TransitKC

Kansas City Voters Approve Light Rail Measure

On Tuesday, November 7, 2006 Voters in Kansas City, Missouri approved a plan to implement a Light Rail system from Kansas City International Airport to the Kansas City Zoo.

Local pundits were surprised by the measure’s passage, calling it “stunning” and “troublesome.” The ballot initiative was sponsored by Clay Chastain–his seventh attempt in nine years. The measure passed 53% – 47%.

Local officials, including Mayor Kay Barnes and the City Council, now have to implement the plan. Many officials, however, say the plan isn’t financially feasable or even buildable. They’ll decide in January wether to start work on examining the plan now or wait until after city elections in April, leaving the task to the next mayor and council.

This is a large step for Kansas City’s transportation system. Light Rail can move many more passengers through an area than busses can and it also promotes development along the line. Light Rail is also cleaner than diesel-powered busses. Light Rail should not be confused with Commuter Rail, which generally travels further distances at greater speed with fewer stops (like a line from Downtown to Olathe or Blue Springs). Light Rail works well in more densely-populated areas and often travels on city streets.

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