Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Feds Give KCATA $2M to Study Light Rail

KCATA makes bank on both sides of the light rail debate.

First, they get a voter approved light rail plan wiped of the books without a vote, then they take the temporary tax increase that was just supposed to help get the KCATA bus system off the ground and get it extended indefinitely. Now, they have gotten the federal government to hand them $2.16 million to study light rail.

Yep, they want the KCATA to study light rail. The very thing the KCATA bent over backwards to stop, calling it useless, unneeded, and a complete waste of money, is now a nice neat little source of additional revenue for the agency. Which is funny, because this is coming at a time when more than two-thirds of Kansas Citians rate the city's public transit system as less than good.

Insiders in the city tell us that the only reason the light rail plan was shot down by the council was because council members and KCATA leaders weren't the ones to put it on the ballot and getting to claim credit. The truth is most of Chastain's light rail plan borrowed heavily from the city's own plan created in the 90's. That plan was great for the city back then, but when Chastain got it passed and they didn't, suddenly it wasn't feasible.

Just another reasons Kansas Citians should be in support of our KC RISCS transportation plan.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

first, i really want better transit, as i gather you do, too. but a couple of things:

1) the city overturned chastain's plan because it was unfeasible. the tax didn't have enough money to construct it, it relied on federal funds that weren't guaranteed, and the plan's formulation also didn't follow the fed's process for getting the matching funds the plan relied on. it wouldn't have worked. that's a valid reason to un-do it.

2) you seem to insinuate that folks don't like the ATA. i don't intreperet the survey results that way. it says to me that people want better transit--more routes and greater frequency--not that the ATA is doing a bad job.

as for messing things up, i really don't think funkhouser's regional approach is the right one at this time. i'd rather SmartMoves be implemented with a light rail spine the ATA has discussed from just north of the river to 51st'ish. why does a regional system HAVE to be light rail? that's crazy expensive when routes aren't in densely populated areas where a bus would make more sense.