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Kansas City Region rallies for transit

Local officials, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) and community members will rally to call upon Congress to renew funding for the federal transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), which is set to expire on May 31, 2015. 5th District U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo, KCATA CEO Joe Reardon, and 3rd District Kansas City Councilman Jermaine Reed will speak at the Stand Up for Transportation Day Rally on Thursday, April 9, 11:30 a.m., at 39th & Prospect.

With the future of America’s public transportation and road network in jeopardy, KCATA joined transportation and community leaders from across the country for “Stand Up for Transportation Day.”

“Kansas City aspires to build a truly regional public transit system, connecting citizens throughout all parts of the city and even across the state line,” Mayor Sly James said. “In addition to being the most viable transportation option for many in the community, a reliable public transit system is essential to the economic viability of our city.”

Federal funding is an integral part of purchasing new vehicles and constructing transit facilities and amenities. KCATA’s purchase of compressed natural gas vehicles is made possible with federal funds. Other federally funded popular improvements in regional transit include new transit centers: Downtown KCK MetroCenter, Midtown KCK MetroCenter, and the Mission Transit Center; bus rapid transit lines: Troost MAX and Main St. MAX; and sidewalk and bus stop improvements in the Green Impact Zone in Kansas City, Mo.

KCATA is currently pursuing additional upgrades to Prospect Ave. The agency has already received a federal Ladders of Opportunity grant to make improvements along Prospect from 22nd to 27th streets. KCATA also upgraded the stops at 39th & Prospect in conjunction with the new Aldi grocery store. The agency’s long-term goal is to create a third MAX line on Prospect, which will require significant financial commitment from federal and local government.

“Public transportation is vital to connect people to jobs, education, healthcare and other opportunities.” said KCATA CEO Joe Reardon. “We must have a long-term federal commitment to public transportation and road infrastructure to provide and support job creation and economic development across the Kansas City region.”

Participants at the rally will be invited to take photographs of themselves, also called selfies, or have their photo taken to show their support for public transportation funding by using the hash tags #SU4T and #KCgoes2DC on social networks.

Stand Up for Transportation Day is uniting more than 300 participating organizations in communities across the country to urge federal officials to support the passage of a long-term, sustainable and reliable federal transportation funding bill. The nationwide event is sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), with support from national and local partners from various transportation modes, business and community oriented interests.

The local event is being held outside the Aldi grocer on the northwest corner of 39th & Prospect. Frequent transit service is available on The Metro’s 39-39th Street and 71-Prospect routes. Parking will be available on Wabash (street parking) and at Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church, 3935 Prospect.

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