The newly-elected Kansas City Main Street Rail Transportation Development District (TDD) Board of Directors held its first meeting on October 31. The Board approved bylaws, elected officers, and set a 2018 budget of $0 income and expenses.
No dates were set for the final TDD “funding election” to approve the revenue sources that were proposed in the district’s formation. A previously published schedule from KCRTA proposed a mail-in election starting in late 2017.
The TDD is a separate entity from the nonprofit Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance. KCRTA provided the funding and oversight for the TDD formation and the first two elections on behalf of 64 petitioners. All actions were authorized by the State of Missouri’s TDD Act (RSMO 238).
TDD Officers are:
Chair – Jan Marcason
Secretary – Crissy Dastrup
Treasurer – Leonard Graham
Executive Director – Ruben Alonso III
The next TDD Board meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Friday, November 17 at Boulevard Brewing Company, 2501 Southwest Boulevard. Meetings are open for the public to observe.
But for transit advocates, Pat may be best known for managing the 2008 light rail campaign. That project was 14-mile $825 million project running from I-29 and Vivion Road down Main Street to the Plaza, then east to Bruce Watkins Drive and south 63rd Street. While it was a stunning defeat – considering it was the official replacement for Clay Chastain’s 2006 surprise-but-unworkable plan that passed – the end result was the 2.2-mile downtown streetcar.
The city used that failed 2008 light rail election data to form a new special district that consisted of solid voter support. That project won multiple elections handily in 2012 and is now considered the new gold standard for streetcar projects in the US.
More recently – and the reason he garnered our attention this year – Pat helped KCRTA close a critical funding gap for the Main Street streetcar extension when fundraising hit a wall. Requesting private sector donations to pay for legal fees and multiple elections is not a traditional “ask” – even though the expenses may be reimbursed by the special district once it generates revenue.
Regardless, voters along Main Street have consistently said yes to rail transit. We were finally able to leverage that support to build the regional transit spine this city has been planning for decades. None of these successes KC has seen, or will see in the future, would have been possible without the courage and leadership in that earlier light rail campaign. It was a building block in our journey and we have Pat to thank for that.
2016 – Councilman Jermaine Reed
2015 – Johnson County Commissioner Steve Klika
2014 – Mayor Sly James
2013 – Robbie Makinen
2012 – Senator Claire McCaskill
2011 – Councilman Russ Johnson
2010 – Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders
The 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County issued an Order on Friday afternoon forming the The Kansas City Main Street Rail Transportation Development District (TDD), which was approved by voters to fund the local portion of a streetcar extension through Midtown to UMKC.
The Order also calls for an election to select a Board of Directors from within the TDD. The Director election must be held within 120 days of the formation Order being issued. As of Friday afternoon, the Jackson County Clerk has officially called for the election, which will be conducted by the Kansas City Election Board on Saturday, October 7. Candidates should read the Order for filing instructions, as well as consult campaign requirements with the Missouri Ethics Commission.
Voters have approved the formation of a new Transportation Development District that would provide local funding for a streetcar extension through Midtown to UMKC. 70.11% of votes cast were in favor of forming the TDD.
The immediate next steps are for 16th Circuit Court Judge Dale Youngs to issue an Order forming the TDD, as well as an Order calling for the next election to vote on seven at-large Directors to govern the TDD. The Orders will contain details about how candidates can file for the TDD Board of Directors. Public notices will also follow. The Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners is responsible for administering the Director election, per the TDD Act.
In addition, Kansas City voters will weigh in on two streetcar-related petition initiatives on the Tuesday, August 8 ballot. Neither of these was put forth by the Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance. Please read our statements on Question 1 and Question 2.
The Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners has scheduled a meeting of the Election Judges appointed by the Circuit Court for 2:00 pm this Friday, August 4, 2017, for purposes of certifying the results of the formation election regarding the proposed Kansas City Main Street Rail Transportation Development District. It is anticipated that official results will be available shortly after 2:00 p.m. on Friday August 4, 2017.
The Board of the Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance supports Question 2 on the August 8 ballot in Kansas City, Missouri.
In complete contrast to Question 1 on the same ballot, Question 2 is a petition initiative that supports streetcar, as well as providing connections with a fleet of electric buses.
This proposal is drastically different from others offered by Clay Chastain, all of which we have opposed in the past.
It does not divert funding from the city’s 3/8th cent sales tax, which is essential for maintaining core bus service. Instead, it creates new funding sources for bus operations.
It includes a scope of work that can be scaled to available revenue – assuming federal funds are made available – through a “build what you can” caveat that would allow progress to continue in reasonable phases.
It provides a strong response to Question 1, an unreasonable anti-streetcar position on the same ballot.
You can view the sample ballot for the August 8 election here.
All ballots for the special mail-in election to extend the streetcar through Midtown to UMKC must be received at the 16th Circuit Court by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, August 1.
Mail-in ballots in Missouri must be notarized. The Jackson County Clerk offers free notary services on the second floor of the Courthouse. Voters may return their ballots in person at the Circuit Court Administrator’s office on the third floor.
The Board of the Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance opposes Question 1 on the August 8 ballot in Kansas City, Missouri.
While seeming just to require a citywide vote for streetcar expansion, the ballot language actually contains a provision to penalize “all City officers, agents, and employees” $1,000 per day for engaging in any planning or preparation for streetcar or fixed rail of any kind.
This subversive threat to freedom of speech should be voted down. Creating such an impediment to the expansion of Kansas City’s transit network after the overwhelming success of the Downtown Streetcar makes no sense. While a citywide election may have merit, gagging public employees and elected officials with the threat of fines may be unconstitutional and expose the city to potential litigation. We encourage the voters of Kansas City to reject Question 1.