(Kansas City, Mo. – Feb. 16, 2016) President Barack Obama’s administration is recommending $29.9 million for a new bus rapid transit line on Prospect Avenue, the region’s second busiest transit corridor on Kansas City’s east side.
While the recommendation must still be approved by Congress, including the money in the president’s fiscal year 2017 budget is a major step toward bringing enhanced bus service to Prospect Avenue, where millions of dollars in new development are already being invested.
The money recommended by the president is the single biggest piece of funding for the $54 million project, which also will receive financial support from the city of Kansas City, Mo., as well as the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority.
The proposed bus rapid transit line on Prospect will be branded just like the bus rapid transit lines operated on Troost Avenue and Main Street, which are known as MAX routes.
Much work needs to be done to get funding for Prospect MAX locked up, but the KCATA’s early success has been attributable to broad community support, especially from U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver and the Missouri congressional delegation, Kansas City Mayor Sly James and Kansas City Councilman Jermaine Reed, said Robbie Makinen, president and chief executive officer of the KCATA.
“We are grateful to President Obama and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx for recognizing what enhanced bus service will do for Prospect Avenue,” Makinen said. “We have made great progress so far with so many people coming together to show why this project is so important. We must press forward.”
Councilman Reed, who also chaired the Prospect MAX advisory committee, said a new bus rapid transit line will prove to be a transformative moment for Prospect Avenue.
“Millions of dollars of investment is occurring in the Prospect corridor,” Reed said. “Improved public transportation will both catalyze and capitalize on the area’s revitalization. New bus service will be a defining moment for this important part of Kansas City.”
The planned Prospect MAX route will extend 10 miles from downtown Kansas City to 75th Street and Prospect with connections to the rest of the region. Speedier bus service will now be available on Prospect because the bus stations will be placed every four to six blocks compared to more traditional local bus service where stops are located every block.
There will be 51 stations at 26 intersections along the Prospect MAX route, including sleek new shelters with amenities such as real-time bus arrival information for passengers and improved sidewalk and pedestrian connections. If fully funded, Prospect MAX could begin operating in early 2019.