysis. The project team consists of MARC, Jackson County, Kansas City, and KCATA. The lead project consulting firm is Parsons Brinckerhoff.  Transit Action Network has two advocates on the Stakeholder Advisory Panel.

The U.S. 71 corridor begins in the downtown loop of Kansas City, Mo., and runs south along U.S. 71/Bruce R. Watkins Dr. through Kansas City and Grandview to M-150 near the Cass County border. This heavily traveled corridor includes not only the U.S.71 highway facility, but also Prospect Avenue and adjacent railroad assets.

The study will build on and coordinate with the Jackson County Commuter Corridor Alternatives Analysis, which is studying the I-70 and Rock Island corridors. This study is funded largely by a $652,200 competitive grant from the Federal Highway Administration, which Jackson County acquired.

During the open houses, participants can tell the project partners whether enhanced transit is needed in the corridor and, if so, what their preferred transit option might be. A short update on the alternative analysis study will be given at 4:30 p.m. each day.

Visit the project Website. http://www.kcsmartmoves.org

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Jackson County Transit Study Takes a New Direction

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 25, 2012


Calvin Williford, Jackson County Chief of Staff, recently wrote to the Jackson County Commuter Corridors Partner Team describing new developments related to the study currently underway.  He said completion of the current commuter corridors study would be postponed and the County would move forward with a comprehensive transit plan. Letter_Partnership _Team

For almost two years everyone said the study would be completed and a “Locally Preferred Alternative” (LPA) would be decided in the June 2012 time frame.  In a bold step, and with a growing understanding of transit needs, Jackson County decided to wait for more information. The county’s ambitious target date for having a conceptual countywide transit plan in place is the end of July.

Part of the reason for the postponement is that another study, this one in the Highway 71 / Grandview corridor, is just beginning and the County wants to gain an understanding of transit alternatives in that corridor before making any decisions since all three corridors are interrelated.

The biggest reason for the postponement, though, is that a new rail alternative has become available for consideration — the possibility of getting commuter rail to Union Station.  This new alternative uses the Kansas City Terminal (KCT) Railway tracks to get into the area just north of Union Station. These are the tracks that Amtrak uses. It will be a big deal if the County can get the railroad to consider this. In the past KCT has always rejected the idea of accommodating commuter rail, and the cost of putting new tracks in that corridor would require expanding a number of bridges at an estimated cost of $1 billion.

This new KCT alternative is not without concerns. There are capacity issues since so many freight trains use these tracks daily. Therefore a capacity analysis has to be done first to see if this alternative is workable before formally evaluating this corridor for commuter service as part of the AA.  Because of existing challenges, it was assumed from the beginning that KCT would not allow commuter rail on its tracks. No previous study has been completed to estimate costs, ridership numbers or travel-time savings to Union Station using this route.

Will this rail alternative have significantly better quantitative results than the Third and Grand alternative?  We don’t know. The 2007 study of commuter rail in the I-70 corridor concluded: “Possible conflicts at Union Station with a high volume of freight traffic and Amtrak passenger service have a significant likelihood of negatively impacting commuter rail reliability, which is not acceptable when building ridership.”  If capacity issues can be resolved, then this route should definitely be studied. This route would likely be shorter and provide a more desirable terminus — factors that could improve ridership forecasts.

Like the Third and Grand location, this route would require other transit service (such as the Downtown Streetcar) to provide access to the Central Business District (CBD). However, in contrast to the Third and Grand alternative, there are thousands of jobs in the vicinity of a terminal at Union Station. Since there isn’t a fast direct route from the highways to Union Station, commuter rail on the KCT tracks might compete favorably in travel time with driving, provided they can increase the speed of rail. Of course an express bus will likely still be faster to the Government District and the rest of the CBD.

So that leaves the question of cost. Can Jackson County persuade the railroads to bring the cost of access to their tracks down far enough that even if ridership projections are low and the travel time to the CBD is slow, the overall cost of getting to Union Station will be acceptable? Wait and see. The County is working very hard to put this together.

Williford’s letter also mentions Jackson County’s commitment to developing a comprehensive county-wide transit strategy that includes “rail, buses and a well-connected trails system”. The commuter corridors study process has raised the County’s awareness of the huge transit and trail gaps in the county, and considering a comprehensive package to take to voters is a great idea. In order to develop such a strategy, a number of groups have been convened to look at particular parts of an overall multi-modal plan. MARC is working with trails advocates to develop a detailed trails plan that satisfies multiple users, and the KCATA will be taking the lead in configuring and costing a more extensive bus system following the “Smart Moves” concept. Transit Action Network is part of a committee to identify the transit gaps. The original project team is working with the railroads on the capacity study to get into Union Station, but Third and Grand remains a fallback location for rail.

In a recent public meeting Williford talked about Jackson County’s serious “transit deficits” and made the following specific points:

  1. Every community that has developed rail transit has started first with a robust bus system. “Buses are the backbone of every transit system in the country,” he said, citing the “cost effectiveness” of buses over rail.
  2. Service for the mobility-impaired is inadequate.
  3. You can’t get from Kansas City to Independence after 6:00 at night.

Williford also said that while economic development is important, the county is placing greater emphasis on mobility than it did earlier. We think it’s great that the County’s understanding of the transit issues in the region has developed and expanded.

In order to create a comprehensive plan the County needs to fit all the pieces together with a financial package to pay for it. The County has taxing authority up to a one-cent sales tax. The full tax would raise approximately $80 million, derived almost equally from Kansas City and the rest of the county.

As part of this process, the County realized that parks and trails are really important to people. In the recently concluded session of the Missouri legislature the County successfully sought taxing authority for another ¼ cent sales tax for trails and parks. Such a tax could raise about $20 million.

Jackson County has taken on a huge challenge: Create a plan for commuter transit in three corridors, supplemental transit to fill numerous transit gaps throughout the county, and a set of parks and trails amenities. We hope they can come up with a great package at a cost that’ll be a “no-brainer” for voters to support.

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Time To Vote Yes For Streetcar TDD

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 22, 2012


The ballots to form a Transportation Development District (TDD) have been mailed. If you are one of the 555 people who received a ballot, please send it in as soon as possible.

1. Look for an envelope labeled STREETCAR TDD BALLOT ENCLOSED.

2. Open the envelope and fill in the circle next to YES (ballots are optical scan, so heed all instructions!).

3. Seal the ballot in the enclosed blue return envelope.

4. Have ANY notary confirm your signature on the back of the envelope and make sure they stamp it.

5. Mail or hand-deliver the sealed, signed, and notarized envelope back to the Circuit Court Administrator.

Here’s a sample ballot: http://transitkc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/BALLOT.pdf

After formation of the TDD, another vote will set the collection rates later this year. If you registered for a ballot, you should have it by now. Your bank has a Notary Public. If that isn’t convenient, then attend one of the Streetcar Neighbors sessions to get your ballot notarized:

10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 23 @ Mildred’s in the Crossroads (1821 Wyandotte)

12:00 p.m., Sunday, June 24 @ LatteLand in the Loop (1201 Main)

More sessions will be scheduled, so check their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/streetcarneighbors

Ballots must be returned by 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 31. Results should be available by Aug. 3. A simple majority of ballots cast will form the district. Shortly afterward, a TDD Board will be appointed and will kick off all administrative tasks required by state statute.

The failure to receive a federal TIGER IV grant does not affect this vote. Kansas City had a really aggressive timeline for the streetcar and the feds felt we weren’t far enough along in the process to get a grant.

Two reasons:

– Local funding is not in place (this is the TDD)

– Engineering is not complete (will be completed this year)

TIGER grants are a relatively new method of funding transportation projects. They came out of the stimulus package and Congress likes them enough to have offered this money four times. There may or may not be another round of TIGER grants but if there is, Kansas City could apply again if needed. However, Mayor James said Kansas City is proceeding with the traditional method of funding transit projects. Since the projected cost of this project is $101 million it falls into the FTA Small Starts Program. An Alternatives Analysis is needed to apply for this money. The AA was completed in 2011 and all of that information can now be used to submit an application to the FTA.

The Small Starts Program is the normal way to apply for matching funds from the FTA. The TIGER grant was a new option that would have been faster. Other alternative funding sources may be pursued as well.

Here’s a statement from Mayor James. No one should change their vote, since not getting a TIGER grant is only a temporary setback.

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TAN’s Position On Transit Alternatives For The I-70 Corridor In Jackson County

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 1, 2012


 Transit Action Network sent its position paper on the I-70 corridor of the Jackson County Commuters Corridors Alternatives Analysis to the Project Team and the Stakeholders. The following position is based on the April 2012 presentations by the Project Team. We understand the numbers are not final, but while we expect them to change to some extent, we do not anticipate they will change in orders of magnitude. Read the whole document TAN Position on I-70 Corridor

1. TAN favors developing Enhanced Express Bus service along the I-70 corridor.

2. Transit facilities should be located and designed to maximize development potential around them.

3. Jackson County should create a County Transit Authority to fund this and other expanded inter-city transit service, thereby relieving localities of this burden.

4. Jackson County should negotiate an agreement with the City of Kansas City to acquire the use of land adjacent to the northern edge of Kessler Park sufficient for a right-of-way for future commuter rail to Second and Grand.

5. Jackson County and Kansas City should develop a working relationship with the Kansas City Terminal Railway to preserve sufficient right-of-way to accommodate additional tracks east of Union Station, so that the possibility of additional rail access (freight and passenger) to the Union Station area is not further compromised.

 

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Mayoral Streetcar Governance Committee Holds First Meeting

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 30, 2012


Transit Action Network attended the first meeting of the Mayoral Streetcar Governance Committee today. The purpose of the committee is to create the governance framework for the streetcar system. Given this objective the committee is charged with working through the long-term issues having to do with construction and operation of the streetcar.

The target date for completion of recommendations is July 15th.

A “template” for such a governance structure was presented as a point of departure for discussion.

It conceives of four entities that would be involved in the construction and operation of the system:

        1. The Transportation Development District would collect the tax revenue and distribute it to the city.

        2. The City would own the system and be responsible for construction and for any future capital expenditures.

        3. The “governance authority” would be a “not for profit corporation” that would oversee operation and maintenance of the system, including selecting and contracting with an operator.

        4. The operator would be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the system.

The relationships between the first three entities would be defined by statute and by contract (subject to bond indentures); and would supersede changes in the Mayor’s office, the City Council and the staffs of any single organization.

The composition of the Mayoral Streetcar Governance Committee is as follows:

Non-voting Chair: Warren Erdman

Unaffiliated Owners of Commercial Property: Jon Copaken, Jane Chu, Mike Hagedorn, Tom McGee, Suzie Aron

Unaffiliated Owners of Residential Property: Tom Trabon, Dana Gibson

Owner/Occupant of Residential Property: David Johnson

Council members:  Russ Johnson, Jim Glover, Jan Marcason

Representative of the Mayor’s Office: John McGurk

Kansas City’s Chief Financial Officer: Randy Landes

City Director of Public Works: Sherri McIntyre

At the next meeting Members will hear an overview of peer streetcar systems governance structures presented by HDR.

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Consultant Discusses the Preliminary Costs, Ridership and Time-Savings Estimates For The JCCCAA

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 29, 2012


Lisa Koch, senior planner with Parsons Brinckerhoff, returns to discuss the Jackson County Corridor Alternatives Analysis (JCCCAA). Parsons Brinckerhoff released the first wave of quantitative information about the study at an open house the end of April. Lisa brings us up-to-date with the study and why several of the alternatives have been eliminated including the original Regional Rapid Rail commuter rail proposal. That alternative used existing rail right-of-ways in the east and southeast of the county and new track on city streets, including Truman Road, to terminate at the Freight House District, north of Union Station.

Click to Enlarge

Lisa describes the replacement commuter rail proposal, which terminates in the Third and Grand area. She provides information about the remaining alternatives in both the East (I-70) Corridor and the Southeast Corridor (the unused Rock Island right-of-way). For these preliminary estimates, Lisa comments on the high costs, low ridership numbers and the fact that the fixed guideway alternatives don’t provide any time savings over the highways by 2035.

Lisa describes the “right-sizing “ efforts the team is making to fine-tune the alternatives based on what they have learned.  When the alternatives have been revised, the partnership team, consisting of Jackson County, Kansas City, KCATA and MARC, will decide on a Locally Preferred Alternative, (LPA).

At the end of the interview Lisa discusses the economic development numbers for the rail alternative that were presented at the open house. MARC estimated these numbers as a 10% increase on the assessment value of existing properties within a ½ mile radius of the proposed rail stations.

Using property appreciation as a proxy for development around rail stations is a common methodology. This is not an estimate of the impact on jobs or sales tax revenue, but rather the appreciation benefits that existing property owners might see if their property is near a station. It does not represent a net benefit. It does not take into account decreases in property values commonly experienced by property owners between stations and by upper bracket residences near a rail line.

There are also concerns that rail does not create development, it merely moves development from one area to another, next to a rail line. There are some conditions in which appreciation does not occur, in particular, in areas with unlimited ability to sprawl. Property appreciation can be very large – or zero, depending on the circumstances.

TAN believes it is desirable to concentrate activity around stations of any type, bus or rail. Areas with transit-oriented (not created) development are highly desirable, exciting, well-integrated places to work, live, shop and play that make transit investments more cost-effective.  However, after the initial construction investment, successful economic development relies on many factors besides having a station.

For a better understanding of economic development related to property appreciation for transit, read this report by the National Association of Realtors.

Public Transit Boosts Property Values, If Conditions are Right

To view the display boards for the third open house, go to the project website, KCSmartMoves.

Transit Action Network previously reported on the JCCCAA Open House #3.  Read our evaluation of the current information: High Cost Combined with Low Ridership and Insignificant Time-Savings Hurts Rail in the Commuter Corridors Study

To follow the whole study, see the rest of our video series at TAN Videos on our website. The third interview discusses the DMU rail lines east of I-435.

Link to the first interview: MARC And Parsons Brinckerhoff Discuss The Current Status Of The Commuter Corridors Altenatives Analysis

Link to the second interview: Parsons Brinckerhoff Consultant Discusses Three Alternatives In The JCCCAA

Link to the third interview: Discussion About The Regional Rail Alternative for the JCCCAA

Link to the fourth interview: Enhanced Streetcar/DMU/BRT Combinations Are Discussed

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Watch the “KC Streetcar Stroll” Video, Attend the Public Meetings & Request Your Streetcar Ballot

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 12, 2012


Kansas City conducted a “Streetcar Stroll” from the River Market to Union Station on May 9th.  About 35 participants were divided into small groups to walk the proposed 2.2 mile route with a guide to describe the proposed station areas and explain the proposed operating method for the streetcar. Video: Part 1 – Interviews with participants. Part 2 – Descriptions of the stations and the operations.

The city is holding three public meetings to explain the streetcar operation and answer questions. Kansas City wants voters in the proposed Transportation Development District (TDD) to understand the project.

TDD Map – Click to Enlarge

The public meetings are from 4-7 p.m with brief presentations at 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30 pm.

Tuesday, May 15, Helzburg Auditorium, Central Library, 14 W. 10th Street

Wednesday, May 16, Atrium, Steamboat Arabia Museum, 400 Grand Boulevard

Thursday, May 17, Arthur Stilwell Room, Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Road

The initial ballot to create the TDD is a mail-in ballot, but you MUST request a ballot by May 22. No Request=No Ballot. So if you live in the proposed TDD, request your ballot today! Ballot requests will be available at the public meetings. Remind your transit friends in the proposed TDD to submit their ballot request.

1. Print the ballot application at http://www.16thcircuit.org/streetcar

2. Print your registration status kceb.org (Use the check your voter status box at the top of the page. This document is used to validate you request.)

3. Send (hand-deliver, fax, mail) both documents to the court address (or fax number) on the application.

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High Cost Combined with Low Ridership and Insignificant Time-Savings Hurts Rail in the Commuter Corridors Study

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 8, 2012


A lot of factors go into making a good transit project.  Most people will gladly tell you they prefer trains to buses. However, when ridership numbers, time savings and costs factors come into the picture, reality hits.  Are the ridership numbers sufficient to justify the cost? Does the project actually save commuters time? Will the project qualify for federal funds to help pay for such an expensive project?  How much would it require in local taxes?

Open House #3 April 24 @ St Paul’s School of Theology

The Jackson County Commuter Corridors Alternatives Analysis (JCCCAA) is beginning to address some of these questions. The project team had its third series of open house meetings April 24-26. (See the Open House Display boards).  One more series is planned.

This open house provided the first look at quantitative results for the current commuter corridor study. The study is not complete and some of the numbers will change.

Some additional information is needed to understand the following information from the open house.

  1. The ridership numbers and travel time are forecasts for 2035. These are the numbers you can expect to see in 23 years.
  2. The dollar figures are for 2012.
  3. The model for forecasting congestion on I-70 only indicates an additional 3-5 minutes for travel time in 2035 over travel times today. The travel time for a car was not provided for comparison.

After evaluating the information from the open house, Transit Action Network’s preliminary conclusion is that, in all probability, none of the fixed guideway alternatives would qualify for federal funding due to the relatively high cost for the low ridership and the insignificant amount of time saved. The FTA uses these factors to measure cost-effectiveness. Of course, the numbers are being revised, but considerable improvements would be needed to change this assessment. Both of the commuter rail lines plus the Rock Island streetcar line and the Rock Island Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) alternatives are probably not cost-effective enough to receive capital funds for construction from the FTA.

A. I-70 Corridor from Oak Grove – Highlights

There are only two alternatives left in this corridor and they are basically the same as were studied in a 2007 Alternatives Analysis. Summary of 2007 I-70 Commuter Corridor AA

 EAST I-70 Corridor

Daily ridership by 2035

Total Capital Cost in millions

Total capital cost per rider based on annual ridership (260 days)

Travel time to 10th and Main from

Travel time in Minutes in 2035

Annual operating cost in millions

Express Bus

600

$35-$39

$237

Oak Grove

59

$3.6

DMU

1,150-2,800

$480-$600

$742-$1806

Oak Grove

61

$10.7

  1. One choice is an enhanced version of today’s highway express bus with more comfortable over-the-road coaches and significantly more service. In 2007 the recommendation was to improve the Express Buses. Compared to the 1,500 riders projected in the 2007 study, the 600 daily riders in the current study looks very low.

    Click to Enlarge I-70 corridor

  2. The second choice is a commuter train (Diesel Multiple Unit or DMU) that stays on the Kansas City Southern rail line toward the Northern Industrial District and then turns west and finishes at Third and Grand. There is a new alignment which is an improvement over the alignment in the 2007 study. There is a narrow strip of land owned by Kansas City, north of Cliff Drive by Kessler Park, that could be used instead of going through a rail yard. However, maximum daily ridership last time was 1,425 and right now this project is showing 1,150-2,800 daily riders. These ridership numbers are not significantly improved considering the project capital cost in 2007 was $102.8-168.9 million. More money is being projected for track improvements, which would increase the train speed and decrease the travel time.
  3. There is not a significant time savings for commuters using the train. The estimated time to 10th and Main from Oak Grove using the Express Bus is 59 minutes and getting to 10th and Main using the DMU plus a transfer to the streetcar is 61 minutes.

B. The Rock Island Corridor – Highlights

Four alternatives are still being considered, but they are not comparable situations.

SE corridor

Rock Island line

Daily ridership by 2035

Total Capital Cost in millions

Total capital cost per rider based on annual ridership (260 days)

Travel time to 10th and Main from

Travel time in Minutes in 2035

Annual operating cost in millions

Express Bus starts in Pleasant Hill

350

$35-$39

$407

Pleasant Hill

63rd and Raytown Road

60

48

$3.6

DMU starts in Pleasant Hill

500

$326-$413

$2,846

Pleasant Hill

65

$9.5

BRT Starts in Lee’s Summit

500

$230-$283

$1,962

63rd and Raytown Road

54

$3.2

SE Urban Corridor

Enhanced streetcar starts at 63rd street and Raytown road

1,850-2,700

$402-$538

$670-$977

63rd and Raytown Road

50

$6.1

  1. Only the Enhanced Express Bus and the Diesel Multiple Unit go to Pleasant Hill.

    Click to Enlarge SE Rock island Corridor

  2. The Express Bus is an enhanced version of today’s highway express bus with better coaches and significantly more service.
  3. The DMU travels on the Rock Island Line, then continues north toward the Northern Industrial District. North of St. John Avenue it merges with the I-70 corridor KCS line and the two lines share a common segment into Third and Grand. The cost for this line does not include the common rail section since the Rock Island DMU line would only be built if the I-70 DMU line were built.
  4. The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) only goes to Lee’s Summit. It uses a new paved busway on the Rock Island line to the Sports Complex and then a fixed guideway (the two middle lanes of traffic get barriers to segregate the bus from other traffic) is built on Stadium Drive and Linwood Blvd. At Bruce R. Watkins Drive (Highway 71) it uses the freeway to get into Downtown.
  5. The Enhanced Streetcar is not really part of the commuter corridors since it has been shortened to start at 63rd Street and Raytown Road, which makes it more of an urban corridor route. The streetcar goes down Linwood Blvd in a fixed guideway (the two middle lanes of traffic get barriers to segregate the streetcar from other traffic). At Main Street it would operate in mixed traffic and turn north to meet the proposed Downtown Streetcar line at Pershing.  MARC’s Smart Moves plan consists of two types of corridors – urban corridors that serve the urban core and commuter corridors, which bring people into the city from the suburbs. In fact, the significantly larger ridership numbers projected for this “enhanced streetcar” alternative are from people in the urban core. The streetcar has significantly more riders than the BRT even though they both go down Linwood since the bulk of the streetcar ridership happens west of Highway 71 after the BRT turns north.  Because the streetcar makes several stops along Linwood and functions like an urban streetcar corridor, this alternative does not appear to serve suburban commuters very well.
  6. This is the first AA that has been done in the Rock Island commuter corridor so it is interesting to see such low ridership numbers.

    Open House #3 April 25 @ John Knox Village

  • Express bus – 350; DMU – 500; Bus Rapid Transit – 500. These ridership numbers are breathtakingly low and don’t warrant any rail investment. Even if the study increases the numbers they aren’t going to go up nearly enough to justify the cost of rail. The low ridership projections for the DMU in the Rock island corridor compared to the I-70 corridor is partly because this line doesn’t go through the main population centers of these cities and a lot of the route goes through industrial areas.

For commuters in the Southeast Corridor there are two bus possibilities:  Enhanced Express Bus from Pleasant Hill or Bus Rapid Transit from Lee’s Summit.

  1. To compare travel time between the two buses, look at the time from Raytown Road. The BRT time to 10th and Main is 54 minutes and the express bus from that location is 48 minutes. So the express bus is faster over the same distance.
  2. The Express Bus costs $35-39 million, while the BRT would entail paving the Rock Island line and establishing a fixed guideway on Linwood for a total of $230-283 million. Is the additional cost worth it for a slower travel time and only a few more people?

What about the Rock Island Streetcar? Even though the ridership is better than the other alternatives in this corridor, it is far too low for the cost.

To put this streetcar in perspective, compare it to the Downtown Streetcar project currently being planned.

Streetcar

Daily Ridership by 2035

Total Capital Cost in millions

Capital Cost per Rider-Total Capital Cost Divided by Annual Ridership based on 260 days. (JCCCAA method)

2 mile Downtown Streetcar

6,000

$101

$65

12 mile Rock Island Streetcar

1,850-2,700

$402-$538

$670-$977

 

Financing Transit in Jackson County

Once transit alternatives are selected for these corridors — i.e., once a “Locally Preferred Alternative” or LPA is determined, local funding has to be obtained.  This is true whether there is a federal contribution to the project or not.

Revenue Source

Uses

Rate/Method

Estimated Amount

Jackson County Sales Tax

Operating and Capital

1-cent sales tax (maximum)

$80 million annually

Jackson County Property tax

Operating and Capital

One mill

$82,500 annually

Farebox revenue

Operating

Fares

Typically 20% of operating costs

Federal Funding

Capital

5309 program for either New Starts (projects > $250 Million) or Bus and Bus Facilities

New Starts 30-50% of construction costs or Bus and Bus Facilities 80 %

Jackson County has special taxing authority allowing voters to approve up to a 1-cent sales tax for transit, which would collect about $80 million annually. Jackson County has significant transit needs, especially in eastern Jackson County.  Not only does commuter transit need to be improved and expanded, but transit is needed to get to other activity centers such as jobs, education, medical facilities, shopping and entertainment in areas other than downtown. (Only 14% of the region’s jobs are currently in the CBD).

Although a property tax is a possible funding source, it doesn’t raise much money.

TAN realizes the study isn’t finished and there will be changes, but the total annual cost is important to understand Jackson County’s ability to provide transit. The following numbers are based on the information presented at the April open house. We will re-do our analysis when adjusted numbers become available.

Estimated Rail and Fixed Guideway Annual Costs

Fixed guideways being studied in two corridors

TAN’s estimate of annualized capital debt service for rail (@4% interest for 25 years) in millions

Annual operating cost in millions

Total annual cost in millions

I-70 corridor DMU

$29-38

$11

$40-49

Rock Island DMU

$21-26

$10

$31-36

Rock island BRT

$15-18

$3

$18-21

SE Corridor streetcar

$29-34

$6

$35-40

Very preliminary conclusions:

Open House #3 April 24 @ John Knox Village

  1. Without federal assistance, Jackson County cannot pay for DMU rail lines in three Corridors. Study of a third corridor, the Highway 71 corridor to Grandview, is just getting under way.  It is possible that the annual costs for the DMUs in the first two corridors (as high as $49MM plus $36MM) could use up more than the 1-cent sales tax ($80 million annually) with nothing left to provide supporting bus services, much less transit to other parts of the county.
  2. Without significant federal funding, any fixed guideway options still being considered would be difficult to justify considering all the other transit needs and issues. The costs would be further complicated with a fixed guideway option in the Grandview corridor.
  3. Voters in Kansas City might object to paying a full 1-cent sales tax on commuter rail from eastern Jackson County without much benefit to taxpayers living within the City. In other words, for a transit tax to pass county-wide, there would have to be something in the package for Kansas City.
  4. Since rail projects are so expensive, most cities seek federal funding to help build projects. The FTA has only been funding large projects with a cost-effectiveness rating of at least Medium. Once a  project qualifies to be considered for federal funding, it still has to compete against other cities and recently the FTA has only been covering 30-50% of the cost of rail projects selected for funding. For perspective look at the FTA current Capital Investment Program Project Profiles.

Sample of FTA Current Commuter Rail Projects

Total project capital cost in millions

Projected Weekday ridership

Denver-Eagle Commuter Rail

$2,043.14

57,300

Orlando-Central Florida Commuter Rail Transit-Initial operating segment

$357.23

7,400

Weber County to Salt Lake Commuter Rail

$611.68

11,800

Providence, RI South County Commuter Rail (extension)

$49.15

3,500

Compare to the commuter rail being studied in Jackson County

I-70 DMU

$480-600

1,150-2,800

Rock Island DMU

$326-413(doesn’t include cost of common segment)

500

Additional very preliminary conclusions:

  1. The two DMU rail lines could cost a billion dollars to build (using high-end estimates of  $600MM plus $413MM).
  2. The capital and operating costs for the Enhanced Express Buses could be covered without federal funding, although federal dollars are much easier to get for this use. Bus projects can usually be funded without issuing bonds. Bonds were not needed for the Troost and Main Street MAX lines. The FTA often pays up to 80% of the capital cost for major improvements to bus systems. Using such an approach, there would be money for other transit services in Jackson County, even without using the full 1-cent sales tax.
  3. Jackson County could fund express buses plus a robust transit system to serve other needs in the county at the same time.
  4. TAN expects that a reasonable allocation of any county transit tax would have to clearly provide a transit benefit in the City of Kansas City. Population and sales tax revenue in Jackson County are about evenly split between Kansas City and the remainder of the county.

Summary

Open House #3 April 25 @ John Knox Village

The purpose of performing an Alternatives Analysis is to find the best transit solution to seek federal funds. Federal funds are particularly important when proposing a rail project since they are so expensive. Sometimes good plans don’t get federal funding because of intense competition, but if a plan doesn’t qualify for federal funds because it isn’t cost effective, then it probably should not be built.  Sometimes cities fund a very short 1-2 mile starter rail line but rarely are long rail lines successfully funded with only local money.

Are Jackson County taxpayers prepared to pay for major transit plans that are not sufficiently cost-effective to qualify for federal funding? We doubt it.

An out-of-town transit consultant spoke at the MARC Transit committee when the two current rail studies started. He advised people to remember that serious rail transit is about the need to move a lot of people. Non-serious rail transit is about wanting to have a train.

Transit consultants in Kansas City will tell you when they do major commuter rail studies in other cities they usually come upon a robust bus transit system that will not be able to efficiently meet demand in the next few years and needs the additional capacity that rail provides. When they come to Kansas City to study rail, no such demand exists. We don’t even have a transit system in eastern Jackson County let alone one that is bursting at the seams and needs to be upgraded to rail.

Bottom line: What is the best use of our current or potentially available public money? Where do we get the biggest transit bang for our buck? Transit Action Network is very pro-rail, but we are also realistic and cost conscious. We want to see a significant transit improvement emerge from this study, and we’re waiting for the next wave of information and for the Locally Preferred Alternative to be determined. We hope the decision will reflect the information gained from spending nearly three years and $2 million dollars studying commuter options to find the best solution for the transit needs in Jackson County. Every major metropolitan region needs a good transit system that is appropriate for the community.

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Get Your Streetcar Ballots!!!!

Posted by Transit Action Network on April 30, 2012


Click to Enlarge

If you are a registered voter in the area designated for the downtown Transportation Development District  (TDD) you can order your ballot to vote to create the district starting today, Monday April 30. This is a mail-in ballot election.

Jackson County Circuit Judge Charles Atwell ruled on Friday that the district would be legal and the proposed financing plan is does not produce an undue burden on property owners. The plan is not unjust or unreasonable.

Request your ballot now!

Applications for a ballot are available as follows:

  • Download from http://www.16thcircuit.org/streetcar/
  • Pick up at the Jackson County Courthouse, 415 East 12th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64106, Third Floor, Room 303, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except legal holidays

You will not receive a ballot unless

  • you submit a valid application in accordance with the instructions on the application, and
  • your application is received by the Circuit Court Administrator’s office before 5:00 p.m. CDT on May 22, 2012

Ballots will be mailed on June 19, 2012, to those with a timely and valid application. Ballots will be due for return no later than 5 p.m. on July 31, 2012 in accordance with instructions on the ballot.

See the Full Court Notice Case Number: 1216-CV02419

The result of the Federal Tiger Grant application for $25 million is expected this summer. We sincerely hope to get that money.

Tell all your transit friends in the TDD to request a ballot.

After the voters create the district, a second election is scheduled for the fall to vote for the financing plan.

After that, Streetcar here we come!!!

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