Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

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TAN Comment on KCMO Draft TOD Policy

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 25, 2015


KCdesignsipadkcbackgroundKansas City’s Planning Department recently asked for comments on their Draft Transit Oriented Development Policy. LINK to KCMO Draft TOD Policy documents. Below is our comment. 120312-tan-logo21.jpg

Jeffrey Williams, Director of City Planning and Development

Subject: TAN’s comment on Draft TOD Policy

Transit Action Network has reviewed the lengthy Draft Transit Oriented Development (TOD) policy and we want to express our appreciation to City Planning for the comprehensive job you have done in putting it together.

We believe strongly that tangible and intangible incentives are more important in spurring development, especially along transit corridors, than the mode of transit, or indeed the existence of transit at all. Indeed this should not be a radical idea for Kansas City Citizens who have just offered over $1 billion in incentives, without a penny for transit, to lure Cerner into redeveloping Bannister Mall and bring in 15,000 jobs. Because incentives are so critical, we emphasize the importance of integrating capital-intensive transit and TOD, especially development incentives. The policy draft catalogued possible incentives very thoroughly and should serve as a good guide for the council in implementing policy.

We understand that one cannot develop a one-size-fits-all TOD policy, and the document has done a good job of explaining how TOD can be sculpted into different urban landscapes. TOD has, however, become a style of urban design and therefore runs the risk of becoming divorced from transit.

There is a huge difference between the cost of a light rail line and low level BRT. These differences impact capacity and expected ridership and should help define the character of TOD districts. That is why transit, development incentives and TOD districts must be integrated.

We see this as primarily an educational document since this policy lacks detail and guidance in some areas sufficient to allow new codes, regulations or ordinances to be written for a TOD district. Actual implementation of the policy awaits the designation of the first TOD district and the attendant political process that will then ensue in codifying specific TOD parameters and financial incentives. It’s hard to think of these policies in the abstract. Not until there are concrete proposals on the table will all the stakeholders come out of the woodwork and “duke it out”.

We would therefore like to see one overlay district designated on a well-developed transit corridor. The Streetcar, Main Street MAX or Troost MAX corridor would all provide such an opportunity. Although we believe the Prospect MAX should have an appropriate TOD overlay, we don’t believe Prospect MAX would be a good place to start, especially since it is several years away.

The city should designate the first TOD overlay district then proceed to draft detailed proposals from there.

Transit Action Network TOD Committee

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

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 5, 2013


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

Join them for the first ribbon cutting:TIGER

What: Downtown KCK MetroCenter Grand Opening

Where: 7th and Minnesota

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

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

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

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

New Alignment effective Aug. 11, 2013

New CONNEX Alignment effective Aug. 11, 2013

The new service and transit center will affect these routes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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We Have an Avatar!

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 18, 2012


You’ve been asking for it — well, some of you anyway — and now Transit Action Network has our very own avatar for the web. Gone forever is the white egg on maroon that Twitter gave us.

How’d it come about?  One of our Twitter followers (who happens to be a strong transit/bike/ped advocate) started pestering us about getting a proper identity.  When we agreed she was right, she offered to design this spiffy graphic for us. She prefers not to be identified, but we consider her a real asset, and we appreciate her talents very much.

 We describe our new avatar as Bold, Bright, Action-Oriented and Out-of-the-Box. TAN is certainly recognizable now!

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GO TROOST GO MAX New Service opens 1/1/11

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 28, 2010


Transit Action Network wants to congratulate KCATA on the new Troost MAX scheduled to open on New Year’s Day. KCATA will be handing out t-shirts to the first 250 people who ride Troost MAX. For the opening they will be planting tulips at 10 a.m. on the corner of 18th & Troost.

The Troost MAX line will run every 10 minutes on weekdays. MAX Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) only stops at MAX stations along the route, therefore making the trip faster. Click here for information about the new service. http://tinyurl.com/2elu35c

The new Troost MAX route will have lots of  Kansas City “FIRSTS”- – Kansas City’s first hybrid-electric buses, the first commissioned art in transit, the first “pervious” concrete parking lot in KCMO, KCATA’s first electric service truck and KCATA’s first rain gardens.

This is the GREEN line for a reason. There are lots of environmentally friendly features. Clean diesel engines to reduce nitrous oxide, rain gardens at 30 stations, energy-efficient LED lighting at MAX stations and solar lighting at local stops, benches made of a more sustainable “Ipe” wood from Brazil, recycling receptacles with solar powered trash compactors at stations, and pervious concrete to absorb water and reduce run-off at the new 31st St. Park-and Ride.

There are five hybrid electric buses, which use battery power from start to 25 mph, then kick into diesel, which also recharges the battery. Fuel economy is expected to increase 20%.

Original public art decorates the Troost MAX route. Make sure to enjoy these sculptures at night when the special lighting makes the art even more impressive.

The Artwork:

Matt Dehaemers’  “Catalyst” at 31st and Troost.  A large-scale kinetic sculpture that resembles a tree, playing off one origin of the word “Troost”, that is designed to open and close like a flower.

Jefre’s “Unite” at 39th and Troost. A sculpture that resembles the image of hands coming together, evoking a joining together or way to cross a divide. The sculpture is covered in drawings that area children created based on what they want to be when they grow up.

David Dahlquist’s “Every Day I have the Blues” at 75th and Troost. A giant piano tribute to Kansas City’s rich jazz history. The piano is red epoxy-painted steel with an aluminum structure and LED lighting. You can walk under the piano lid or sit on the keyboard.

Janet Rogers and Ron McLinden of TAN attended the December 15th KCATA Launch Reception to acknowledge all the people who have worked on the project from the congressional delegation to the FTA to the artists to the contractors and consultants.

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Third Quarter 2010 Action Report

Posted by Transit Action Network on October 22, 2010


This report for the Third Quarter of 2010 builds on our First Half report:

https://transactionkc.com/2010/07/13/transit-action-network-%e2%80%93-our-first-six-months/

Here’s a brief overview of what we’ve been up to:
 
Kansas City Funding of Transit
 
During the Third Quarter our principal focus has been on Kansas City’s funding of transit. 

https://transactionkc.com/2010/10/05/update-on-kc-transit-funding-1042010/

In September we worked with a reporter to get an article published in The Pitch on September 16 about Kansas City’s cuts in transit funding 

http://www.pitch.com/2010-09-16/news/kcata-bus-service-still-lousy/

All governments face budget challenges, but Kansas City has reduced its funding of transit far more than we believe justified, in large part because transit riders and proponents haven’t been sufficiently vocal.  The city’s half-cent sales tax has been the main support for transit since 1971, and whereas the budget shows that revenue stream actually increased by nearly 3 percent between 2003 and 2010, Kansas City’s use of that money for transit has decreased by more than 20 percent.  City budget officials have simply used the money for other purposes.  We testified at city budget hearings last March, but we’ve learned that to have a meaningful effect on the budget we have to influence decision-makers at the very beginning of the budget process.  We had an extended discussion with Acting City Manager Troy Schulte about that matter in August, and we are now about to complete a first round of meetings with all City Council members.  Our goal is to reverse the trend and minimize the diversion of half-cent sales tax money away from transit.  In our meetings with city officials we partner with Metropolitan Organization for Racial and Economic Equity (MORE2), a faith-based organization that brings the strength of a strong moral focus and its numbers to the cause.  As we do so we are in contact with KCATA management, but we maintain our independence.  We believe part of the outcome of our activity will be a more energetic effort on behalf of transit by the KCATA staff and its Board of Commissioners.

 

Regional Transit Initiatives
 
In response to the proposed “Regional Rapid Rail” commuter rail system championed by Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders, we continue to be very involved with key decision-makers, and with Mid-America Regional Council’s Transit Committee.  We are monitoring MARC’s “Commuter Corridors Study,” which is examining the concept, and we have submitted comments on the draft report.  Our involvement stresses the importance of cost-effective transit solutions while not allowing a high-profile transit proposal to draw attention away from pending threats to funding for current commuter bus services to Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit, and Liberty.

https://transactionkc.com/2010/08/05/big-week-for-regional-rapid-rail/

https://transactionkc.com/2010/07/15/regional-rapid-rail-and-marcs-alternative-analysis-request/

 

Public Events
 
We regularly attend public events related to transit:

+ Dedication of the new Christopher S. Bond Bridge over the Missouri River.

+ Formal award of federal stimulus funds (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER) for transit

+ Dedication of the new walking and cycling accommodation on the Heart of America Bridge

 

Mid-America Regional Council
 
We are an active and informed presence on behalf of transit at a number of MARC’s committee meetings.  We also are in regular contact with MARC’s senior staff regarding critical transit-related issues.
 

Kansas City Area Transportation Authority

We attend and report on monthly meetings of the KCATA Board of Commissioners.  

+ July meeting – Report and presentation regarding need for schedule information about JCT service at MAX stops

https://transactionkc.com/2010/08/08/july-kcata-boc-meetingcomprehensive-service-analysis-public-input-and-customer-satisfaction-survey/

+ August meeting – Report

https://transactionkc.com/2010/09/14/kcata-aug-2010-board-of-commissioners-meeting/

+ September meeting – We briefed the board on our efforts with respect to Kansas City funding for transit

 

Johnson County Transit

We continue to encourage The JO to improve its on-street presence (such as bus stop signs and posted schedules), to improve connectivity between their transit services and those of KCATA, and to help promote transit ridership in Johnson County with a special emphasis on the new service launched on July 6.

+ We have promoted transit ridership by reporting on the new service they launched on July 6   https://transactionkc.com/2010/07/09/inaugurating-the-new-johnson-county-transit-service/

+ We have encouraged use of JCT buses to Union Station https://transactionkc.com/2010/07/20/take-the-jo-to-the-jurassic/

+ We have reported on the formal kickoff event for the new service https://transactionkc.com/2010/08/16/news-from-the-jo/

+ We have helped to spread the word about new JCT services through social media https://transactionkc.com/2010/08/19/lets-tweet-up-transit/

 

Networking

We get things done by “networking” with other organizations.  We have informal contacts with:  MORE2 (Metropolitan Organization for Racial and Economic Equity); Let’s Go KC; League of Women Voters Kansas City/Jackson, Clay, Platte; and a number of other organizations.  We have been working in the Green Impact Zone and other urban core neighborhoods to educate and activate leaders and residents https://transactionkc.com/2010/07/24/action-the-green-impact-zone/

We also participate in the kcrag.com discussion forum http://forum.kcrag.com

 

You Can Get Involved

If you want to get involved, or just know more about what we are doing:

+ We’re on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/transactionkc – follow us.

+ We have a blog, http://TransActionKC.com

+ We have an email list for periodic updates and notices – send a note to TransActionKC@gmail.com to join

We have bi-monthly lunch meetings where we discuss current issues and opportunities for action.  These are generally held at the Kansas City, Missouri, Central Library
 
Submitted by Transit Action Network’s very informal steering committee (in alphabetical order):
 
Ron McLinden
Margie Richcreek
Janet Rogers

Posted by our backup blogmeister.

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Transit Action Network – Our First Six Months

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 13, 2010


We formed Transit Action Network in early January, 2010, to fill what we saw as a void in active citizen involvement on behalf of expanded and effective transit service in the Kansas City region.

We have deliberately not created a formal organization, preferring instead to spend our time and other resources on behalf of transit.  Nor have we established a formal membership list or asked for dues.  “Action” is our middle name, and we use words such as “involved,” “nimble,” “informed,” and even “scrappy” to describe ourselves.

Our transit focus is broad. It is regional, multi-modal, and promotes transit for all demographic groups.

Get Involved

If you want to be more involved or just know what we are doing

We have bi-monthly lunch meetings where we discuss current issues and opportunities for action.  These are generally held at the Kansas City, Missouri, Central Library

Here’s a brief overview of what we’ve been up to:

Accomplishments

  • Our information booth at the Green Impact Zone expo, March 27 focused on an “action” to contact Missouri Senators to put emergency money in the budget for KCATA. The action successfully helped to get $3 million in the Missouri budget even though Governor Nixon later suspended the use of those funds.
  • We testified at three of the budget hearings held by the Kansas City City Council and made the Mayor and the Council aware that its budget decisions were diverting scarce resources away from transit.
  • We initiated a series of quarterly “transit lunch” outings for members of the MARC Transit Committee and other interested people in order to experience local transit first hand.
  • We provided a panelist for the Imagine KC telecast on KCPT, February 15.
  • We provided a guest on a KKFI radio program on transportation and air quality, May 10.
  • We had a letter to the editor of the KCStar published about transit in Johnson County
  • We worked with the Green Impact Zone to promote teens using the ATA TRANZ Tags for the summer.
  • Our members have been quoted in newspaper articles frequently about  transit issues.

Regional Transit Initiatives

In response to the proposed “Regional Rapid Rail” system, we have had numerous meetings with decision-makers at Jackson County, MARC, and KCATA regarding the proposal itself, as well as an evaluation of the proposal currently underway by MARC.  We also testified before the Kansas City City Council in favor of deferring support for the concept until further information was provided.  We believe our role has been constructive and pragmatic, stressing the importance of cost-effective transit solutions and not allowing a high-profile proposal to draw attention away from a pending threat to funding of current commuter bus service, particularly in Jackson County.

Meetings with public officials:

Local:

The purpose of these meetings has been to discuss and find out about local transit issues as well as promote the idea of getting dedicated funding to secure and expand current transit services. We discussed funding mechanisms such as a County Transit Authority and Transportation Development Districts for transit. We believe the need for better transit services is now and we shouldn’t wait until gas prices are outrageous, or until a rail system might finally be built, before we improve transit. We have met with:

  • Southern Platte County Mayors
  • Councilmen Whitley, Gray and Mosby of Lee’s Summit
  • Mayor Randy Rhoads of Lee’s Summit
  • Community Development staff of Independence
  • Councilman Bowerman of Blue Springs
  • Mayor David Bower of Raytown, co-chairman of the MARC Transit Committee
  • Mayor Gerry Richardson and Councilwoman Gia McFarlane of Parkville

State:

  • We are actively involved in MoDOT’s Rail Passenger Advisory Committee.
  • We have been active participants in MoDOT’s Traffic Management Committee for construction of the Christopher S. Bond Bridge.

National:

We met Congressional Staff to discuss issues in the next Federal Transportation Bill and issues related to senior mobility.

  • Sarah Woodward, Aide to Congressman Sam Graves

Public Events

We regularly participate in public events related to transit:

  • MARC open house on the Long-Range Transportation Plan
  • February 17 announcement of the award of a federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant, and a subsequent media event to announce details
  • Various forums and “webinars” related to transit and urban development issues
  • MARC Regional Assembly luncheon, June 25
  • Missouri Chamber of Commerce Transportation Conference
  • National Rail Plan Outreach Meeting, May 19

Transportation committees at Mid-America Regional Council

We are a regular, active and informed presence on behalf of transit at the following meetings–and in many cases we are the only transit presence:

  • Transit Committee
  • Total Transportation Policy Committee
  • Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee (because transit riders use those modes)
  • Missouri STP/Bridge Priorities Committee
  • Air Quality Forum
  • Technical Forecast Committee (because how a region grows determines how well transit can work to provide access to opportunities for all)
  • Long-Range Transportation Plan Subcommittee
  • MARC Board of Directors (observer status only)

We also have regular contact with MARC’s senior staff, and we don’t hesitate to ask for and receive clarification on many issues.

Kansas City Area Transportation Authority

  • We have attended each of the monthly meetings of the KCATA Board of Commissioners this year, and have used these meetings as opportunities to build and improve informal relationships with both Commission members and senior staff.
  • We have regular contact with senior staff regarding a wide range of transit funding and service issues.

Johnson County Transit

  • We have regular contact with staff of The JO to encourage improvement of their on-street presence (e.g., bus stop signs and posted schedules), and to help promote transit ridership in Johnson County with special focus on the new service launched on July 6.
  • We have informal conversations with several members of the Johnson County Transportation Council, and with various Johnson County city and county elected officials.

Outreach / Communication

  • We have been working with MoDOT to build local awareness of the state-supported Missouri River Runner rail passenger service connecting Kansas City and St. Louis.
  • We participate in the kcrag.com discussion forum ( http://forum.kcrag.com ) to disseminate information about transit developments and issues.

Networking

We have informal contacts with:

  • Let’s Go KC
  • MORE2 (Metropolitan Organization for Racial and Economic Equity)
  • Sierra Club
  • Kansas City, Missouri, Environmental Management Commission
  • Kansas City, Missouri, Climate Protection Steering Committee
  • League of Women Voters Kansas City/Jackson, Clay, Platte

(Whew!  Sometimes we surprise ourselves!)

Submitted by Transit Action Network’s very informal steering committee (in alphabetical order):

Ron McLinden

Margie Richcreek

Janet Rogers

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New Silver Route in Independence

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 2, 2010


Before the opening event ceremony at Centerpoint

Mary Hunt, Senior Planner, and Mayor Reimal show the map of the new Silver Route

Mark Huffer, KCATA General Manager, speaking at the opening event

Independence Community Development Director Jennifer Clark and Senior Planner Mary Hunt celebrate the opening of the Silver Route with transit rider Pyllis Mays

July 1 – The opening event at Centerpoint Hospital for Independence’s new Silver Route transit service shows what can happen when people think ahead and creatively. Several years ago Independence structured the Centerpoint Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district to fund a new bus route. The route will run Tuesday and Thursday and connect Centerpoint Medical facilities, the Social Security Administration, 39th & Noland (Walgreens and CVS are both there), Olde Oak Tree Apartments, the Midwest Genealogy Center (a Mid-Continent library and the largest public genealogy library in the country) and the Independence Transit Center.

Independence Mayor Don Reimal pointed out that this is a really good use of TIF money and it shows that when Independence has the money they provide transit.  He emphasized that no money was used from general revenues. KCATA General Manager Mark Huffer pointed out that this is probably the first use of TIF to fund transit in Missouri.

Phyllis Mays, an Independence transit rider and transit advocate who helped develop the route, was the first person to ride the new route.

The buses for this route have been fitted with two wheelchair positions since Independence has identified the need to accommodate additional wheelchair passengers on this route.

We salute Independence for its funding commitment to its regular transit service. Sales taxes are down and the Community Development Department, which administers the transit service, has had budget cuts of 30% over the last two years.  The decision was made to absorb those cuts in other ways and keep the budget for the regular transit services consistent at $1 million.  Anyone who has paid attention to the sales tax funding crisis for transit around the whole country should find this an exceptional commitment to transit in difficult financial times.

JR

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The JO Will Expand Service in July

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 15, 2010


Johnson County Transit

June 12, 2010

Johnson County Transit has released tentative information about new and expanded routes that will begin in July.  This expanded service represents a significant step toward providing “real” public transit in Johnson County .

Metcalf / Plaza

Route 556 will replace Route H, connecting 135th and Metcalf with MAX at the Plaza, via Metcalf Avenue and Shawnee Mission Parkway .  There will be five morning round trips, and five northbound and four southbound evening trips.  We don’t know if 556 will extend eastward to Troost as Route H currently does.

Route 856 will provide three round trips of midday flexible service in the 556 corridor between 10 am and 3 pm.  Presumably this will be so-called “route deviation” service, with buses operating on a fixed schedule but able to go off-route to make pre-arranged pick-ups or drop-offs along the corridor.

75th Street / JCCC

Route 575 is a new route connecting MAX at 75th and Wornall with Johnson County Community College via 75th Street and Quivira Road .  There will be four morning and four evening round trips.

Route 875 will provide three round trips of midday flexible service in the 575 corridor between 10:30 am and 3 pm.  Buses will operate on a fixed schedule but able to go off-route to make pre-arranged pick-ups or drop-offs along the corridor.

Schedules are not yet available.

The JO is gradually switching from letters to numbers for route identifiers.

Why the different route numbers for midday service in the 556 and 575 corridors?  JCT will define 556 and 575 as “commuter” routes, which are exempt from the requirement to provide “ADA complementary service” during those periods.  Midday, such service is provided by the flexible nature of routes 856 and 875.  Complementary (not complimentary) service is a requirement of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Source of this information is the agenda packet for the June 9 meeting of the Johnson County Transportation Council (pages 24-25).

http://www.thejo.com/pdf/JCTC/JCTCPacket20100609.pdf

RM

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MARC will Host Webinar on Transportation and Climate Change

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 13, 2010


June 13 – Mid-America Regional Council will host a local viewing of a national webinar from the US Department of Transportation on Wednesday, June 16, from Noon until 1:30 pm at its offices, 600 Broadway.  You may bring your own lunch if you wish; drinks will be provided.  No need to register, but an RSVP to Lisa Pool at MARC lpool@marc.org is recommended.

The webinar is about a newly-released USDOT report to Congress, Transportation’s Role in Reducing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions — see press release:
http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2010/dot7510.htm
It might be a little wonkish for some, but we think it’ll be worth seeing, especially since improved public transit will be a part of our nation’s response to climate change.

RM

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KCATA Commissioners approve Comprehensive Service Analysis

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 6, 2010


May 26. Ron McLinden and Janet Rogers attended the KCATA Board of Commissioners meeting.

Items of note:

There are new opportunities for federal funds and KCATA will be applying for this money. Under “Clean Fuels” and “State of Good Repair” programs the requests will be out of items that are already in the ATA’s capital budget, such as hybrid vehicles and electric service trucks, a new revenue collection system and a new bus cleaning system.

The ATA will also be looking for eligible “livable communities” projects using the TIGER and TIGGER grant programs of ARRA.

KCATA is contracting for a Comprehensive Service Analysis of its bus operations. The 15-month $533,881 contract is with Nelson-Nygaard, a transit consulting firm headquartered in San Francisco. See the ATA staff presentation to the BOC-Comprehensive Service Analysis

If you don’t already know, rather than having major service cuts or raising fares again this year, KCATA is using its sales tax reserve account to maintain service. The Finance Department made a report saying if things continue as they are now, KCATA expects to exhaust it reserve fund early in 2014. Of course, improved sales tax revenue, full funding from Kansas City’s ½ cent sales transportation tax and one-time money from the State of Missouri would help to postpone or eliminate the problem.

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National Issues in Senior Mobility-Meeting with Sara Woodward (Field Rep for Congressman Sam Graves)

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 4, 2010


May 12, 2010. I met with Sarah Woodward, local field representative for Representative Sam Graves, for 1 1/2 hours to discuss national transit issues. Representative Graves is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. This committee has jurisdiction over all modes of transportation, including public transit and railroads. Sarah has worked for the Congressman for many years including three years in Washington, D.C. before returning home to the Liberty area.

We spent most of the meeting discussing funding for Senior Mobility. According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the number of Americans over age 65 will grow by 79% in the next 20 years and the number of Americans between ages 65 and 74 will nearly double in this period, from just over 20 million in 2010 to nearly 40 million in 2030. Congress needs to address the transit demands resulting from this demographic change.

Good public transportation is critical for older Americans to maintain independence. To serve the rapidly growing number of Americans over 65, public transportation may incur increased operating and capital costs on the order of another $3.9 billion annually by 2030.

According to the APTA report Funding the Public Transportation Needs of an Aging Population “Public transportation systems will need to expand flexible route and community transportation services, Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) complementary paratransit, demand-response service, taxi subsidy programs, and volunteer driver programs.”

We discussed the special transit needs of seniors in rural communities, and I also asked that Congressman Graves consider the following:

  • Fully funding the security needs for transit. Only $1.25 billion of the $3.4 billion authorized in the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 have been appropriated since it was enacted and even less has been directed in grants to transit agencies.
  • Increasing the percentage transit receives in the next Surface Transportation Authorization from an 82/18 highway/transit split to a 75/25 highway/transit split, as currently proposed.
  • Funding the Highway Trust Fund in a new manner, such as Vehicle Miles Traveled. (Sarah said Rep. Graves had privacy concerns about this method of funding)
  • Assuring that Congressional earmarks do not compromise the FTA evaluation process for major transit projects.
  • Supporting the Livable Communities Bill, S1619, that is currently in committee in the Senate.

Sarah said she would convey these concerns to Congressman Graves. Sarah works specifically with senior issues so having more information about their transit needs is very helpful.

Sarah and I will keep in touch about these issues.

Janet Rogers, June 4, 2010

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Meeting with Mayor Rhoads of Lee’s Summit

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 26, 2010


Lisa Lamons, Ron McLinden, Mayor Randy Rhoads, Janet Rogers and Margie Richcreek

May 17, 2010. Transit Action Network members Margie Richcreek, Janet Rogers and Ron McLinden met with the new Lee’s Summit mayor, Randy Rhoads, for an hour.  Lisa Lamons of MoDOT joined us.

Lee’s Summit is trying hard to satisfy the transit needs of its residents and has recently expanded the service area for its Metroflex service.

Janet had previously discussed with Mayor Rhoads the possibility of Lee’s Summit losing its status as a separate “urbanized area” and thus its small-urbanized area grant for transit. The current grant helps to fund the Lee’s Summit Metroflex for seniors, along with some Eastern Jackson County commuter routes. The grant is based on the fact that Lee’s Summit was classified as a “small urbanized area” following the 2000 census. The city has grown so much since then that it will probably lose this classification in the 2010 census, and the associated grant money would no longer be available. We discussed alternate funding for these routes, including Jackson County’s ability to use Missouri legislation to start a county transit authority to fund transit.  We provided information about the benefits of establishing a county transit authority, and offered to serve as a resource.

We discussed using the Missouri Transportation Development District Act for transit improvements, as has been done in the Centerpoint TDD that will fund a new route in Independence. This legislation is particularly good for public/private partnerships in transit.

In addition, we discussed the need for a contingency plan for increasing the commuter express service if gas prices spike in the near term.  We hope that Eastern Jackson County communities, KCATA and Jackson County can have a plan to avoid the type of transit crisis we had in the summer of 2008 when everyone was surprised by the rapid gas price increase.

We invited Lisa Lamons of MoDOT to piggyback on our meeting.  Lisa manages the state-funded Amtrak passenger service between Kansas City and St. Louis, and has been meeting with community leaders along the route to gain their support.  She described recent projects to improve track capacity, and the resulting dramatic improvement in on-time performance of the Amtrak “Missouri River Runner” trains to 93 percent on-time — best of any corridor in the country.  Lisa has marketing resources available and offered to help promote local events and attractions as a way to build ridership.

Mayor Rhoads was very receptive to the information. Since much of the material is new to him, he promised to give it careful consideration.

Janet Rogers

May 26, 2010

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Hello world!

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 10, 2010


Transit Action Network welcomes you to our blog.  We’ll  keep you informed about transit in the Kansas City region.

We regularly attend and participate in public meetings where key decisions are made — at Mid-America Regional Council, at city councils and county legislatures or commissions, and at transit agency governing bodies.

We establish contact with key public officials and present the case for improved transit service and more reliable funding.  We also maintain close working relations with staff at all of the relevant agencies.

Because we recognize that we can’t do everything by ourselves, we maintain informal relationships with other organizations and individuals who are also doing great work in support of transit.

Bottom line, we are involved.  Only by being involved can we expect to make progress.

We invite you to be involved, too.  Sign up to be notified about future transit actions, activities and opportunities to support improved and expanded transit in our region.  You’ll also receive notices of new blog postings.  And if you “tweet,” become one of our Twitter followers to receive occasional timely updates.

Informed people make the best advocates.  Get informed, get involved, help improve and expand transit service in the Kansas City region.

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