This report for the Third Quarter of 2010 builds on our First Half report:
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.
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
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.
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
+ August meeting – Report
+ 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/
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):
Posted by our backup blogmeister.