Regional transportation director answers questions about light rail

Michael Glover

1. What are the benefits of light rail? The long-term stability and permanence of light rail can be used as a catalyst for economic development, corridor identification, and community revitalization. Additionally, light rail can travel at high speeds and allow for decreased travel times, thus promoting higher transit ridership than traditional bus investments.

2. What are the negatives of light rail? Light rail by its nature is a long-term investment that may take 5 to 7 years to become operational. In addition it is costly when compared to competing bus service and depending on the demographic makeup of the corridor, federal funds may be a challenge to secure.

3. How would it improve air quality in the KC metro area? Perhaps most significantly to our region, light rail would create an additional alternative to the automobile, and would hopefully help to encourage and promote increased transit interest and ridership across all service modes.

4. What is Mid-America Regional Council’s stance on the light rail issue? The MARC Board of Directors has recently adopted the updated Smart Moves Transit Vision. Smart Moves outlines a plan for regional transit services along major regional corridors and includes the possibilities of future rail corridors.

5. What is the role of MARC on the issue? MARC is the Kansas City Region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization. This federally designated role requires MARC to help coordinate and plan transportation investments that utilize federal funds. As such, MARC has worked in close partnership with Kansas City and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority to ensure light rail investments are compatible and consistent with regional service objectives.

The Examiner