From President & CEO Robbie Makinen
A couple of weeks ago, hundreds of people gathered at the National World War I Museum and Memorial to celebrate a partnership that we are honored to be a part of. Thanks to some very special people and organizations, Veterans can now ride regional transit for free.
We are proud of our transit partners in Independence, the Unified Government and Johnson County who didn’t hesitate to be a part of giving the 115,000 Veterans living in our region more access to jobs and healthcare.
The spark of this program was ignited when city councilmembers Theresa Loar and Heather Hall sat down with folks from the Veterans Community Project (VCP). These two councilmembers are staunch advocates for Veterans. VCP told the councilmembers about a real need for Veterans to have reliable access to transit for job-seeking and medical care. Councilwoman Hall reached out to me with their idea of a Veterans Pass, similar to the U-Pass we have for students at local colleges. KCATA was all in. And when we shared the idea with the Veteran’s Administration and Pat “Duke” Dujakovich at the Greater Kansas City Labor Unions/AFL-CIO, the partnership grew. Pat recognized the impact this program will have on the lives of those who have given so much to our country. Organized labor stepped up big time, and agreed to sponsor the program for the next three years. VCP purchased the machine to make the Veterans Passes and are taking on the task of distributing the new pass to Veterans from their new offices at 8900 Troost.
When we announced this new program we also unveiled the Honor bus, saluting those who have served. But even a bus-sized Thank You doesn’t convey the depth of my gratitude, and the gratitude of the 750 KCATA employees, for the sacrifices veterans have made throughout the decades.
KCATA President & CEO
See more photos from the event at Facebook.