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Have a Question for Robert Dotcom Jackson?

Regional Transit

I believe transit is an economic engine that will serve Kansas City well. We need a convenient way to bring people living in Olathe and Lees Summit to partake in all the amenities that Kansas City has to offer, and we need a convenient way to bring our residents to the jobs that are available to them in those cities. As the biggest city in the metro area, Kansas City should take the lead in a regional transit initiative.

In 2008, I proposed a regional transit system to connect suburban cities, the airport, the Truman Sports Complex and the heart of Kansas City. Spanning more than 119 miles, the system would utilize light rail, existing railroad tracks, commuter rail, and bus rapid transit. I invited Mayors and other elected officials in Clay, Platte and Jackson counties to discuss the planning and implementation of the regional system. Political leaders warmly received the plan. With the support of the Mid America Regional Council, we formed committees of elected officials to discuss financing, government oversight and routing of a regional system that would serve our shared needs.

Surveys showed that more than two out of three of our constituents wanted a regional transit system. And more than half said they were willing to vote for a half-cent sales tax to pay for it. The surveys also showed that people wanted us to start big, not small. When given a choice between a regional system and a starter line in Kansas City, those in favor of a regional system outnumbered the starter line proponents two to one.

Unfortunately, when the plan was put in front of Kansas City voters in November 2008, it became a “starter line” of 14 miles, and the voters smartly turned it down.

Regional transit is what residents and businesses in the Kansas City metropolitan area need and want. Amid rising gas prices, people are clamoring for choices. I promoted regional transit early in my first term, but I put the initiative aside because of the recession. I will re-explore this economic engine once the recession lifts.

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