During her first visit to Kansas City, K. Jane Williams, acting administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, said she wanted to be present during the groundbreaking of the Prospect MAX Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project. Williams spoke Oct. 25 at the Prospect MAX BRT ceremonial groundbreaking at 12th and Charlotte streets, the future site of the East Village Transit Center, which is part of the $55.8 million project that will bring enhanced transit service along Kansas City’s 10-mile Prospect Avenue from downtown to 75th Street. The FTA approved nearly $30 million for the project.
“I had the opportunity to ride the line this morning, and that was phenomenal,” Williams told the crowd of more than 100 people. “Whenever I travel, I try to ride the system and get an idea of what it’s like to be a rider. The bus driver was so friendly, and the bus was very efficient. That was a great experience.”
Prospect MAX will be the third BRT line to serve the Kansas City region. With stations every four to six blocks, Prospect MAX will enhance the transit experience for riders by offering more frequent service, traffic signal priority, fewer stops, free public WiFi and uniquely branded red buses with vinyl seating.
“At the end of the day, transportation is about moving people,” said Sly James, mayor of Kansas City, Mo. “What we’re doing here is about moving people smartly, in a way that allows them to stay connected and be productive while they’re being moved.”
KCATA and the FTA hope Prospect MAX achieves the same economic development successes seen on the Main MAX and Troost MAX lines. When the project is complete, the Prospect corridor will have improved streets, sidewalks and traffic signals, and a better pedestrian experience.
“Transit is that one thing,” KCATA President and CEO Robbie Makinen told the crowd. “Whether it’s job access, education, health care … transit is that one thing that can connect it all. As long as we remember you can use your transit authority as a tool to help connect those dots, we’re going to be in a better place.”
With two existing BRT lines serving 13,000 riders a day, the Prospect MAX BRT line could increase that number to 20,000 riders a day, Williams said.
“What an incredible story you have to tell,” she said. “[Prospect MAX] will be a safe and efficient way to get to all opportunities, whether it’s college, whether it’s work. It’ll increase economic development and allow people to have opportunities that maybe didn’t exist before.”
To stay up to date on Prospect MAX information, join the Prospect MAX Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/ProspectMAX.
FTA Acting Administrator Jane Williams with KCATA CEO Robbie Makinen. Mayor Sly James snaps a photo.