Voters Being Asked to Renew Bus Tax Nov. 7, 2023

Date:October 30, 2023

(Kansas City, Mo., October 13, 2023) – The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) is reminding voters that on Election Day, Nov. 7, 2023, the 3/8-cent Sales Tax Renewal for Buses will be on the ballot.

The 3/8-cent sales tax supports approximately 30% of the RideKC bus system in Kansas City, Mo. The tax would sunset in 10 years. The sales tax was originally passed by KCMO voters in 2004. It was renewed in 2008 for 15 years and is set to expire in March 2024.

“If the tax does not renew in November 2023, it will result in a significant reduction in service,” said Frank White, III, president & CEO of KCATA. “This reduction could include the elimination of routes and buses coming less frequently, as well as the loss of more than 100 transit jobs. Even if you do not ride the bus, you know someone who does.”

Additional Information Related to the Sales Tax Renewal:

  • KCATA is focused on providing equitable access to jobs, education, medical care and housing.
  • Sales tax renewal will:
    • Support existing bus service.
    • Support hundreds of Union Jobs and Security Personnel.
  • Is not a new tax.

Specific ballot language adopted by KCMO City Council:

Enacting a new Section 68-476, Code of Ordinances; providing for submission to the qualified voters

of the City for their approval at an election called for Tuesday, November 7, 2023 the question of

renewing for 10 years a 3/8 cent sales tax for the purposes of developing, operating, maintaining,

equipping, and improving a public bus transit system for Kansas City, pursuant to contract with

Kansas City Area Transportation Authority; authorizing and directing the City Clerk to notify the

responsible election authorities of this election; and recognizing this ordinance as having an

accelerated effective date.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What will the 3/8-cent sales tax renewal be used for?

A. The 3/8-cent sales tax pays for bus service in Kansas City, Mo., serving more than 1 million trips per month. This tax helps support the Union personnel who provide the service, such as bus operators and mechanics, well as security personnel.

The 3/8-cent sales tax generates approximately 30% of the KCATA’s budget. It also enables KCATA to access federal funds for such things as modern buses by providing the local match.

Q. Is this a new tax?

A. NO NEW TAXES! The 3/8-cent sales tax is a renewal. It was first approved in 2004 for 5 years; then renewed in 2008 for 15 years; now KC voters are being asked to renew it for 10 years. It is set to expire in March 2024.

Q. Is the tax being well used today?

A. Yes. The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority was selected the Top Midsize Agency in North America in 2022. There are several reasons for this honor including:

Ridership recovering faster than other transit agencies. More than 1 million trips are taken every month.

KCATA will finish 2023 under budget.

Customer satisfaction according to 3rd party research is 27% higher than other US cities.

Q. What if the sales tax renewal does not pass on Nov. 7, 2023?

A. If the sales tax does not pass, it will result in significant cuts in bus service that could include elimination of routes and the loss of more than 100 jobs, mostly Union jobs.

Q. Will this tax be used for service outside of KCMO?

A. No. This tax is only approved by KCMO voters and is only used for service within KCMO.

Q. Will the money be used for the streetcar?

A. No. The 3/8-cent sales tax renewal is a bus tax allocated to the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority.

Q. How do I benefit from transit if I don’t ride the bus?

More than 1 million trips are made on RideKC every month by essential workers supporting the services, retailers, recreation and activities that you depend on. There are also environmental benefits for every car that is parked at home instead of adding to congestion and pollution.

Q. Will this tax result in more transit service?

This tax is a renewal to support existing services.

Q. How many people ride the bus?

A. More than 1 million trips are made on RideKC every month. Ridership in Kansas City now exceeds pre-pandemic levels. Most other transit agencies across the country are still at 80% of pre-pandemic levels.

Q. Are people just riding around all day?

A. ABSOLUTELY NOT! A recent survey indicated that nearly 60% of passengers were headed to work. RideKC customers are essential workers who support hospitals, grocery stores, schools and so many more essential services.

Q. How much money will this renewal generate?

A. Over the 10 years of the tax, it will generate approximately $400 million that will be used to provide bus service in Kansas City, Mo.