Bowing to public pressure to avoid a revenue gap, the newly-seated City Council advanced the 3/8-cent citywide sales tax that supports bus service to the November 2023 ballot.
The original ballot language submitted by the Mayor’s office did not specify KCATA as the recipient or “bus” as the supported mode. Advocates asserted that there was no reason to dilute the language since there’s one regional provider for traditional bus service and it’s a bi-state government entity. Some feared redirection of funds for traditional bus service to other modes like streetcar or light rail, which the Mayor and City Manager have shown interest in with the impending World Cup in 2026.
If approved, the tax would continue for another 10 years. The last renewal was for 15 years, and was initially approved in 2003 for five years.
Given rising labor costs, it’s unlikely any growth in KCMO sales tax revenue would lead to expanded service. Our focus remains on regional funding to grow transit service — to increase access to jobs and address our changing climate.
Stay tuned here for information about how to support the renewal.