TransitKC

Chastain still fighting; is he all we've got?

The Star printed a letter to the editor today from light rail advocate Clay Chastain indicating that he and wife Valerie are will file another appeal this month over the City Council’s repeal of his successful ballot question in November 2006. Yes, it’s been that long.

While we’re still confident the Council was on sound legal footing — the ability to repeal a ballot initiative is a voter-approved part of the city’s charter — we’re now left with the frightening prospect that Chastain is literally the last figure out there fighting for some semblance of light rail in Kansas City.

- Funkhouser or Ford? Neutered, distracted, or both.
- Johnson? Deferring to Sanders.
- Sanders? Who the hell knows (and does he care?).

What’s sad is that there is no one from the business community stepping up to make the next push (Hello, Downtown Council!!!), as we’ve seen in other successful cities (Denver, Portland, Charlotte) and those with fires still burning (Detroit). Instead, we’re stuck with leaders pursuing one zero-sum game after another (convention hotel, pro-sports teams).

We’d really like to see business interests pick up on the Detroit model for a public-private partnership between the river and the Plaza. There is absolutely no reason why every single business/property owner or corporate interest along Main should be supporting this type of endeavor.

In the interim, city leaders should be listening very closely to the feedback from the Alternatives Analysis, which basically is a huge wake-up call for how land use is managed across the metro: STOP SPRAWLING AND SUBSIDIZING PARKING OR YOU WILL NEVER GET LIGHT RAIL OUTSIDE OF THE RCP CORRIDOR. If light rail and improved transit is as important as you said it was last fall, then you need to fix the root cause ASAP.

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