Light rail question fails with 44%

It’s hard to say with any certainty, but last night’s upset against the 3/8-cent KCMO-only light rail sales tax could be a referendum on the local vs. regional discussion for transit in Kansas City. In a strange twist, the North Kansas City 1/2-cent question passed. We’ll be following up in the next few days with post-election analysis and next steps. Fortunately, the Alternatives Analysis is funded and will continue through the first of next year.

And in case you hadn’t heard, the most pro-transit duo ever won the race for the White House last night.


13 Comments so far

  1. Brent November 5th, 2008 10:30 am

    It’s certainly a missed opportunity because the timing would have been excellent. It certainly doesn’t say much for the rail committee, the mayor and the city council when their plan failed so miserably while Clay Chastain’s really, really awful plan actually passed.

  2. doinkman November 5th, 2008 2:23 pm

    As much as I hate to say it, light rail in KC is dead. If it couldn’t win in this electoral climate, forget it. Lets invest more money into the bus system.

  3. northlander November 5th, 2008 5:39 pm

    How did anyone expect the Mayor ,and Russ J to lead the way for Light Rail?They didn’t put up a good as fight as Kay.To bad Russ didn’t want to talk. Looks like more “MAX Buses” will lead the way.

  4. Dave November 5th, 2008 5:45 pm

    i’m sorry, but kay didn’t give a gold-plated shit about light rail and her legacy (MAX) shows it.

  5. northlander November 5th, 2008 10:25 pm

    Dave, maybe Streetcars might of been the answer.

  6. matt November 6th, 2008 12:13 am

    Streetcars, why didn’t someone mention that before?

    This was truly a missed opportunity. My only hope is that an even better plan is introduced while correct folks are installed in the federal government.

  7. Darren November 6th, 2008 12:27 am

    Unfortunately, I don’t think light rail is dead. No matter how many times it is defeated it showw up on another ballot, just waiting for the one time it might narrowly pass so its supporters can finally declare that the public has spoken.

  8. northlander November 6th, 2008 6:56 am

    The only time it passed is when we didn’t fight it because of the Mayors race.The public spoke on this many times before. Looks like they have more money than sense to try for it but don’t forget the dollars at the end of the rainbow if they do win.

  9. Wesley Barnes November 6th, 2008 11:53 am

    WOW, it’s too bad that the light rail system did not pass. I don’t understand why though. Kansas City can invest $800 million into the power & light district (which I love) but they do not want to offer a clean and efficient way of getting to it without having to fight parking. Let’s face it. The bus system can not do it all. Also, with KC trying to boost tourism then we should have a public transportation system for the tourists to get around. One of the great reasons for touring NYC is because you can get everywhere you need to on the subway without paying too much and not having to rent a car. I believe that a light rail system would not only be good for the community but for tourism and the economy as well. What I want to know is why no one advertised the light rail like the politicians advertise bad ads against there opponents?

  10. northlander November 6th, 2008 8:23 pm

    Why do you think we don’t have bus service on the week-ends from the airport? Car rental help pay for the Sprint Center.Maybe the buses need to go hydrogen,and cut expenses.

  11. subrookie November 6th, 2008 10:26 pm

    As a long time Missourian who lives in Seattle, I have long praised St. Louis for being one of the few cities in the Midwest that installed light rail. Kansas City has needed this for a long time, like most cities do. Here in Seattle people have fought it for many, many years, and finally we got an extension of a very short rail line this election.

    People can talk about green programs, climate change, whatever.. The reason I vote for tax increases that install light rail, bike lanes, and new HOV lanes is time. It took me an hour and 15 min today to go 15 miles in my car today in Seattle. As our population grows traffic will increase. These are things we really need. I bike to work 95% of the time now because it saves me 30 min on my commute and my company pays for a bus pass so I can bus-bike to work.

    Best of luck KC. The tax increase we just voted here for rail lines won’t provide service to Microsoft in Redmond and Boeing in Everett for 15 more years. The longer you wait the longer it will take for it to be installed. I did the math, I won’t be able to ride a train to work until I’m 48 and I’m 34 now.

  12. Jason November 10th, 2008 4:44 pm

    I was very disappointed that this did not pass. We NEED to get started on light rail YESTERDAY! I would imagine that with gas prices down, people saw “sales tax increase” and voted no. But once gas prices get back up in the $3-4/gallon range, people are going to wish they had an alternative to sitting in traffic for hours a day, burning up that gas money….but by the time they realize that we’ll be another 10 years away from having a light rail solution.

    Kansas City really needs to sit down with neighboring communities (Olathe, Overland Park, Liberty, etc) and come up with a regional solution. You only need to drive the 35 route northbound one morning or southbound one evening to see that there are some serious traffic problems which need to be addressed.

    I would imagine that light rail measures in these non-kc areas would pass more easily than those in KC proper…..following in the footsteps of the north KC vote.

  13. andrew b November 11th, 2008 5:56 pm

    I wish it would have passed, yes it might be somewhat more cost effective to invest in the buses, but people get excited about riding a rail system. I think it would have resulted in more people using mass transit, especially if the starter line was eventually expanded.

    Lets just hope there is investment in the bus system, we don’t want to lose that too!

    Gas prices will go back up, it’s just a matter of time and ultimately based on supply and demand. Petrol is a finite resource in the end.