Agreement with Union Pacific brings county one step closer to commuter rail

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A first step toward a commuter rail system has been taken by Jackson County. An agreement reached on Monday with Union Pacific Railroad makes it possible for the county to purchase key parts of railroads.

Jackson County Executive, Mike Sanders announced that the "Memorandum of Understanding" gives Jackson County the right to purchase three major rights of way that can lead to connections to downtown Kansas City, Mo.

Those include the Rock Island Corridor, near the Truman Sports Complex, the Pixley Spur, near downtown Independence and the Independence Power and Light Spur.

The total cost for the purchase will cost the county $59.9 million. Sanders said that's significantly less than what the county initially thought it would cost to purchase these rail sections. He's confident that all the money will come from federal and state grants.

The plan would also allow for better connected walking and biking trails. Altogether, Sanders says it will help the metro continue to grow.

"Vibrant communities, growing communities have access to rail transit and mass transit," Sanders said.

To be clear, the county has not purchased the corridors, as of right now they have the option to purchase them. If the purchase happens, Sanders says almost overnight the possibility for a commuter rail from the city's eastern suburbs to downtown will become a possibility. The next step in the process, is getting funding for the project.

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