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KCATA zero-fare bus funding included in federal infrastructure package

Posted at 5:08 PM, Jun 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-08 16:02:00-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority could soon receive federal funding for zero-fare buses under a new transportation package.

Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Kansas City) and Kansas Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas City) together requested a total of $10.5 million for the buses.

Last February, zero-fare transit buses were a key topic in Kansas City, Missouri, budget discussions, and that June, KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas said he anticipated receiving federal funds to help the project along.

Cleaver said in a news release on Monday that more than $22 million has been allotted to District 5 through the INVEST in America Act.

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“These projects are desperately needed to rebuild aging infrastructure, generate economic activity and help communities across the district build back better from the pandemic,” Cleaver said in the release.

Among the line items included in the measure, which the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee introduced Monday, are:

  • $15 million to improve the U.S. Highway 69 interchange at 167th Street.
  • $10.5 million for the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority to purchase zero-fare buses. ($6 million from Cleaver’s suggestion and $4.5 million from Davids’ request).
  • $6 million for a pedestrian plaza in the 18th and Vine District.
  • $3.1 million to replace Raum Road Bridge in Lawson.
  • $2.2 million for improvements to Kansas City’s Cliff Drive Scenic Byway.
  • $900,000 for improvements in downtown Odessa.

Julie Lorenz, Kansas secretary of transportation, said in a news release that the “resiliency of our transportation network” is essential for the state’s economy.

“As we explore how to future-proof our infrastructure investments, resiliency considerations for increasingly affected infrastructure becomes more important every year,” Lorenz said.

The Resilient Repairs Act "would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to rebuild damaged highways, roads, and trails with resiliency in mind—reducing the likelihood of recurring future repairs and minimizing the cost to taxpayers," a news release stated.

The bill is scheduled for mark up on Wednesday.