TransitKC

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North Kansas City ballot language

Behold, the language that will definitely appear on the Nov. 4 ballot in North Kansas City (a Clay County judge has finally approved it). To recap, it’s a 25-year, half-cent sales tax in addition to the 25-year, 3/8-cent sales tax in KCMO. The NKC City Council has already chimed in that the preferred route is Burlington. This would be NKC’s first dedicated transit tax.

North Kansas City, Missouri Light Rail Transportation Development District

Shall there be organized within the real property which is co-terminus with the boundaries and corporate limits of The City of North Kansas City, Missouri, within the State of Missouri, a transportation development district, to be known as the “North Kansas City, Missouri Light Rail Transportation Development District” for the purpose of developing the following transportation project: The funding of: (a) a light rail starter line which shall generally travel in the vicinity of Northeast Vivion Road and North Oak Trafficway, in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, on the north, through the City of North Kansas City, Missouri and the District, along either Burlington Avenue or Swift Avenue, as determined by the City of North Kansas City, Missouri, to Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri on the south, and proceeding to Prospect Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri on the east; (b) not more than three light rail stations, all on the starter line and within the City of North Kansas City, and including ancillary improvements thereto; and (c) costs associated with the project, including but not limited to operation and maintenance of the project, land acquisition costs, construction costs, financing costs, and administrative costs, and shall the North Kansas City, Missouri Light Rail Transportation Development District be authorized to impose a transportation development district-wide sales tax at the rate of one half percent (0.50%) for a period of twenty five (25) years from the date on which such tax is first imposed for the purpose of funding the transportation project or projects?
() YES () NO

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KC voter registration deadline today!

If you want to vote for light rail in Kansas City next month, you must be registered to vote by 5 p.m. today. Go in person to the Kansas City Election Board for the fastest results (for KCMO residents in Platte and Clay counties, go to your respective county election boards). If you will not be near your precinct on Tuesday, Nov. 4, you may vote absentee now. Again, here is the official ballot language for all KCMO residents:

QUESTION

SHALL THE FOLLOWING BE APPROVED?

Light Rail Sales Taxes

For the purpose of funding a light rail passenger system running from the area around the intersection of Bruce R. Watkins Roadway and 63rd Street on the south to the area around the intersection of Northeast Vivion Road and North Oak Trafficway on the north, which can ultimately connect to a regional public transportation system, shall the City of Kansas City impose a sales tax of 1/4% under the authority of Section 94.577, RSMo, for the purpose of funding capital improvements, and a sales tax of 1/8% under the authority of Section 94.605, RSMo, both for a period not to exceed 25 years, beginning April 1, 2009, and which may include the retirement of debt under authorized bonded indebtedness?

() YES () NO
(Darken the oval beside the answer you prefer)

INSTRUCTIONS TO VOTERS

(Optical Scan)

If you are in favor of the question, darken the oval beside the word “YES”.
If you are opposed to the question, darken the oval beside the word “NO”.

We tried locating the ballot language for North Kansas City’s 1/2-cent question, but haven’t had any luck (we did find this, however). We’ll post it as soon as we find it.

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NKC approves 1/2-cent light rail sales tax

The North Kansas City City Council approved a 1/2-cent light rail sales tax for the November ballot. It now awaits approval from a Clay County judge — expected next month — since it involves creation of a special transportation district. The Star has more detail here. The 25-year tax is expected to generate $1.6 million a year.

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Gladstone passes light rail support resolution

Gladstone, just paces from the northern terminus of the starter route, passed a resolution this week supporting the efforts in Kansas City and North Kansas City to place light rail on the November ballot.

The proposed terminus at North Oak and Vivion will likely be a transfer point for new bus routes that will fan across the Northland, including Gladstone. Any future rail expansion to KCI would also likely go through Gladstone’s borders.

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Regional transit meeting tonight

Ready for some detail on the new and improved SmartMoves? Your chance is tonight in Riverside. MARC is hosting a community input meeting on the proposal at:

7-8:30 p.m.
Riverside City Hall
2950 NW Vivion Road
Riverside, MO [map]

The site is not transit accessible after 7 p.m., so please plan accordingly.

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NKC selects Burlington route

The North Kansas City City Council voted unanimously last week on Burlington as the preferred route for the 2-mile light rail segment through their city. Using Burlington — also known as Highway MO-9 — will provide a faster trip to the northern terminus and will be less expensive to build than using neighboring Swift Street.

After court approval of a transportation district, NKC is expected to place a transit sales tax on their November ballot. The city is land-locked entirely by Kansas City and the Missouri River, so cooperation between the two cities is crucial to moving the starter line forward. NKC will benefit greatly from it’s position on the route as its permanent population of just under 5,000 swells to about 16,000 with daytime workers.

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NKC: Answers this week?

North Kansas City leaders are expected to answer two questions this week: which of their streets the starter line will use (Burlington or Swift) and whether or not to put a transit tax on the November ballot. Both are critical for continued progress for planning the now 14-mile route and the latter should help further solidify support for KCMO’s November election.

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Today's public comments

Big take-aways from today’s public comments segment of the Transportation and Infrastructure committee meeting (watch it online):

- The Northland Chamber will debate support for the starter line in September, but cautioned support would diminish unless the northern terminus remains Vivion Road (updated 7/25/08).
- The Clay County EDC) will support the starter line if the northern terminus remains Vivion Road.
- Councilman John Sharp again urged extension of the starter line south to 63rd along Bruce Watkins (which is dedicated ROW).
- The Sierra Club supports the starter line.
- Several men in suits who think they know better complaining about Union Station.
- A letter from Union Station president Andi Udris stating his support for light rail and the inclusion of Union Station as a transit hub (we’ll admit we didn’t see that one coming).
- Dennis O’Neill hates light rail and conveniently forgot to mention the transit-dependent 6th District will be served by Troost BRT next year… oh, and some huge TIF project as big as the Power & Light District.
- The Regional Transit Alliance supports the starter line.
- Councilman Ed Ford poignantly noted how far we’ve come when you see Crown Center and Union Station duking it out to see who will become a light rail stop.

Thankfully, committee chair Russ Johnson directly addressed two main concerns during the meeting: Union Station and the “tourist” label being lobbed by Councilmen Sharp and Terry Riley.

- Union Station will be served, exactly how is “wide open” until more design work is complete and won’t be formalized before the November election.
- While the starter line route hits tourist destinations, the study area — by no coincidence — contains more job and population density than any other place in the metro and both are expected to grow in the near future.

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Like everything else, light rail costs rise

Today’s article in the Star outlines a revised cost estimate for the starter line and the reasons for the jump:

1. Materials costs (steel, asphalt)
2. MoDOT (rebuilding the Vivion/I-29 interchange)
3. Regional planning (larger maintenance facility)
4. Planning and design services

It’s also important to note that the part of Kansas City that generates the most sales tax revenue (we’ve been told at least a third) will get the priciest portion ($123 million): the Northland. Federal funding is key, as it was before, but now we have the potential for new streams of funding — via climate change legislation — if Congress and the next administration come through in the next few years (both leading candidates at least acknowledge human causes for global warming as fact).

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Light rail workshops next week

Next week is a busy one for light rail planning. Workshops will be held in all four “nodes” along the proposed route. The first meeting in each node is really introductory (“Orientation & Goals”), but the second meeting is where each neighborhood will select their preferred street alignment and station locations.

If you live in the affected area, here’s your chance to have a say about the specifics. The full calendar is here, but below are the events coming up next week:

East Meeting #1 (east of Main Street)
6-8 p.m.
Monday, March 24
Mohart Multi-Purpose Center
3200 Wayne
[map]

North Meeting #1 (north of Missouri River)
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 25
Northgate Middle School
2117 NE 48 Street
[map]

Downtown Meeting #2 (River to Linwood Boulevard)
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 26
Kansas City Design Center
1018 Baltimore
[map]

Midtown Meeting #1 (Linwood to UMKC)
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 27
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
11 E. 40th
[map]

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