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Transportation, City Officials Confident Feds Will Help Fund Prospect MAX Bus Line

Cody Newill
City councilman Jermaine Reed talks to community members and stakeholders on the corner of 27th and Prospect. Reed led the group down Prospect to get feedback on the proposed MAX bus line.

Around two dozen community members joined Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) officials and Kansas City Councilman Jermaine Reed on a tour of Prospect Avenue Wednesday to give feedback on the proposed Prospect MAX bus line.

The $54 million project is currently in its early development phase while the Federal Transit Administration mulls over the ATA's application for federal funds. The ATA asked for $30 million, and the city just passed a resolution pledging matching funds of $12.4 million. 

Dick Jarrold with the ATA says the tour was meant to give officials a better idea of the needs of the Prospect corridor.

Credit Cody Newill / KCUR
Tour members step off the bus outside the construction zone of the KCPD's East Patrol building and the Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church.

"This has been very positive," Jarrold said. "We wanted feedback from those who know this area, and know what developments might be happening that we weren't aware of so we can take the next steps as we start doing design work."

Many of the members of the tour brought up crime and blight as two main concerns for the Prospect MAX line, which seeks to bring faster service and improved shelters from 75th Street north to downtown along Prospect. Both Main Street and Troost Avenue have MAX lines, which were built in 2005 and 2011, respectively.

Jarrold says the ATA is trying to integrate infrastructure improvements that they'll have to make for the MAX line with existing and developing businesses.

"If there are opportunities for us to assist in development in and around key locations on MAX stops, we'd like to do that," Jarrold said. "We can do some things like improve access to streets, access to transit, and we want to do that to spur [further] development."

Third District councilman Jermaine Reed went with Jarrold to meet with federal transit officials in Washington D.C. last month. He says the trip was productive and positive.

"[FTA officials] were very satisfied with our past successes with Troost MAX and Main MAX," Reed said. "It's always good to put a face with a project, and they were very pleased with our visit."

The current bus route along Prospect carries out more than 6,000 trips every day, making it one of the most heavily used bus lines in the city. If all goes well, the ATA will know if it has secured federal funds by early 2016. Officials say the line is tentatively slated for a 2018 or 2019 launch.

Cody Newill is part of KCUR's audience development team. Follow him on Twitter @CodyNewill or email him at cody@kcur.org.
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