KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Cities, transit associations and Missouri and Kansas transportation departments have three weeks to submit projects to be included in the final version of what’s called Connected KC 2050.
Mid America Regional Council’s first version of its long term vision for the region’s transportation system came out in 2020. Of course a lot has changed since then.
“Obviously we had a public health crisis that really changed in many ways our commuting patterns. Telecommuting is up and it has really changed how we travel in the region and where we live,” Martin Rivarola, MARC Asst. Director of Transportation and Lane Use, said.
Since then there’s also been inflation, which could make funding more tight for the predicted 500 local transportation projects and $52 billion in funding estimated for them by 2050.
“It sounds like a big number but when you divide it out over 25 years it’s not that large of a number. We do have a lot of transportation needs,” Rivarola said.
Projects already on the list include widening U.S. 50 in Lee’s Summit and U.S. 69 in Overland Park to six lanes at a combined price tag of $300 million. In all, 387 lane miles across the metro are set to be added with metro drivers driving a combined 48 million miles a year.
One project not in the plan yet, a proposed $10 billion light rail line between the airport and downtown, though it has supporters outside of just the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“I would support it I’d even donate a little to it,” Isaac Peters, said at an open house for the plan Thursday.
Other potential projects include $800 million for Streetcar expansions, west to KCK, East to Independence and North to North KC and $50 million for 658 miles of bike lanes.
Because of one monumental announcement since 2020, a flurry of new projects could be seeking expedited funding and approval.
“We have a vision in this plan along certain transportation corridors and it’s the same corridors that would benefit from if we have additional transit services when the World Cup comes to town,” Rivarola said.
That deadline for new projects is December 8th. Then the real work starts prioritizing them.
You can help decide those priorities by participating in a survey here.