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Prospect Avenue Bus Rapid Transit 'MAX' Plan Moves Ahead

Jarrett Stewart

A Prospect Avenue bus rapid transit corridor moved a step closer to reality at Thursday's meeting of the Kansas City City Council.

The resolution passed by the Kansas City council commits to partial matching funds so the ATA can proceed with its application for a $30 million federal grant to expand the “MAX” bus rapid transit system to what is now the city's second-most utilized bus route.

Councilman Jermaine Reed said the Prospect line has about 6,000 regular riders. The MAX now operates in two corridors: Troost Avenue and Main Street.

The Prospect MAX project would include infrastructure improvements, shelters every four to six blocks where the express buses would stop and other amenities.

ATA officials say the total cost of the project will be in the neighborhood of $54 million, but with the startup grant and other state and federal money that will likely be available, the city and the transit authority would be responsible for only around $16 million.

City Manager Troy Schulte says if the federal grant is approved, the city would then ask voters to approve issuing bonds to pay the city's share.

“At some point we could come back and say, 'We need a $15 or $18 million match specifically for Prospect corridor,' and would that be something we could put on a ballot?” Schulte said.

Schulte says that point would likely be two years or more from now, but by then planning would be complete so the city would be able to show the voters exactly how the bond money would be spent

Steve Bell is afternoon news anchor and business news reporter for KCUR. You can reach him at 816-235-5173 or steveb@kcur.org

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