borderless transit / borderless region

Streetcar TDD lawsuit dismissed

A Jackson County judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed in September 2017 claiming the mail-in election process was unconstitutional. KCRTA represented the TDD petitioners, who were individually named as defendants.

The final election for the Main Street Rail Transportation Development District is in progress now, with mail-in ballots due to the Circuit Court Administrator by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 12. Two previous elections formed the district itself and elected an at-large board of directors.

Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging streetcar vote – Kansas City Business Journal


Council addresses legal flaws in voter-approved Question 1

The City Council voted January 18 to amend a petition initiative restricting streetcar expansion activities that was narrowly approved in August 2017.

“Question 1” prevented city staff and elected officials from planning — or even talking about — streetcar expansion unless a separate vote was held citywide. Planning is a core city function that is authorized in the City Charter. A petition initiative cannot restrict Charter functions. In addition to that flaw, Question 1 also instituted a $1,000 fine per occurrence, which introduced clear constitutional issues that the Council had to address to avoid future litigation that might throw out the entire question.

KCRTA opposed Question 1 on these legal grounds, as well as the fact that it was put forth by streetcar opponents. Wording of the ballot language was intentionally vague and meant to restrict expansion entirely, not just ensure a more democratic process. If the city were to propose a citywide election for streetcar expansion, they would have to plan for that in advance (which Question 1 clearly prohibited).

The approved ordinance is a compromise, allowing the city to participate in planning while respecting the will of the voters that future expansion would be put to a citywide vote first. This also allows the Riverfront and Main Street extensions — which were well underway prior to August 2017 — to proceed as planned.

We thank the Councilmember who voted for the ordinance to amend:

– Mayor Sly James
– Lee Barnes
– Alissia Canady
– Dan Fowler
– Jolie Justus
– Quinton Lucas
– Kevin McManus
– Jermaine Reed
– Katheryn Shields
– Scott Wagner

We’d also like to thank the new Main Street Rail Transportation Development District, South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, South KC Alliance, Downtown Council, Kansas City Streetcar Authority, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, and PortKC for their testimony.


TDD lawsuit officially transferred to Jackson County

Cole County Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem has officially transferred the Transportation Development District (TDD) lawsuit to Jackson County on Dec. 11, where the district has continuing jurisdiction.

The lawsuit was filed Sept. 5 by plaintiffs claiming the mail-in election held earlier this year was unconstitutional. All of the plaintiffs were able to vote in the mail-in election, which is allowed by the state’s TDD Act. The lawsuit named all 64 of the district’s proponents, as well the Missouri Secretary of State.

70% of voters in the new TDD — which will help fund the Main Street streetcar extension — approved the district’s formation in August. In October, the same district elected seven pro-streetcar candidates to a board of directors that will govern the new district. The new TDD Chair is former Kansas City Councilwoman Jan Marcason.

The Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance funded the district’s formation costs, but the elected TDD Board of Directors is now overseeing the rest of the process (except for this lawsuit).


Judge hears Motion To Transfer for TDD lawsuit

Cole County Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem heard a request today to transfer the Transportation Development District (TDD) lawsuit to Jackson County, where the district has continuing jurisdiction. At the end of the hearing, the judge asked the movants (the parties requesting the Motion to Transfer) for a proposed order.

The lawsuit was filed Sept. 5 by plaintiffs claiming the mail-in election held earlier this year was unconstitutional. All of the plaintiffs were able to vote in the mail-in election, which is allowed by the state’s TDD Act.

70% of voters in the new TDD — which will help fund the Main Street streetcar extension — approved the district’s formation in August. In October, the same district elected seven pro-streetcar candidates to a board of directors that will govern the new district. The new TDD Chair is former Kansas City Councilwoman Jan Marcason.

The Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance funded the district’s formation costs, but the Board of Directors is now overseeing the rest of the process (except for this lawsuit).

If a draft order to transfer the case to Jackson County is received, Judge Beetem could issue a ruling by the end of next week. The case would continue in the Jackson County Circuit Court.


TDD Board of Directors meets, elects officers

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.


Pat McLarney: 2017 Transit Advocate of the Year

Pat McLarney is best known as the first managing partner of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, one of Kansas City’s premier law firms. During his tenure, Pat oversaw tremendous growth of the firm.

Pat, like Mayor Sly James, is also a past president of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association.

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.

Pat McLarney

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.

Past winners:

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


Edgemoor to discuss KCI & transit at KCRTA Annual Meeting

Edgemoor Infrastructure — the team selected to design and build a new KCI single terminal — will headline KCRTA’s Annual Meeting to discuss transit options at a new KCI. Don’t miss this discussion!

Agenda:
– Transit at KCI
– Honor 2017’s Transit Advocate of the Year
– Elect new KCRTA board and officers
– Network with other transit advocates and supporters

Tickets are $30 for KCRTA members and $35 for non-members. Heavy appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages are included. This year’s meeting is sponsored by the Kansas City Streetcar Authority.

Tickets: https://2017kcrta.eventbrite.com


Election Board posts sample TDD director ballot, polling places

The Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners has posted a sample ballot for the October 7 TDD director election, as well as the list of polling places for that election day and other information:

https://www.kceb.org/elections/

Nineteen candidates filed for the seven open spots on the TDD Board of Directors, which will oversee the funding mechanism that was approved by voters in August.

More information about the Midtown/UMKC streetcar extension can be found at http://kcrta.org/streetcar/


Court approves streetcar TDD formation

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.

For more information on the TDD Act, please read RSMO 238: http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/chapters/chapText238.html


Voters approve streetcar TDD by wide margin

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.

More information about the Midtown/UMKC streetcar extension is at http://kcrta.org/streetcar/.