Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

Posts Tagged ‘Kansas City’

KCMO Budget Cheats Voters and Riders AGAIN

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 4, 2016


KCdesignsipadkcbackground

After 6 years and several city councils you would think KCMO would finally obey the transit funding law it passed in 2010, Ordinance 130796. Instead we have another submitted budget and current fiscal expenditures that fail the will of the voters, ignores the needs of riders, and rips off the bus system. If the city gave the buses half the love it gives the streetcar, riders would have a much better, bigger service. After all, that is what the city promised every time the voters passed the additional 3/8 cents Transit Sales Tax to supplement the ½ cent Transportation Sales Tax. KCATA was going to get all of the money to build that elusive bigger better bus system. Instead the net effect is at least 1/8 of a cent in sales taxes going to roads and the streetcar even though that wasn’t what people voted for. KCATA is not getting close to the 7/8 cents taxpayers are paying with these two sales taxes. In fact for several years after the recession, although there were plenty of sales taxes and service was severely cut, the city made KCATA use its reserve account to pay bills, so the city could shift money to roads.

Combining service cuts in 2009 and 2010, KCATA cut service levels over 10% during the recession. KCMO left the bus service decimated and the service has not been restored. KCMO’s policy of yearly diverting millions of dollars to roads and the streetcar has a very negative impact on the bus service. In city hall there is a blatant disregard for the rule of law, riders needs and the will of the voters.

Now the city administrator boosts in the budget letter, that he has fully funded KCATA. He fails to tell you that they are barely paying for the reduced service level left over after the recession.

The city has bleed the 1/2 cent Transportation Sales Tax dry using up all the recovery money for roads and ignoring a 2010 ordinance that would have made KCATA whole again by giving at least 95% of the ½ cent Transportation Sales Tax revenue to the buses. Adding a few late night buses this year to coordinate with the KC Streetcar is nice, but it is a long way from restoring service to pre-2008 service levels. Future revenue increases may be smaller than the last few years, so the recovery windfall that would have allowed restoration of bus service in a reasonable time-frame has probably been squandered.

This current level of service is certainly NOT why people voted for an additional 3/8-cent sales tax. City promises are broken, laws ignored and a significantly bigger better bus system is still a dream. Outside of a very narrow area, riders can’t get home on the bus at night from restaurant or retail jobs. Riders still have hour-long waits on a lot of routes. Service levels certainly haven’t blossomed up north. These problems are all a function of money and as long as the city diverts the money meant to grow the system and brags about barely funding the buses, don’t expect much growth.

Would you have voted for a 3/8 cent increase in sales taxes for the buses if you knew the buses weren’t going to get the 7/8 cents combined sales taxes? The city did a “Bait and Switch” leading to a defacto tax increase for roads. Besides the ethical problems with this process, the city keeps ignoring the law that says 95% of the ½ cent Transportation Sales Tax (after 3 deductions, one of which is $2.1 million to help pay for the Streetcar) is supposed to go to KCATA.

KCATAGiving KCATA at least 95% of the sales tax revenue would only leave a maximum of 5% of the sales tax revenue for Public Works/roads. That is about $1.5 – $2 million yearly. The city can NOT legitimately say it is following the ordinance when they give $9.5 million to Public Works this year and plan to give them $5 million next year? It is a scam, but since most people don’t look at the current fiscal year or question the huge amount going to Public Works when the submitted budget comes out, they miss what the city is really doing. We keep raising this issue, but the Council and the Mayor are complicit.FY15-16_Variance_Analysis

Here is how it works. The beginning balance is so large because the city low-balls the budget the previous year and then fails to give KCATA the increased revenue, so it flows through to the beginning balance for the next year. Then they divert the money to roads and the Streetcar. See how the city spent $9 million on roads this fiscal year, while claiming to obey the ordinance. It may look even worse once we get the final Actual numbers next year.

Why does the city keep shorting KCATA? What causes the city council to under fund the bus system in violation of the Ordinance? We visited with all the new council people on the Transportation and Infrastructure committee and Justus and McManus are both on the finance committee as well. They can’t say they aren’t aware of the situation. Huge amounts of this bus money goes to pay for road work by the Heavy Constructors Union, which usually makes big contributions to campaigns, like the last city earnings tax vote.

It is a shame that taxpayers and riders keep getting the shaft and their vote for more transit continues to be ignored by city hall. Voters did NOT vote for more roads with the 3/8 cent Transit Sales Tax. The city promised they would NOT do exactly what they have been doing, which is divert the ½ cent Transportation Sales Tax away from the buses. Even after they passed the ordinance the city continues to ignore the law and take the money for roads.

Just how much money are we talking about being diverted? Million of dollars every year!

The ½ cent Transportation Sales Tax (Public Mass Transportation Fund – Budget page 384) has a LAW, city ordinance 130796, that says the KCATA is supposed to get 95% of the available funds (after the 3 deductions). This calculation is a simple subtraction and multiplication exercise. Any grade school kid with a calculator can do this, but the city never gets it right. They constantly short KCATA by millions of dollars.

How much was KCATA shorted in just the last three years based on the ordinance

  • Actual FY14/15                 $6.0 million
  • Estimated FY15/16           $2.6 million
  • Submitted FY16/17     $900 thousand

The previous two years the amount is off so much because the city refuses to give KCATA the 95% of the actual available sales tax proceeds. Instead, they force KCATA to keep the low-ball budgeted amount and all increase from the recovery is siphoned off to roads the next year. This practice goes against generally accepted accounting principles, where accounts are adjusted to actual costs during the year. The accounting department exists to record the real revenue and expenses and make any adjusting entries as needed. The rest of the accounts are adjusted, but not KCATA’s payment. So we believe this practice violates the ordinance and is unlawful.

Reconciliation_for_KCATA_FY16-17In the submitted budget, KCMO insists it is following the ordinance this year, so we asked the budget director for a reconciliation of the $900K they are short. His explanation is very interesting but he hasn’t answered our questions raised by his reconciliation.

TAN agrees through the 95% calculation, but we have serious doubts about two of the other three budget entries.

Let’s start with #3, Street Preservation, which we agree with. KCMO Public Works Department does work for KCATA throughout the year. They will upgrade bus platforms around bus stops and various other small projects. KCATA owes the city money for this work, but instead of KCATA writing a check, the city has decided to reduce the pass though amount. This amount should be adjusted to actual cost throughout the year.

We have problems with #1 and #2 though.

#1 KCMO has a bus pass program. This year they owe KCATA $174,000 for bus passes for all city employees for the year. We think this is a great program. However, the city owes KCATA money, so why is it being subtracted from the amount paid to KCATA? The city should be increasing money to KCATA not decreasing. We have asked for an explanation, but the city has gone silent.

#2 The $555 thousand entry for Transit Operations remains a mystery, although we have asked repeatedly for an explanation. TAN is not aware of any other work the city does for KCATA like the bus platforms, so what does this represent? KCATA does have at least one contract to provide additional transit services to KCMO, which is related to the streetcar, but again that would be an increase not a decrease to the KCATA payment. Plus, if this item is streetcar related, the expense should be in the Streetcar Fund, not the bus money fund. We hope it isn’t streetcar related, but the city needs to explain.

So until the city can provide believable explanations about these adjustments, we stand by the statement that they are shorting KCATA in the Submitted Budget.

In addition to the city’s refusal to adjust the ordinance calculation using actual revenue, there are several other questionable accounting practices.

The city often underestimates the revenue forecast so the calculation for KCATA’s budgeted amount comes in too low. For instance last year’s adopted budget for revenue was $36.5 million. The estimated actual amount is now $39 million, but KCMO refuses to adjust what it owes KCATA, since this is the extra money they keep for roads.

The city plays an accounting game of smoke and mirrors, hoping to hide what it is doing and claiming it is fully funding KCATA. Giving KCATA enough money to barely cover a decimated service level is not the same as giving KCATA the sales tax proceeds people are paying to build a better system.

The ordinance says KCATA gets at least 95% of the PROCEEDS not the budgeted amount. Why does the city administrator refuse to give this money to KCATA? Mr. Schulte believes that any revenue received over his lowball budgeted amount for KCATA is his to give to roads. So of course he is motivated to underfund, some say cheat, KCATA and every year there are millions of additional sales tax dollars, which he takes for roads using this accounting practice. We believe this practice is unlawful based on the ordinance and we have complained to the city lawyer.

The City Administrator seems to be happy if the buses barely limp by, as long as he can work on roads and the streetcarPMT_summary_FY16_17

Where has the money gone instead? Since the additional 3/8 cent Transit Sales Tax was passed in 2003, the city has diverted over a years worth of transit to roads, $57.5 Million, and $8.4 million for the streetcar from the ½ cent Transportation Sales Tax. That amounts to $65.9 million dollars that has NOT gone to the buses. So don’t wonder why the buses don’t go where or when you need them, or why you have to wait an hour for the bus. The city refuses to give the buses the right amount of money based on what you are paying in sales taxes.

For your information, there is a problem with the 3/8 cent Transit Sales Tax too. The 3/8 cent Transit Sales Tax (KCATA Sales Tax Fund – Budget page 370) is 100% dedicated to KCATA by LAW, so why does the city keep holding such a large reserve? $1 million is plenty to cover a shortfall, and $1.5 million is very conservative. Here are the ending balances (reserves) for the last 3 years. (Budget Page 370)

  • Actual FY14/15         $5.9 Million
  • Estimated FY15/16    $4.3 Million
  • Submitted FY16/17    $4.3 million

This ending balance amount is excessive and one way the city harasses KCATA by withholding funds. They do not divert money from this fund to roads, they just hold on to it way too long for no valid reason. We raised this same issue last budget and the council finally gave KCATA another $3 million. Why can’t they do the budget correctly in the first place? The submitted budget needs to be changed and the KCATA payment increased by another $3 million.

Make no mistake that the city’s actions have long-term and permanent negative impacts for riders, KCATA and transit service.

  1. During the recovery the city forced KCATA to use over $17 million of its reserves to pay the bills for this reduced service level, even though most of those years there was sufficient money to pay for the bus service in the ½ cent Sales Tax fund if the money hadn’t been diverted to roads. The KCATA reserve amount has no way to be replenished. It was a one time windfall of money set aside when the 3/8 cent sales tax started, before they received new buses and service could be started. This permanent loss of money didn’t create any new transit benefits, as intended, except to keep the buses running when the city refused to fully fund the service.
  2. The loss of all the recovery money is another permanent loss to KCATA. All of the excess funds paid to Public Works for road work can’t be used to rebuild the 10% service reductions. It will be a very slow rebuild since all of that money was diverted.
  3. The city’s decision to take over $2 million yearly from the bus funding for the streetcar continues to hurt the buses. The Streetcar Fund (Budget page 389) has nearly $8 million in the ending balance for FY16-17. As streetcar expenses move from construction to operations, let’s hope the city reduces the amount of money taken from the buses, before it lower taxes and assessments in the TDD. Also, let’s hope that the city starts to charge the streetcar fund for all its expenses instead of taking additional streetcar related expenses from the bus money. These transactions are all permanent loses to KCATA and the bus service.

TAN is very aware that KCATA will put its best foot forward and it is trying hard to reorganize and redefine itself. KCATA has made significant strides forward in the last couple of years. We would like to see the city act as a positive partner instead of hindering KCATA’s ability to provide more and better transit.

Tell the city to fully fund the buses based on the ordinance and change the Submitted FY16/17 budget and the current fiscal year’s expenditures to be in compliance with the ordinance.

Opportunity for Public Comment on the budget:

Saturday, March 5, 2016
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Hillcrest Community Center
10401 Hillcrest Road

Also, please contact your council member and the mayor.

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Transit Talk OCT 27 – What You Need to Know About the Downtown Streetcar – 90.1FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on October 27, 2015


KKFI 90.1 FMJoin us for a Transit Talk about the new KC Downtown Streetcar.

Downtown Streetcar uses the RideKC brand and the streetcar icon

Downtown Streetcar uses the RideKC brand and the streetcar icon

Tom Gerend, Executive Director of the KC Streetcar Authority (KCStreetcar.org) speaks with host Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network.

When: Tuesday October 27, 2015 at 6 PM on RadioActive Magazine

Where: 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio

Listen to Podcast 

Our Streetcar being tested in New York

Our Streetcar being tested in New York

The first of four streetcar vehicles is about to arrive in Kansas City. How will the streetcar change our interactions with downtown? What changes are needed to keep everyone safe and enjoy the riding experience? Why is riding it free? What do I do with my bike? Why aren’t wheelchairs tied down? What do I need to know to park my car and ride my bike along the streetcar tracks? These issues and more will be covered on Transit Talk on RadioActive Magazine.

Our streetcar will work like this-1. bikes roll on and owners control them (see bike in middle of picture)- 2. wheelchairs roll on, find their designated location and LOCK WHEELS (no tie down). Picture from San Diego Trolley (light rail)

Our streetcar will work like this-1. bikes roll on and owners control them (see bike in middle of picture)- 2. wheelchairs roll on, find their designated location and LOCK WHEELS (no tie down). Picture from San Diego Trolley (light rail)

KCSc_VehicleExteriorGraphics_12-4

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Transit Talk Sept 29 – The Importance of APS and Carpooling – 90.1FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 29, 2015


KKFI 90.1 FMWould you cross a busy street blindfolded?  What is the most popular way to reduce cost and pollution on your daily commute?marclogo

Join us for two Transit Talks on RadioActive Magazine

When: Tuesday September 29, 2015 at 6 PM

Where: 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio 

Listen to Podcast
KCdesignsipadkcbackgroundAccessible_Design_for_the_Blind

  1. What are accessible pedestrian signals (APS) and why do we need them? Host Sheila Styron discusses the life saving technology of accessible pedestrian signals (APS) with Janet Barlow, Accessible Design for the Blind, and Chris Lockey, Kansas City Public Works. If you cannot imagine crossing one of Kansas City’s busy intersections blindfolded, then you won’t want to miss what these two experts have to say!KC_work_trips_by_mode
  2. Is the thought of driving to work by yourself everyday depressing? Are you looking for a way to reduce the cost of commuting? Do you care about air quality and reducing carbon emissions? Host Janet Rogers speaks with Amanda Graor, Air Quality Program Manager at Mid-America Regional Council, about carpooling and the region’s Rideshare program.  Amanda discusses the importance of carpooling in the region (9% of our regional work trips are carpooling), how to use MARC’s Rideshare website, and she tells us who won this years Green Commute Challenge. If you want to learn more or start carpooling call  816-842-RIDE (7433),  use Rideshare Connection at MARC or email rideshare@marc.org

Although Transit Action Network is dedicated to improving transit in the KC region, we are also very practical. If we can’t get to 82% of the jobs by transit, then people have to have an alternative to driving alone.

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Transit Talk Aug 18 – Regional Transit Landscape Is Changing Rapidly – 90.1FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 17, 2015


KKFI 90.1 FMJoin us! Multiple, major changes affecting bus systems and transportation for seniors and people with disabilities will be discussed on Transit Talk as part of RadioActive Magazine.KCATA

Dick Jarrold and Jameson Auten of KCATA discuss the recent changes to regional transit and the impact the changes will make on the community.  Hosted by Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network.

When: Tuesday August 18, 2015 at 6 PM

Where: 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio on Radioactive Magazine

MAX brtListen to the podcastjohnson-county-kansas-logo

Changes include Independence returning to KCATA for transit management, Johnson County passing an increase to property tax to expand The JO and Special Edition, one eligibility form and one call center for ADA trips, Link for Care, Main Street Max birthday, Prospect MAX, bus stop inventory and more.

All TAN radio show are available at TAN RADIO

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Please Review KCMO Draft Transit Oriented Development Policy

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 12, 2015


KCdesignsipadkcbackgroundKansas City’s Planning Department wants your comments on their recently released Draft Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Policy.

This document is extremely important for the economic development potential in transit corridors and around transit stations such as Streetcar and Bus Rapid Transit/MAX stations.

Transit Action Network is excited about this document since it is the missing piece in getting successful TOD. Building good transit, by itself, is not enough to get the desired economic development around transit stations and in transit corridors. Good land use policies, transit-friendly zoning codes and an incentive policy for developers are all needed. This TOD policy gets the ball rolling in the right direction.

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From the city:

“What is Transit Oriented Development (TOD)?

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is an approach to development that focuses land uses around a transit station or within a transit corridor in order to maximize access to frequent, high-quality transit and the benefits it provides. TOD is characterized by dense, compact development with a mix of uses in a pedestrian-oriented environment.

The Transit-Oriented Development Policy identifies the critical elements of a successful TOD and provides a concise program of initiatives to implement TOD in Kansas City. It is an important first step to ensure public transit investments are accompanied by new development and economic activity.”

 More Info:

For more information about the draft policy and to view the draft documents, please visit our project web page.

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The Planning Department considered similar policies from multiple cities to craft a policy it feels suits Kansas City. This policy is meant to address different levels of TOD depending on the density and economic potential of a corridor.

Please help evaluate the policy. It will lead to new zoning and development codes, which affect everyone from transit riders, homeowners, apartment/condo dwellers and large and small businesses.

Has the city taken appropriate situations, needs and groups into consideration?  How will this affect you, your group or business? Now is the time to evaluate the policy for completeness and desirability.  Now is the time to make improvements and changes.

You will find the Planning Department has put together a very extensive policy and a lot of time and effort has gone into this document.

Make sure you and your groups are comfortable with these recommendations or suggest improvements.

TAN suggests that you read the city’s questions on the KC Momentum page before reviewing the document. Since this document is long, knowing the questions before hand may help you focus on some of the main issues. Of course, you can comment beyond what the city has asked.

Provide your answers on their KC Momentum site through Aug. 28.

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“Progress on Prospect” Celebration

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 13, 2015


KCATACelebrate the good news with KCATA and Mayor James – Millions of dollars in new public and private investments to re-energize the Prospect community.

When:  5 to 7 p.m., July 15

Where:  Emmanuel Community Center, 3510 Prospect Ave.

Hot 103 JAMZ KPRS-FM will host a live remote from 4 to 6 p.m.KCdesignsipadkcbackground

Hear Kansas City Mayor Sly James at 6 pm, then watch a video showcasing the major projects underway or planned for Prospect Avenue.

List of investments include:

$74 million for the new Leon Mercer Jordan,

 Click to Enlarge Prospect_MAX

Click to Enlarge Prospect_MAX

East Patrol Campus (new police station is scheduled for completion early next year),

$3.6 million Morningstar Missionary Baptist Church’s Youth and Family Life Center at 27th & Prospect,

$12 million Prospect project with a new Linwood Shopping Center development and a new Sun Fresh Market,

and KCATA, in partnership with the city of Kansas City, Mo., is planning a Prospect MAX line.

Don’t miss a chance to celebrate Prospect. The event includes free food and prizes.

KCATA Bulletin for more information.

 

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Transit Talk July 7 – Bicycling and Walking in the KC Region – 90.1FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 7, 2015


KKFI 90.1 FMAre you noticing more bike lanes on the roads?

How are some Kansas City kids earning a free bike?

What is Bike Share?

Is the Kansas City region becoming more walkable?

Eric Rogers and Kristen Jeffers of BikeWalkKC talk about bicycling and walking in the Kansas City region with host Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network.

When: Tuesday, July 7, at 6 pm

Where: Transit Talk on RadioActive Magazine, 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio

Listen to the Podcast

Eric is Executive Director of BikeWalkKC and Chairs the Kansas City, MO Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

Kristen, who recently joined BikeWalkKC as Communications and Membership Manager, is known nationally for her blog, The Black Urbanist.

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On-Line Transit Forum KCMO 2015 Election!

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 9, 2015


KCdesignsipadkcbackgroundTransit Action Network regularly holds an on-line transit forum for big elections. This year we are covering the Kansas City election for Mayor and City Council. Transit Action Network does not endorse candidates. All candidates were asked to participate.

We focused on particular policy issues that concerned us the last few years. Due to the large number of candidates, we made a lot of questions YES/NO or short answer. We realize that many politicians don’t like to be pinned down, but they were given an opportunity to expand or clarify any position. They were also provided with documents we referred to in case they were not familiar with the material. We have included those documents here.

Due to the length of the forum, candidate responses are available in Links to printable files. We have alternated colors for ease of reading. Some candidates added comments to their YES or NO response, so be sure to see the comment section to see the full response.

We thank all of the candidates who participated and we look forward to working with the winners.

Please read your candidates positions and be sure to VOTE on June 23rd!

Part One: How important do you think a good transit system is to Kansas City?  

Sly James, Mayor, Website: http://slyjamesformayor.com – I believe we need to tie the city together with a comprehensive transportation system including
dedicated bus lanes and an expanded streetcar line. This is critical to our economic growth as we compete with other cities that have more transportation options, which spur transit oriented development, and move people to jobs safer and faster than we do in Kansas City. Comprehensive transit is critical to our aging population and our citizens with disabilities. It’s time for us to pull ourselves up to the big table of great cities and have a serious approach to our region-wide transportation system. I’m confident that we can fix this decades old problem by working with the new leadership at KCATA to develop new and innovative solutions.

Scott Wagner, 1st At Large, Website: http://Wagner4kc.comGood transit is a common denominator for a host of issues including employment stability, job creation, infill redevelopment and new development.  It creates the opportunity to build density as the availability of transit allows for building more units of retail and housing and less need for parking lots.  As I’ve also worked on homelessness and re-entry issues, transit presents an opportunity to get income challenged populations to jobs, amenities and necessities without having to further invest in cars.  Transit removes barriers.

Dick Davis, 1st Dist., Website: http://dickdavis4kc.com  – Critically important. Good public transit is one of the last hurdles Kansas City must conquer to become nationally and globally competitive. Public transit links workers to jobs, neighborhoods and families to shopping and services, and vacant or underutilized properties to economic development. Electrically-powered transit reduces dependency on the automobile, lessens pollution and helps create a more sustainable environment.

Jason Hodges, 2nd At large, Website: http://jay4kc.nationbuilder.com – It is imperative for the success of any city to have good transit. Transit is more than getting people to and from work, it is life style access, school access, elderly access, etc.

Dan Fowler, 2nd Dist, Website: www.danfowler4kc.com – An efficient integrated transit system is crucial to Kansas City’s progress.

 Katheryn Shields, 4th At Large, Website: http://ShieldsforKC.comA good transit system is very important to Kansas City for several reasons:

  1. We need to link jobs and people;
  2. We need to attract young people to our city;
  3. We need to provide affordable alternatives to the automobile to support the working poor;
  4. We need to take actions that help protect the environment, and reducing the need for automobiles is just one desirable action;
  5. We need to provide transportation alternatives for the elderly and disabled.

Jolie Justus, 4th Dist., Website: http://www.joliejustus.com – A good transit system is critical to Kansas City. I support a regional, comprehensive, multi-modal, mass transit system that includes buses, sidewalks, bike lanes, roads/bridges, fixed rail and streetcars. Based on the information available to me at this time, our top transit priorities should involve seamless, regional and reliable transportation for residents to access jobs and basic services. A special priority should be placed on the needs of low-income residents, seniors, students and the disabled. I make all of my decisions on a case-by-case basis, utilizing all available data and input from all potential stakeholders. I will not pledge or commit to supporting any specific plans or policies, but I can commit that transportation services and infrastructure are at the top of my priority list and I will take transit issues into consideration when casting a vote on any policy matter.

 Dennis Anthony, 5th At Large, Website: http://Dennis4kcmo.comSeriously?? We need major improvements to transportation including more eco friendly low emission buses.

Lee Barnes, Jr., 5th At Large, Website: http://leebarnesforkc.com – Public transportation is very important to Kansas City. It is essential because it is one of the most effective ways to move people to jobs. Businesses located near public transportation experience more employee reliability and less absenteeism and turnover. In my opinion, Kansas City’s public transportation system can be enhanced most by developing MAX bus lines along the corridors that are the most traveled such as Prospect and Independence Avenue. I also believe that we should explore the development of a regional transportation system that can move people to jobs in the outer core of the metropolitan area. A regional system can also entice residence from the outlining areas of the Metropolitan area to visit the entertainment districts within the core of the city.

Ken Bacchus, 5th Dist. Website: www.KenBacchus.comA good transit system is very important to Kansas City as it is able to provide options for many individuals and families as they attempt to make important decisions for their livelihood on a daily basis. A good transit system provides multiple options for the users, including a planned bus system with optional day and peak systems, hopefully a dedicates rail system (Streetcar, light rail or heavy commuter rail) appropriate park and ride options and a system with good regional partner governments or a regional taxing authority to create a seamless system. It is very important for the traveling public who cannot or do not wish to own multiple automobiles to have options for mobility. A good transit system reduces carbon monoxide and other emissions into the environment and helps keep our air clean for current and future generations.

Terrence Nash, 6th Dist., Website: http://www.nash4kc.com – See website

Kevin McManus, 6th Dist., Website: http://Kevin4KC.comThe development and implementation of an affordable and accessible regional transit system is critical both to our city’s future and the quality of life of our residents.   The cost of driving continues to rise, and owning a car is a luxury that many residents simply cannot afford. In addition, many residents who can afford a car also want to use public transit and expect to have access to a transit system from their neighborhoods. For these reasons, our city needs to continue to develop and expand its regional transit system so it can provide residents with a variety of options and multiple modes of transportation, whether by car, bus, rail, bike or foot.

Print version of  Part 1 responses TAN Part 1 KCMO 2015 Election

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Part Two Questions: Pedestrian and Special Transportation Issues, and Funding Current Transit Operations

A. Pedestrian issue

1.City Council adopted the Walkability Plan  in 2003 as part of the FOCUS Kansas City Plan. However, the Walkability Plan was never integrated into the Development Code, except for a Walkability Study being triggered when a Traffic Study is required. Therefore, contrary to the intent of the plan, Walkabilty issues are rarely addressed with new developments.

Do you favor implementing recommendations from the Walkability Plan into the Development Code?

YES or NO

B. Special Transportation

2.Demand for special transportation services (like Share-A-Fare) is growing rapidly as demographics change, such as an ageing population. Current service levels may not meet the demand in the medium term.

Do you support the efforts of KCATA, MARC’s Regional Transit Coordinating Council and the MARC’s Mobility Advisory Committee to create a seamless, regional Special Transportation system to better serve the whole community and meet increasing demand?

YES or NO

3. Easter Seals provides multiple resources for issues related to people with disabilities. Last year they released“Effective Snow Removal for Pathways and Transit Stops” (ES_Snow_Removal_Brief), which discusses best practices from other cities for snow and ice removal to insure accessibility for people with disabilities.

Will you support implementing best practices in areas where the city may fall short of these snow removal practices, therefore increasing safety and accessibility in winter for people with disabilities?

YES or NO

C. Funding Current Transit Operations

4. Twice Kansas City voters passed an additional 3/8 percent transit sales tax in addition to the ½ cent transportation sales tax to fund area transit.

However, since 2003, Kansas City has diverted $52 million (sales tax use since 2003) from the ½ cent transportation sales tax to pay for road projects. In the current FY15-16 budget, $6 million is going to roadwork from this revenue source. Failure to provide the sales tax revenue to KCATA has delayed restoration of the 9.5% service cut made in 2009 due to the recession and implementation of improvements such as the Prospect and North Oak MAX lines.

Will you commit to following Ordinance 130796 and pay KCATA “no less than 95% of proceeds derived” from the ½ percent transportation sales tax (Public Mass Transportation Sales Tax), as calculated in the ordinance? This means the KCATA payment would be re-calculated if the actual sales tax revenue is higher than budgeted.

YES or NO

5. Additional comments on the above topics 

  • A. Pedestrian issues
  • B. Special Transportation issues
  • C.Funding Current Transit Operations

Part Two – Questions and Candidates Responses:   TAN Part 2 KCMO 2015 Election

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Part Three Questions: Regional Transit, Transit Oriented Development and Streetcar Extensions

D. Regional Transit

6. Which two regional transit issues do you feel are the most important to the region and want Kansas City to take a leadership role?

  • A. Purchase the Rock Island Rail Corridor for use as an extension of the Katy Trail and possible future transit corridor.
  • B.Creation of a seamless coordinated regional Special Transportation system for seniors and people with disabilities
  • C.Creation of a seamless regional bus system that fills the huge regional service gaps that exist.
  • D.Establishing the goal of doubling access to jobs available by transit over the next 10 years
  • E. Building a Commuter Rail system throughout Jackson Count
  • F.Creation of a regional financing mechanism for transit
  • G.Other:____Provide another reason____________

Choices 1.____________ 2._______________

E. Transit Oriented Development

 7. Do you support the creation of designated transit corridors with enhanced transit services (BRT or rail), zoned for mixed-use, higher density development, reduced parking requirements; and designed around “complete-streets” concepts, while offering broad financial incentives for developers?  

YES or NO

8. Besides the present downtown streetcar corridor, which one or two transit corridors do you support being rezoned for Transit Oriented Development along the lines suggested above.

  1. ______________ 2.______________

G. Streetcar Extensions

9a. Do you support extending the streetcar to the Plaza/UMKC Area?

YES or NO

9b.The main reasons for your answer: pick two from the appropriate column

kcmo_2015_9b

 

 

 

 

 

10 Funding a streetcar extension: The city takes over $2 million yearly from the city-wide ½ cent transportation sales tax, which normally funds the bus system, to pay for the Downtown Streetcar. That amounts to $50 million toward the 24-year bond re-payment, or about half of the base cost of the Downtown Streetcar.

Would you accept a streetcar extension financing plan that takes additional money from the bus system out of the ½ cent transportation sales tax?  

YES or NO

11. Additional comments on the above topics 

  • A. Regional Transit initiatives
  • B. Transit Oriented Development
  • C. Kansas City streetcar extensions.

Part Three –  Questions and Candidates Responses: TAN Part 3 KCMO 2015 Election

Transit Action Network hopes that this On-line Transit Forum has been helpful.

****************************

Background for new transit advocates:

  1. In FY14-15, the KCATA payment from the ½ cent Transportation Sales Tax was not re-calculated from the budgeted amount even though there was a 13% increase in sales tax revenue. Based on the Submitted Budget for FY15-16, that amounted to $4 million being diverted from KCATA last fiscal year.
  2. The $2.1 million annual transfer from the 1/2 cent Transportation Sales Tax to the Streetcar Fund previously went to the bus system. Per the city treasurer, approximately $830,000 of this transfer is related to the property tax on city owned property in the Downtown Transportation Development District (TDD). The additional yearly $1.2 million is a contribution the city gives the streetcar and is not based on city owned properties.
  3. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) policy does not support federal funds being used for rail if the local bus system is harmed in order to build a rail system. As a result, current Kansas City officials have said that the service levels for the bus system will be maintained so the bus system is not harmed by taking $2.1 million yearly away from the buses.

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Transit Talk Mar 31 – Prospect MAX, RideKC and Re-Designing Downtown Transit on 90.1FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 30, 2015


KKFI 90.1 FMWhat happened to Prospect MAX after the streetcar extension vote failed? What is RideKC? Why are we re-designing the flow of transit downtown?MAX brt

Host Janet Rogers speaks with Cindy Baker, KCATA Vice-President of Communications and Dick Jarrold, KCATA Vice President of Regional Planning and Development about these important regional transit issues.

LISTEN TO PODCAST

  • When: Tuesday March 31 at 6 pm
  • Where: KKFI 90.1 FM Community Radio, Radio Active Magazine

    Downtown Streetcar is using the RideKC brand and the streetcar icon

    Downtown Streetcar is using the RideKC brand and the streetcar icon

  1. Get the latest update on Prospect MAX. Funding for this project was linked with the streetcar extension last year. This project is very important to the east side of Kansas City and needs to go forward without the streetcar. The Prospect BRT Advisory Committee has been reformed and planning continues, but are we getting closer to a Prospect MAX as a stand-alone project? Prospect MAX visuals
  2. RideKC is the new regional logo for all things transit in the whole region. TAN has advocated for a regional brand for years. This new brand is the first major step in creating a regional transit system. Find out about the new regional transit brand. KCATA Board Approves RideKC brand
  3. Downtown is getting a transit make-over. What are the proposed changes and how they will affect you? Downtown Service Improvement Concept

DT_Transit_021115Join us Tuesday at 6pm on 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio.

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Lots of Changes Needed To The KCMO Transit Budget!

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 25, 2015


Kansas_City_STARMike Hendricks’ article in the KC STAR last Saturday about the city’s new “Rumor” page, shows that the city is so desperate to divert the bus money that it will mis-represent a city ordinance to spin its position. The city does not want to re-calculate the bus payment from the ½ percent sales tax on the proceeds for the year. Hendricks, like anyone else, can read the ordinance and see the bus funding is not based on a year old estimate, which is wrong by $4M, but on the proceeds for the year. http://bit.ly/1CGgEe6

We want to clarify that this issue is not about KCATA, but the city’s integrity and honesty in how it deals with voters, taxpayer’s money and obeying city law.  We should not need an ordinance for the city to honor its promise to voters to build a bigger better bus system. The city’s promise provided the bus system with 7/8 percent sales tax, if voters agreed to pay an additional 3/8 percent to supplement the 1/2 percent sales tax. However, we got the city to pass the ordinance when it was caught diverting large sums of money away from the bus system. It seems the city is struggling to break that habit, even with a city law. Taxpayers don’t like bait and switch especially when it concerns their hard-earned cash. If KCATA doesn’t get the money, then we don’t get the bus service we were promised. We are paying the 7/8 percent in sales taxes but the city isn’t giving all the money to the bus system.

KCdesignsipadkcbackgroundSince the city council is voting March 26th on the new budget, let’s look at all the problems we are aware of in both this year’s actual expenditures and the Submitted Budget. Get the Submitted Budget FY15-16

Public Mass Transportation Fund (1/2 percent sales tax) PAGE 382

Fiscal year 2014-2015 actual expenditures

1. We want the budget department to calculate the final payments for the bus system for this fiscal year based on the formula in Ordinance 130796 for the actual PROCEEDS for this year. The payments are not based on the budget, which was estimated a year ago and ended up being significantly underestimated. Revenue going up an unexpected 13% is great, and if the budget department had budgeted correctly last year, KCATA would already be receiving the correct amount. Based on the year-end estimated figures and the ordinance formula for net receipts, KCATA should receive over $29 million this year but the report shows they are only going to receive $25 million. KCATA is only receiving 81% of the net receipts and 68% of the gross receipts. That is a long way from the 95% of net receipts stated in the ordinance. The city should not disobey the law or change it to avoid paying the bus system the appropriate amount of money.

We are concerned about facts, and this is not a rumor. The city has not dealt with why they aren’t re-calculating the payment to the bus system for FY14-15.  They talk about doing the adopted budget right last year, which is irrelevant now, or they talk about the Submitted Budget for next year, or they talk about the 3/8 percent sales tax when this problem is with the 1/2 percent sales tax. So far there is total avoidance of the real issue.

This fiscal year isn’t over until April 30th and it takes the city about 2 months to close the books. During that time it is easy and a normal accounting procedure to make these types of adjustments for the payment to KCATA based the net sales tax proceeds generated for this year.

2. The ordinance says the downtown streetcar subsidy “shall not exceed $2,039,000” The city is transferring $2,068,000 to the streetcar. This amount is wrong and should be corrected.

At this point Kansas City is not honoring its promise to voters, distributing the sales tax as taxpayers believe their taxes are being spent, or obeying the law as passed in Ordinance 130796.

Fiscal year 2015-2016 Submitted Budget

1. Obviously there will be significant changes to the amounts budgeted for Public Works and the transfer to the General Fund for Street Maintenance if corrections are made to Fiscal Year 2014-2015. Nevertheless, we have to deal with what is currently on the report.

  • We have several concerns about the $2 million transfer to the General Fund.
    • According to state law this money can only be used on transportation projects. When money is transferred to the General Fund it loses its audit trail as transportation money.
    • The budget director says this money is transferred to the Street Maintenance Fund. There is a transfer from General Fund to Street Maintenance for $15.7 million, so the state mandated requirement appears lost for the $2 million. This transfer should have been made directly from the Public Mass Transportation Fund to Street Maintenance Fund page 387. The budget shouldn’t be a scavenger hunt for the money. This two-step transaction looks like the city is trying to hide the fact that additional money from the bus funding is going to street maintenance. Of course, this money probably shouldn’t come out of the bus funding to start with.
  • The budget director said this $2 million for Street Maintenance is for street re-paving, including re-paving the streets for the streetcar work. Obviously the streets need to be re-paved along the streetcar construction line, but this re-paving should be charged to the Streetcar Fund, page 387 in the budget, and not the Public Mass Transportation Fund, which funds the buses. Basic Accounting 101 requires billing to the correct account for the work done. The correct account should be charged.

2. Using the ordinance formula for net receipts, the amount budgeted for KCATA is too low by $350,000 in the Submitted Budget.  The formula should be calculated correctly, with transparency, each year. Any attempts to do otherwise will only be seen as an attempt to subvert the ordinance. KCATA can receive at least 95% of the adjusted receipts, but not less. If the proceeds are more next year, then the payment needs to be adjusted upwards. This amount needs to be corrected.

The City Manager has said that the budgeted amount will be the minimum KCATA will receive. That is why he has a reserve in the account. We agree with that process but the reserve should only be about $1.5 million.

3. The ordinance says the streetcar shall receive no more than $2,039,000, but the budget has $2,069,000. The ordinance clearly states a fixed maximum amount, so this line item needs to be corrected.

KCATA Sales Tax Fund (3/8 percent sales tax) PAGE 368

Fiscal year 2015-2016

This Fund handles the 3/8 percent sales tax and the receipts are dedicated 100% to KCATA by voters. We appreciate that the city is going to transfer the excess money that has accumulated in this account to KCATA. It is about $3 million.

We will know the outcome of the budget deliberations tomorrow, Thursday March 26.

Previous posts on this topic:

KSHB41 TV Reporter Lexi Sutter Understands The Bus Funding Problem includes a list of the amounts of money diverted from the bus system since 2003.

Speak Up! Why is Kansas City Giving Transit Money To Public Works, AGAIN? includes calculations of bus payments based on the ordinance

Posted in Local Transit Issues | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

KSHB41 TV Reporter Lexi Sutter Understands The Bus Funding Problem

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 14, 2015


 

KCdesignsipadkcbackgroundKSHB41 TV Lexi Sutter’s investigative reporting on the bus funding for the current fiscal year makes the right points, but the city keeps talking about the next budget instead of this year.  http://m.kshb.com/1KU607o

Why won’t Kansas City give the buses 95% of the proceeds from the 1/2 percent transportation sales tax for 2014-2015? The city says it used the Ordinance 130796 formula correctly in last year’s budget. But the buses get 95% of the proceeds from the sales tax, not the estimated budget! The estimated budget, which projected revenue a year ago, ended up being 13% too low and amounts to over a $4.2 million difference. The city isn’t explaining why they haven’t re-calculated the bus money using the correct number. Assuming the city calculates the correct amount for this year, then KCATA will receive sufficient payment to fully cover the cost of the bus service and it won’t have to use its reserve account to maintain the bus system this year. In the submitted budget, KCATA won’t have to use its reserves next year either.

Read Ordinance 130796  http://cityclerk.kcmo.org/LiveWeb/Documents/Document.aspx?q=zT%2b9oP6Cj23recZFOqoSsx7Who34WMwvQMLTybnkidgfyTXyiaO8cwN9vsqsA1HT

Please contact the City Council and the Mayor and tell them that you voted to pay higher sales taxes for a bigger and better bus system. You want your sales taxes spent as they promised.

The final Finance Committee meeting on the budget is at 8:30 am next Wednesday, the 18th, 10th floor, City Hall. You can also send an email or call the City Council and Mayor

Here are the basic points to be made.
1 This current fiscal year, 2014-2015, the city needs to honor its commitment to voters and taxpayers and obey ordinance 130796, and give the buses 95% of the actual proceeds from the Public Mass Transportation Sales Tax, as calculated in the ordinance.
2 The ordinance does NOT limit the bus money to the estimated budget amount from last year, that is WRONG and everyone knows it. Calculate the right amount based on the actual tax receipts.
3 Not adjusting to the actual dollars is a violation of the law.
4 The budgeted revenue for 2014-2015 was 13% too low. The buses shouldn’t suffer because the budget was terribly wrong. If the budget department had estimated the correct amount last year, then the buses would be getting the right amount of money to start with. So they should get the additional money NOW. It is normal to adjust to the actual dollars
5 Stop trying to ignore this violation of the law by changing the subject to the submitted budget for next year, 2015-2016.

Ask any official you talk to or email if they will commit to making sure the bus system gets the correct amount of money this year based on the ordinance. You can find the email addresses and phone numbers for the city officials at KCMO.gov

These numbers do not include the 2% Administrative fee or TIF

These numbers do not include the 2% Administrative fee or TIF

We wish the city would stop playing games with taxpayers money. People desperately need a bigger and better bus system and a large majority of people voted for extra taxes to get just that. The first vote for the additional 3/8 percent sales tax was in 2003.  Here is a chart of how much money has been used for purposes other than the buses from the 1/2 percent transportation sales tax since that first vote, despite promises from the city. The bus system is not receiving 7/8 percent in sales taxes.

It is a very sad comment on city government that we felt an ordinance was needed to get the city to honor its commitments to voters. It shouldn’t be needed but you can see for yourself what they have been doing. This was the first year the full 95% of the sales tax was supposed to kick in and the city is still trying to get out of it by keeping $6 million to give away next year.

See our previous post with more detail.  Speak Up! Why is Kansas City Giving Transit Money To Public Works, AGAIN?

 

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Speak Up! Why is Kansas City Giving Transit Money To Public Works, AGAIN?

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 20, 2015


KCdesignsipadkcbackgroundGood and bad transit news exists in the KCMO budget submitted for 2015-2016, but the bottom line is that over $4.2 million in sales tax revenue that should go to KCATA in the current fiscal year, 2014-2015, is being diverted to Public Works in the Submitted Budget for 2015-2016. Public Mass Transportation Fund_2015-2016

Since 2010 Kansas City ordinances say starting in 2014 the city would give KCATA at least 95% of the proceeds from the ½ cent Transportation Sales Tax (Public Mass Transportation Fund) less 2% Administrative fee, TIF and, more recently, $2,039,000 for the downtown streetcar. To us, if KCATA gets a minimum of 95% that means Public Works can only get a maximum of 5%. Any additional money has to go to KCATA. Current ordinance 130796  (KCATA has instituted cost savings)KCATA

Our request to the city council as it deliberates the budget is, “Please enforce transit ordinance 130796 this year, 2014-2015. When sales tax revenue increases over the budgeted amount, then KCATA’s pass thorough payment should be adjusted using the actual proceeds. KCATA should be receiving the windfall from the increase in sales tax revenue. If the original budget number for sales tax revenue had been closer to the actual amount, then KCATA would be getting this money. So why not now? Instead the city manager thinks that Public Works should get the difference. That doesn’t even make sense. Please, don’t let more than $4 million be diverted from transit.”

Transit Action Network plans to testify at both public hearings. Please consider letting the council know what you think about this diversion of transit money to Public Works.

Public Meetings:

  •  Saturday, Feb. 21 | 9:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m., Regional Police Academy, 6885 N.E. Pleasant Valley Road
  •  Saturday, Feb. 28 | 9:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m., Southeast Community Center, 4201 E. 63rd Street

This time last year, the 2014-2015 Budget looked fine, no problem. KCATA was being allocated an appropriate amount of money based on the calculation in the ordinance.

This week we got a look at how the City Manager is actually using the sales tax receipts. In the Submitted Budget there is another column – the Estimated actual revenue and expenditures for 2014-2015.1_2_cent_PMT_2014-2016

This Estimated column shows Kansas City ½ cent sales tax Public Mass Transportation Fund, on page 382 of the Submitted Budget, has finally made a good recovery from the recession. Instead of the budgeted amount of $32.8 million in receipts, the city is now estimating it will receive $36.5 million this year. That is great. Kansas City hasn’t been able to collect enough sales tax since 2009 to pay for the current level of transit service.

However, we don’t see any increase in KCATA funding to reflect the windfall. In fact, the estimated final amount is $808,000 less than originally budgeted. This is so unfair and wrong!

Re-calculating the KCATA funding using the new sales tax revenue amount, KCATA should get $29.1 million, but it is only estimated to get $24.9, which is $4.2 million less than it should receive based on the ordinance.

So while KCATA funding is slashed, the city is giving Public Works $1.36 million more than its 5% this year and $4.7 million over its 5% next year.PMT_2015_2016_xlsx

The city is currently expecting to finish 2014-2015 with a revenue increase of $3.7 million over budget in this fund.

In 2014-2015, after the re-calculation for the ordinance, the city is:

  1. giving Public Works an additional $1.4 million over its calculated maximum
  2. giving KCATA $4.2 million less than it should receive
  3. ending the year with $6 million in the ending balance. There should never be a big remainder in this account. That is evidence the money is not being distributed to KCATA at 95% of the receipts. An appropriate ending balance for this account is closer to $1.5 million

In 2015-2016 the city is:

  1. budgeting the same sales tax revenue as estimated for 2014-2015.
  2. giving Public Works an additional $4.7 million over the 5% calculation (this is the money they diverted from KCATA by hoarding it in 2014-2015)
  3. Public Works is getting $6.2 million out of this fund, when it calculates a maximum of $1.5 million.
  4. KCATA is getting $350,000 less than required by the formula.

So how does this happen? The city manager and TAN read this ordinance very differently.

TAN – KCATA receiving 95% of the proceeds from the sales tax means just that. Budgets are estimates of what the city thinks is going to happen. When it gets actual numbers the amount gets adjusted based on the ordinance. That is normal.

City Manager reply to TAN on Wednesday: The amount calculated for the budget is a fixed number and he won’t re-calculate it. Any additional money that comes in allows him to direct it to Public Works.

We find that position almost unbelievable. His position is if the city does a really bad guess on the budget revenue number, like this year, then KCATA has to suffer and all the additional sales tax generated by the people is available for Public Works. Is he really going to stand by that?

We think the city manager’s contorted reading of this ordinance fundamentally wrong. Even his reasoning implies that if the budget projection for sales tax revenue was close to being right, then KCATA would have gotten all this money. So why shouldn’t KCATA receive it now? If the budget department is way off on the sales tax revenue estimate, KCATA shouldn’t suffer and Public Works shouldn’t get the windfall.

The city council made it clear by the ordinance that this money is meant to support transit. The 5% for Public Works is traditional because Public Works does services that are beneficial to the transit such as snow removal.

This money is not meant to be a slush fund for Public Works. Repeated diversions of transit funds by blatantly ignoring ordinances makes us wonder if that isn’t the best term to describe what goes on in this constant battle to maintain transit funding. Transit advocates shouldn’t have to keep having this same fight.

When the media and other people complain that transit isn’t as good as they think it should be, maybe they should look at the city for diverting so many millions of dollars since 2003 from the of ½ cent Public Mass Transportation Fund and giving it to Public Works instead of using it to provide transit service.

Why does this matter?

  1. We need to establish the correct use of the calculation in the ordinance because otherwise when there is more revenue than budgeted, the city manager will continue to divert the money to Public Works instead of using it to improve transit.
  2.  Improve the state of our transit system:
  • 2014-2015- KCMO is finally raising enough sales tax to cover the current service level, but it is not paying its bill. Every year since 2009 KCATA dipped into its reserve account (city money held for an emergency, like we had in 2009) to pay the difference between what the City gives them and what the transit service actually costs. Why wouldn’t the $4.2 million automatically go to fully pay the city’s bill and stop KCATA from depleting its reserve account?
  •  2015-2016- KCMO funding will barely cover the cost of the transit service, but that is still great since that is the first time it happened since 2009.
  •  In 2009, transit service was cut 9.5% due to the recession. That service level has never been restored. We are limping along with far less service.
  •  Prospect Max – We need about $9 million for the local match (20% of $43 million) to build this line, then we need an additional $500,000 per year to run a MAX line instead of the current route which costs $5 million. (Prospect MAX will be $5,500,000 yearly to operate) If the current local service continues at some level, even more money is needed.
  •  Since Independence Ave and 31st St/Linwood are such great transit corridors that the city believes they deserve a streetcar, they should at least be upgraded to MAX lines.
  • We need to increase frequency on routes to increase ridership and make this a functional transit service. Routes with 1 hour or 30 minute frequencies will never be well used.

There is more, but you get the picture.

We have a second issue with the Submitted Budget but on another account: the 3/8-cent KCATA Sales Tax on page 368 of the budget. The city manager is holding over $3 million in that account at year-end. Since this sales tax is 100% dedicated to KCATA for transit, we can’t see any reason why the ending balance should be more than $500,000. Why is the city keeping so much money? KCATA_Sales_Tax_Fund_2015-2106

Supplement:

The City Manager and TAN agree on what happens if the budget amount is too high and the actual sales tax revenue is less. Under that situation, the city should use the money it held in reserve to maintain the budgeted amount as a minimum payment. Since KCATA can receive at least 95% of the sales tax, it can get a higher percentage, so the budgeted amount should be the minimum KCATA receives, Once those funds are exhausted, that would constitute a funding emergency, like the recession in 2009, and KCATA could use its reserve account to maintain service levels.

 

 

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Be Prepared: Snow Removal for Walkers and Rollers

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 5, 2014


Picture from the Easter Seals report

Picture from the Easter Seals report

It is time again to start singing that old familiar refrain, “What about snow removal?” To get everyone tuned up and ready to go, here is a great resource from Easter Seals Project Action (ESPA). It is chock full of best practices from around the country and pertinent regulations to remind us of our responsibilities to those not driving. ES_Snow_Removal_Brief

Easter_Seals

The ability of to conduct your business and your life is as important to walkers and rollers as it is drivers.

“Including pedestrian facilities in snow and ice management policies reflects a community’s commitment to equal access, safety, economic vitality and quality of life.” Roger Millar, Vice President, Smart Growth America

 

 

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Transit Talk Oct 14 – A Dose of Reality – KKFI 90.1FM‏

Posted by Transit Action Network on October 13, 2014


KKFI 90.1 FM

Why does the Kansas City region fail to qualify for significant federal dollars for most large rail projects, including going to the airport? Why can’t Kansas City pay for most big rail projects by itself? What should we do to change the situation?

A Dose of Reality: Challenges in paying for rail transit in the Kansas City region.

When: Tuesday October 14, 2014 @ 6 PM
Where: Transit Talk on RadioActive Magazine on 90.1 FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio
Listen to the podcast of the show

Janet Rogers, co-founder of Transit Action Network talks with Mark McDowell, a specialist in Finance, a long-term transit advocate who works closely with Transit Action Network, and founding member and past Chair of the Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance, and Dick Jarrold, Vice-President of Regional Planning and Development at KCATA and former Regional Engineer for the Federal Transit Administration during the design and construction of the initial St. Louis MetroLink project.

Background:

Kansas City encounters two major areas of difficulty in paying for rail projects (NOT including voters reluctance to pass elections for funding these projects)

A. Qualifying for Federal matching dollars.

Most cities use federal dollars to help pay for very expensive rail projects.

New Starts –This grant program is the major source of federal funding for rail transit projects. The federal match for rail has shrunken from a norm of 80% down to 50% or less due to lack of federal funding and competition from numerous cities building and expanding rail systems.

  • To qualify for funding, the program requires projects to receive at least an overall medium rating in the FTA evaluation process.
  • According to Shawn Dykes, transit consultant with Parsons Brinckeroff, the most important number in the  project justification analysis for federal funding is cost-effectiveness or annual cost per rider. The FTA is not funding any projects that don’t rate at least medium in Cost Effectiveness. Currently that requires an annual cost/rider number of less than $10 per rider (or trip).

Cost_Effectiveness-11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since costs for building streetcars (about $50 million per mile) or light rail (about $60-$70 million per mile) are relatively consistent around the country, the difference in cost-effectiveness for projects is mainly related to the ridership numbers.

Population Densityridership numbers are strongly related to the population density around a proposed rail project. Lack of density in the whole city is immaterial – the evaluation is only concerned about the population within 1 mile of the proposed track.

  • The Kansas City region has good population density in several transit corridors, such as: downtown corridor from River Market to the Plaza, along Independence Ave, 31st Street/Linwood, Prospect Ave, and State Avenue in KCK.
  • There are no well-established high-density transit corridors in Eastern Jackson County or to the airport (No transit corridor has really even been developed to the airport). Therefore, studies show very poor ridership projections for these areas.
  • Calculating projected ridership numbers starts with the current bus ridership in the transit corridor. Neither Eastern Jackson County nor any path to the airport has significant bus ridership to create a good base for rail ridership projections. Getting large ridership numbers between the airport and downtown depends on large numbers of daily riders, like commuters, not the occasional bump from 5 to 10 large conventions.
  • Commuter rail from Eastern Jackson County into Kansas City or light rail to the airport do not qualify for the FTA medium rating for cost-effectiveness (cost/rider under $10) and therefore fail the first hurdle in receiving federal New Starts funding.

TIGER Grant– Kansas City has done very well receiving TIGER grants, another source of federal funding. However, they are limited to about $20 million dollars. This amount is great for small projects like the two-mile downtown streetcar, but it doesn’t have a significant impact on a billion dollar project like light rail to the airport.

B. Generating local revenue for rail projects

Rail projects are very expensive. Most cities can’t pay for large projects themselves and need a federal match. Small starter lines, like the Downtown Streetcar, are often paid for locally.

Kansas City has a very hard time getting any rail projects approved by voters. Even if the voters approve a rail project, Kansas City struggles to generate enough money to pay for the project.

Building a rail line is just like building a new house.  You have to borrow the money and pay off a house mortgage or in the case of rail, pay off bonds.

You can only build a house that you can afford to pay off the monthly mortgage. If you only make $30,000 a year, you aren’t going to build a $400,000 house. You can’t afford the monthly/yearly payment.

Building rail has the same cash flow problem. The city borrows the money and issues bonds, then they have to be able to pay the yearly bond payments, usually though tax collections.

Revenue Capacity Kansas City’s revenue generation is  too low in many cases to meet the bond payments for large rail projects, even if the feds pay half the project cost.  The streetcar expansion project required half the money from federal grants, yet the proposed Transportation Development District would not generate all of the money for the other half. If the proposal had passed, the city had to close the funding gap through other methods or shorten the routes.  

What about paying for light rail to the airport? Kansas City definitely can’t pay for light rail to the airport at this point in time.

Light rail to the airport: 17 miles at the low-end of cost, $60 million per mile, is $1.020 billion – plus add the cost of upgrading or building a new bridge and yearly operating and maintenance costs. Depending on the terms of the bond issue the yearly bond payment may easily range from $70 million to $90 million.

A city-wide 3/8 percent sales tax, like the sum of the two ballot measures on the Nov 4 ballot, will only generate about $27 million annually. Kansas City can’t pay for light rail to the airport by itself and the route won’t qualify for New Starts federal funding at this point. The cost/rider number to the airport is way over $10 per person. (high cost/low ridership)

Using a TDD for local funding:

In a Transportation Development District, the people who benefit from the transit are the ones voting. The district is usually smaller than a city-wide vote so the tax rates will be significantly higher in order to generate enough money to pay for rail. This model was successful for the Downtown Streetcar.

A Step in the Right Direction:

In order to qualify for federal matching funds, we need to develop high-density, mixed use corridors with great bus service. In order to do so the City needs to highly incentivize projects in those corridors. Create great mixed use, higher density, transit corridors that attract people and business, then let them grow so that ridership will qualify for federal matching dollars and they will have the revenue density necessary to fund rail projects.

When there are large rail studies, petition initiatives or votes for rail projects, people need to ask about the FTA cost-effectiveness number and the overall rating for receiving federal New Starts funding.  This is the first hurdle to getting significant federal matching funds. If the project won’t come close to even qualifying for New Starts funding, ask if we can we pay for it ourselves with sales and property taxes and then ask if we want to.

Our next RadioActive Magazine Transit Talk is November 18th at 6 pm on 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio.

 

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Hearing: KCMO Proposed Ordinance Links TIF With Free Bus Passes

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 12, 2014


kcmo_big_logoThis Wednesday the Kansas City Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee will hear testimony on a proposed ordinance sponsored by Councilman Russ Johnson.

ORDINANCE NO. 140518   Full Text KCMO_Legislation_140518

Amending Chapter 74, the Kansas City Redevelopment Ordinance, by adding a new Article VII, Public Mass Transportation Benefit Plan, for the purpose of requiring that certain public mass transportation benefits be provided to employees as a requirement of any economic development project utilizing tax increment financing, receiving tax abatements or financed with tax-exempt instruments.

When: Wednesday August 13 at 1:30 pm
Where: Planning, Zoning & Economic Development Committee
26th floor, Council Chamber
City Hall, KCMO

The basic idea is large companies, with more than 100 full-time employees, that receive a tax incentive from the city would implement a Group Transit Plan through KCATA providing free bus passes to eligible employees for the length of the public incentive.

A Group Transit Plan is a relatively new concept in our region started by KCATA several years ago with UMKC. All students pay a small student fee per semester and their UMKC ID badge functions as a bus pass on KCATA buses. This program was recently extended to Rockhurst University. Kansas City used the same concept to work with KCATA and develop a bus pass for all employees as part of their City ID badge. Regular KCATA METRO bus passes cost $50 per month. KCMO is paying $30 per year per person for employees to have a bus pass this year. The cost may be adjusted next year as the city and KCATA evaluate the program. This new benefit for City employees went into effect in July.KCATA

This ordinance would require companies receiving a tax incentive to purchase a similar bus pass for their employees, IF KCATA works out a group plan for them at “Ordinary and Customary Charges.” The final draft of the ordinance will probably have a cap on the amount of money a company would have to pay for this employee benefit. Right now they are talking about a cap of 0.1% of the employer’s total gross payroll for the eligible employees.

This new ordinance would not affect any current tax-incentive plans. If the Kansas City Streetcar Authority has monthly passes in the future, they would come under this ordinance. Tax Incentives are programs like TIF, but the city has a lot of additional tax-incentive programs. Small companies are not affected by this ordinance.

As transit advocates we hear a lot of lip service given to public/private partnerships as a way to pay for transit, but rarely does this talk turn in to anything as tangible as improvements for service or riders. We don’t know how many companies or employees this ordinance will affect in the future, maybe not many. Maybe a lot. We don’t see this ordinance harming large corporations like CERNER, which would be one of the first companies to fall under this new ordinance as it finalizes its large tax incentives for developing the old Bannister Mall site into a new CERNER campus.

The potential benefit to employees (riders) is great and the cost is relatively small per person per year for the companies that would be subject to the ordinance.

Many large employers in Kansas City already provide either free or subsidized monthly bus passes to employees who use transit. Today a company can purchase a METRO $50 monthly pass for $45. Companies that provide these passes free to employees are paying $540 per year to provide an employee that transit benefit. Whatever a Group Transit Plan costs a company per employee, that company will receive a huge discount for a yearly pass. The difference with this plan is that everyone in the company, at that location, would receive a bus pass. This is a great way to encourage transit.

Considering the subsidies to parking that these tax-incentives usually provide, the Group Transit Plan is a small way to be more mode neutral.

Programs with potential to increase transit ridership by giving employees an incentive to use public transit in a cost-effective manner should be implemented.

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Video – KC Streetcar Expansion Election Watch and Mayor’s Speech

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 6, 2014


Mayor Sly James addressed a crowd of streetcar supporters after the August 5th election to create a Transportation Development District failed. The district would have been used to fund the Streetcar Expansion Project. Although the plan did not get voter support, the mayor feels that the city will expand the streetcar system in the future. He feels once people see the Downtown Streetcar their ideas will change. Mayor James says “This issue is not over”.  Watch his complete remarks here.streetcar

Final Vote –  No 60%, Yes 40%

 

 

 

 

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Sense or Nonsense? Streetcars and Development

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 31, 2014


There is a lot of talk about the streetcar generating development. The following information attempts to shed light on this issue. Answers have been gleaned from the sources indicated below.

This article will be updated periodically as we become aware of additional information and the series will be available on the website under the tab “Special Topics” – Sense or Nonsense?

Construction along Cleveland's Health Line

Construction along Cleveland’s Health Line

Only light rail systems generate development.

Thumbs downNOT SO.

 As the photo of the Cleveland Bus Rapid Transit system makes clear, development can be encouraged by any form of mass transit, whether light rail, streetcar or bus-rapid-transit. More important than the transit mode, keys to development around transit are additional government incentives. These are most typically in the form of rezoning and traditional development subsidies, but can also include tangible improvements such as streetscaping, in the case of Cleveland, or Denver’s $1.4 billion redevelopment of their Union Station as a transit and commercial hub.

****

Sources:

 Streetcars

1. System(s) studied: Streetcars in Tampa, Seattle and Portland

Summary of findings: Vacant and underdeveloped land just beyond walking distance to the city center offers the most potential for appreciation. However, much depends on local conditions. The increase in average property values along the Tampa streetcar, although large, were less than increases in the county as a whole. A large component of property appreciation is the effect of rezoning to higher use. In the case of Seattle and Portland increases in value were due to a major development project in each city which included development of a streetcar along with other infrastructure, and up-zoning of a large swath of under utilized land.

Institution: Center for Transit Oriented Development, Reconnecting America

Contact: http://www.ctod.org/

Title: “Value Capture and Tax-Increment Financing Options for Streetcar Construction”

Authors: Not given, Date: circa 2009

Cleveland's BRT-1

Cleveland’s BRT

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) – Yes, MAX style buses can be used effectively for development. 

(Listed in chronological order of publication.)

2. System(s) studied: 21 different systems including the Kansas City MAX (BRT), Cleveland HealthLine (BRT), Portland MAX (light rail), Portland Streetcar, Seattle South Lake Union Streetcar, and 16 more.

Summary of findings: Strongest predictor of success in achieving development around transit is government support – financial, regulatory and marketing. The second most important factor is the strength of the land market surrounding the transit corridor prior to the introduction of new transit service. Light rail, streetcars and Bus Rapid Transit can all stimulate major investment in a corridor. But, Bus Rapid Transit is far more cost-effective.

Institution: Institute for Transportation and Development Policy

Contact: (212) 629-8001, www.itdp.org

Title: More Development For Your Transit Dollar, an Analysis of 21 North American Transit Corridors

Authors: Walter Hook, Stephanie Lotshaw, and Annie Weinstock, Date: 2013

3. System(s) studied:. Cleveland HealthLine, Bus Rapid Transit

Summary of findings: The HealthLine has been a catalyst for development along the route. A key factor was designing the system with amenities more typical of light rail systems and upgrading the streetscape all along the route.

Institution: Urban Land Institute

Contact: Trisha Riggs, Vice President of Communications: 202-624-7086; e-mail: priggs@uli.org

Title: “HealthLine Drives Growth in Cleveland”, in “UrbanLand”

Authors: Jason Hellendrung, Date: July 13, 2012

Cleveland's BRT - 2

Cleveland’s BRT – Amenities at Station

4. System(s) studied: BRT in Seoul, South Korea

Summary of findings: “Land price premiums of up to 10% were estimated for residences within 300 m of BRT stops and more than 25% for retail and other non-residential uses over a  smaller impact zone of 150 m. The research findings underscore the importance of introducing zoning and other land regulatory changes prior to the initiation of BRT improvements….”

Institution: Elsevier

Contact: Tel.: +1 510 642 1695; fax: +1 520 642 1641

Title: ” Bus rapid transit impacts on land uses and land values in Seoul, Korea”, in “Transport Policy”

Authors: Robert Cervero, Chang Deok Kang, Date: 2011

5. System(s) studied: Boston, Silver Line BRT

Summary of findings: BRT generated an average price premium on the sale price of condominiums along the route of 7.6% – comparable to what is seen for light rail.

Institution: Federal Transit Administration / University of South Florida, National Bus Rapid Transit Institute

Contact: National Bus Rapid Transit Institute, http://www.nbrti.org

Title: “Land Use Impacts of Bus Rapid Transit: Phase II….”

Authors: Victoria A. Perk, Martin Catala, Steven Reader, Ph.D, Date: July 2012

6. System(s) studied: Pittsburg, BRT

Summary of findings: Values of single-family homes increase as the property gets closer to a BRT station.

Institution: Federal Transit Administration / University of South Florida, National Bus Rapid Transit Institute

Contact: National Bus Rapid Transit Institute, http://www.nbrti.org

Title: “Land Use Impacts of Bus Rapid Transit: Effects of BRT Station Proximity….”

Authors: Victoria A. Perk, Martin Catala, Date: December 2009

Contributor: Mark McDowell

 

 

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Transit Talk July 22- Not All Taxes are Created Equal – Vote No On Amendment 7

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 22, 2014


KKFI 90.1 FMTransit Action Network discusses the Missouri 10-year 3/4 percent Amendment 7 Transportation Sales Tax on KKFI 90.1 FM Community Radio with public policy specialist and transit advocate Sheila Styron of the Whole Person, Linda Smith, President of the League of Women Voters and David Kingsley, retired statistics professor from the department of health policy & management at Kansas University Medical Center.

When Tuesday, July 22 at 6 pm

Where: KKFI 90.1 FM Community Radio, Radio Active Magazine (They also stream live) KKFI.org

Podcast of show: http://content.blubrry.com/kkfi901fm/RadioActive_Magazine_2014-07-22.mp3 (Correction: The widening of Interstate 70 across Missouri remains the most expensive item in the project list. It would receive $500 million (not $500,000) from this tax, with the rest of the $1.5 billion cost coming from existing revenue sources.

HJR 68 Full text of bill, which is both a sales and use tax increase and on the Aug 5th ballot. HJR68

Not all taxes are created equal. The idea that we should pay for roads based on how much we shop rather than how much we drive is a radical change on how we pay for roads and bridges. Find out why you should Vote No on this state sales tax for transportation.

Anyone wondering why this sales tax is a constitutional amendment needs to understand that the state is really trying to change the way we pay for road work, by pushing the tax  burden onto  middle and low-income individuals, working families and seniors, instead of the main users of roads, the trucking industry.  Currently Section 30 of the Missouri Constitution states clearly that transportation projects are to be paid for with gas taxes, sales taxes on vehicle purchases, and vehicle license fees.

Why don’t we raise the fuel taxes since Missouri has had this level since 1996?

fuel taxes

Changing to a sales tax gives the trucking industry a free ride even though they use the roads the most and do the most damage. Trucking corporations don’t even pay a sales tax when they purchase a truck in Missouri since they have an exemption. In addition, the heavy construction industry has lobbied heavily for this bill since it would continue the unprecedented amount of roadwork MoDOT has been doing using federal stimulus money.

This is the largest tax increase in Missouri history, $6.1 billion dollars, and the Missouri sales tax will rise 18% from 4.225% to 4.975%. Total state and local taxes will be over 11% in many places. This combined rate is already 14th highest in the nation and this increase will put us 9th in the nation (ahead of Illinois and just behind New York and California).NO ON 7

We agree with Governor Nixon in our opposition to this bill and  “on the need for a robust discussion about Missouri’s long-term transportation infrastructure needs.”  Governor’s position https://governor.mo.gov/news/archive/gov-nixon-issues-statement-transportation-tax

Missourians for Better Transportation Solutions, www.votenoamendment7.com, which we joined for this effort, along with over 40 groups and individuals, put together a list of reasons to vote against the bill.

Reasons to Vote No On Amendment 7

Summary from this document

  • The tax unfair – Trucking Industry gets a free ride
  • The tax is excessive – largest increase in our history
  • This is the wrong investment for Missouri – The recent binge in highway construction hasn’t created significant economic development
  • Amendment 7 is bad for Missouri Investment – total combined sales tax will be above 10% many places creating further incentive for internet purchases and a lost of revenue for local businesses.

One reason to be against Amendment 7 we rarely see mentioned is how bad it is for cities and counties. Although the state has multiple taxing methods it can use to pay for needs, cities don’t, and adding a ¾ percent sales tax from Missouri cripples the ability of local governments to raise sales taxes for local needs, like police and fire departments. In fact, politicians and planning agencies all over the state rejected this idea of a sales tax for roads earlier this year, when lobbied to support an initiative petition to do this same thing.  After being rejected statewide, the lobbyists convinced our elected officials in Jeff City to put this sales tax on the ballot anyway.

Good articles explaining why you should VOTE NO ON 7

Terry Garney ‘s article in the Columbia Daily Tribune addresses the “radical departure from the way Missouri pays for roads.”

“ The amendment would make Missouri’s average combined state and local sales tax rates among the highest in the nation, exceeding 11 percent in some areas. The statewide average would be ninth-highest in the nation.”   http://bit.ly/1qt5oeY

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Jim Fitzpatrick in Kansas City has published two insightful blogs about the campaign http://bit.ly/1qwrqxt and http://bit.ly/1mhAduT

“This time, I’m sorry to say, Freedom Inc. sold out to the Heavy Constructors, commonly called “the heavies.” They’re called that for more than the obvious contraction of their name. They bring a lot of political pressure to bear in any number of places, including the Missouri General Assembly, which voted to put Amendment 7 on the ballot.”

“That (gas) tax has stood at 17 cents a gallon – sixth lowest in the nation as of last year — since 1996, or almost 20 years. If the Missouri General Assembly and the “concrete cartel” (essentially, the heavy constructors, the engineering companies and the materials suppliers) want to raise more money for transportation needs, they should come back to us with a proposal to raise the gas tax.”

***

The Show-Me Institute has written an op-ed about why they are against Amendment 7. The Southeast Missourian ran a version of it http://bit.ly/UkMyHO. Someone remarked that it is rare when Governor Nixon and the Show-Me Institute agree on something.

Anticipating the funding bonanza, local governments around the state have put forward wish lists that would tap into sales tax money. Rather than confining themselves to critical transportation needs, cities and counties put forward lists filled with expensive wants.”

“Paying for highways based on how much people shop, and not how much they drive, creates a free-rider problem. It promotes congestion, road degradation, and sprawl. It also is fundamentally unfair to force occasional drivers to pay as much or more for new roads as interstate trucking companies.”

***

Good Roads MO (http://www.goodroadsformo.org/) continues to have good information on their website.

“This new tax would again divert sales taxes to rural areas while most of the taxes are paid by urban Missourians. The distribution of the tax to local governments is heavily weighted based on rural land value.

“Missouri’s combined state and local sales tax rates are already the 14th highest in the country. Should Amendment 7 be approved, Missouri will have the 9th highest sales tax rate in the nation (ahead of states like Illinois, just behind states like New York and California). ”

***

Transit Action Network supports well-maintained and safe roads and bridges, good transit and bike and pedestrian facilities, but we reject paying for them with a huge sales tax increase.  Not only is a sales tax the WRONG Tax for paying for roads and bridges but are all of the projects really needed?

Just because MoDOT and regional planners had a feeding frenzy piling on projects, doesn’t mean all the projects are needed or should be paid for at the state level. For instance, vehicle traffic on I-70 is down 9% from its peak in 2005-2006.  Do we really need to subsidize the trucking industry so they can have 6 lanes across rural Missouri? Afterall, the trucking industry will pay next to nothing for all this roadwork if we pass this sales tax. Instead the tax burden will fall on middle and lowe-income individuals.

Although we can’t speak for the project lists from the rest of the regions, we feel the transit portion of the Kansas City region was hijacked.

Here is how MoDOT explained the process to choose projects.

“After incredible feedback from Missourians across the state, MoDOT and planning partners (Mid-America Regional Council – MARC in the KC region) have finalized a list of regional and community priorities that would be completed if Amendment 7 were to pass. Each region’s list of priority projects reflects the local needs as communicated by citizens and local leaders. “

However for the KC transit portion of the list, that is not what happened.

Here is the list the citizens and local leaders came up with through public meetings for  Transportation Outlook 2040 (Region’s Long-range Transportation Plan) , the Regional Transit  Coordinating Council (RTCC) and the Total Transportation Policy Committee (TTPC).Original KC_Regional_Trans_Priorities

During all three of these open and transparent meetings Kansas City had the opportunity to make the case that the Streetcar expansion was more valuable to the community than most of the projects and the streetcar should replace the vast array of projects spread around the region. They never made that case.

At RTCC, when the streetcar wasn’t even listed, KCMO asked for a token $5 million, which the group granted. Over the weekend, the city started its behind closed door campaign and got MARC to move the amount to $32 million, which is what you see on the list TTPC approved. This list was sent to MoDOT to reflect the local needs.

As MoDOT reviewed the list, they had closed-door meetings with Kansas City, and together, maybe with others, eliminated most of the original transit projects, and replaced them with $124 million for the KC Streetcar Expansion plan and reduced transit dollars from 30% to 26% with the difference going to more roads.  Many of the projects are good and need to be done with alternative funding to a sales tax,  but the region’s priorities should have been honored instead of cutting deals for support.

MoDOT’s final project list for KC region. Compare it to the original list.

http://www.modot.org/MovingForward/Regions/documents/FINALDistrictProjectList-KC.pdf

With this change, Mayor James decided to support of this unfair, unjust bill. We understand people with political power will use it, but rarely is it done in such a blatant, aggressive manner. MARC, all the other regional partners and the original transit project list were totally pushed aside and MoDOT and Kansas City  “made sure” the new list was approved at MARC.

Some specific projects that were eliminated so Kansas City could take most of the money for the streetcar expansion  

$11 million for mobility management including “Coordination of Paratransit Services (for the disabled)

$13.5 Million for “Regional/KCATA Downtown Transit Center/Super Stops (KCATA just had public meetings for this planned improvement)

Urban Corridor program (new MAX lines)

  • $16.5 million North Oak-CBD to Barry Rd or MO 152 (Northland misses out again)
  • $8.5 million Independence Ave – CBD into Eastern Jackson County

Trails

Decrease of $36 million – Purchase and construction of Rock Island ROW for the Katy trail-not enough money to pay for it now.

***

Most people who are for this bill are either connected to the construction or trucking industry, believe the projects are so important that the taxing method doesn’t matter to them, they are afraid this is the only way to get money, or they are getting a project they want so badly that they hold their nose and vote for a sales tax anyway. None of these reasons are valid reasons to saddle the whole state with a huge inappropriate, unfair tax for 10 years.

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Attend Public Meetings – Redesigning Downtown KC Transit – July 17

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 14, 2014


redesign_downtown_transitKCATA is working on a comprehensive long-term downtown transit plan and they want your input. Brief presentations will introduce the downtown service concept to simplify and enhance transit options for downtown transit customers.KCATA

KCATA is proposing new/improved transit centers at 3rd and Grand, Crown Center/Union Station, West Center Loop and East Village, as well as changes to 35 different routes.

Map of Downtown Concept

Map of Downtown Concept

They want to create a more intuitive, faster, and integrated system including:

  • Transit emphasis corridors along Grand Blvd. (north and south) and 11th and 12th streets (east and west)
  • Dedicated bus lanes and improved transit stations
  • Two new transit hubs

Learn more, ask questions and tell them what do you think.

Attend: Public Community Meetings — Two meetings are being held

When: July 17, 2014

Meeting 1:

Time: 11:30am – 1pm

Where:Kansas City Central Library
Multipurpose Room, Vault Level
14 W. 10th Street, Kansas City, MO

Brief presentation at 11:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. followed by open house format. Parking garage at 10th & Baltimore

Meeting 2:

Time: 5 – 6:30pm

 Where: Kansas City Design Center
1018 Baltimore, Kansas City, MO

Brief presentation at 5:15 p.m. followed by open house format. On-street parking available

Fro more information and suggested transit routes to the meetings:  KCATA Downtown Service Improvement Concept

Print and post the invitation: invitation KC downtown transit

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Transit Talk July 8 Upcoming KC Streetcar/MAX Election KKFI 90.1FM

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 7, 2014


KKFI 90.1 FMTransit Action Network interviews Councilman Russ Johnson and KCATA Director of System Development, Dick Jarrold, about the upcoming election on August 5. In-depth discussion of the ballot for the proposed expansion of the KC streetcar system and the Prospect Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)/ MAX. The discussion will focus on how the streetcar plan differs from light rail and the MAX, what is a Transportation Development District, what is actually on  the ballot and why the ballot language differs so much from the streetcar recommendations adopted by the city.streetcar

When: Tuesday, July 8 at 6 pm

Where: KKFI 90.1 FM Community Radio

Podcast of show: Radio Active Magazine for July 8

The streetcar/MAX question is the last item on the August 5th ballot and although the ballot looks very long, several pages describe the boundaries of the Transportation Development District (TDD) (much easier to see in the picture) and several pages describe the types of taxes allowed and the maximum tax rates that can be applied, if the city gets enough money  (TDD taxes and assessments plus Federal match plus additional sources) to build a “substantial” portion of the project.

TDD boundary and proposed routes

Ballot, Resolution,Transit Studies and Interactive Map

Aug 5, 2014 Ballot (from KC election board) in parts of Kansas City, Missouri 08.05.14_sample_ballot_ISSUES

Resolution passed by city council regarding streetcar expansion Resolution 140227

SW corner of TDD

SW corner of TDD

Next Rail Final Expansion Report

Prospect MAX Final Planning Report June 2014

Link to Interactive map to identify properties (blue on the map) in the potential property assessment area (1/3 mile from potential tracks)

A summary of the KC streetcar/MAX election on August 5th:

No taxes will be collected as a result of the August 5th election for the KC streetcar expansion plan. No tax rates are even authorized for future collection.

This election sets up a taxing district and potential tax rates. If the first vote passes, then a second election on November 4th will set actual tax rates and authorize collection of  taxes.

If passed, this election would:

  1. Create the Kansas City Urban Rail Transportation Development District (TDD)
  2. Create a list of potential taxing methods –Sales tax, property assessment, and surface parking lot assessment
  3. Define the boundaries for the whole district for the potential sales tax
    1. Maximum sales tax rate is 1 percent
  4. Define the smaller boundary for the potential real property assessment (maximum of 1/3 mile from the tracks)
  5. Define potential real property assessment rates and identify which groups would pay those ratesTDD_local_revenue_sources
    1. Residential – Maximum yearly property assessment for a $100,000 property is $133
    2. Commercial – Maximum yearly property assessment for $1 million property is $1,540
    3. Kansas City – Maximum yearly property assessment for $1 million property is $3,328
    4. Non-profits, including churches and schools – Maximum yearly property assessment for $1 million property is $896 (property value of $300,000 or less pays $0)
  6. Limit the transit projects that can be built in the district and describe their general location
    1. Streetcars or light/rail and a new MAX line
    2. Generally on Main Street, Independence Ave, and Linwood Blvd. for the streetcar and Prospect Ave and 12th Street for the MAX
    3. Length of the routes or the farthest eastern or southern stops are not identified or guaranteed
  7. Create a new Board of Directors of the District
  8. Restrict collection of the taxes until the new TDD Board decides sufficient funds are collected to build a “substantial amount of the project”.
    1. Substantial is not defined
  9. If both elections pass, then the Downtown Streetcar TDD will be abolished and absorbed into this new district.

 

 

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