A delegation of representatives from the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority traveled to Washington earlier this month to press the case for federal transit investments in the Kansas City area.
The KCATA contingent, led by Commission Chairman Steve Klika, met with several members of the Missouri and Kansas congressional delegation to discuss transit priorities as well as new innovative projects now underway at the Authority.
KCATA officials also talked over funding issues and mobility improvements with the executive director and acting administrator of the Federal Transit Administration and other top FTA officials.
“We had a good message to share about our hard work in the region, and it was well received,” said Paul Snider, the KCATA’s government affairs officer. “Our federal delegation is fighting for us, but it’s important that we stay in front of them and provide updates."
Among other things, KCATA leaders stressed the importance of securing $30 million for Prospect MAX, a new enhanced express bus service proposed for Prospect Avenue.
Adding MAX service to Prospect Avenue has been one of the agency’s top priorities and KCATA leaders are working feverishly to secure money for this vital transportation project on Kansas City’s east side.
They urged local members of Congress to reject President Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018, which would impede efforts to fund projects such as Prospect MAX.
The KCATA delegation also requested Congress to include $2.8 billion in a possible infrastructure bill to help transit agencies nationwide replace an aging fleet of buses, including more than 60 in the metro area that are operating past their useful life.
The funding request, backed by transit agencies from across the Midwest, would fill the gap in resources diverted away from the capital bus program in recent years.
Investment in bus replacement programs is important because it can quickly boost economic activity since bus purchase orders are sitting on the shelf waiting to be processed, and buses are made in the United States.
The delegation also pitched a couple of high-profile projects, including our initiatives offering free fares to veterans and a new-app based service called RideKC Freedom.
In addition to Chairman Klika, Commissioners David Bower, Gary Mallory, Dennis Bixby and Daniel Serda made the trip to Washington, along with Snider and Dick Jarrold, KCATA vice president of planning and development.