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Prospect MAX Bus Line Will Still Be High-Tech, Even Without Federal Smart City Grant

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Jarrett Stewart
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City officials found out last week that Kansas City had been passed over for another Smart City grant. They were counting on the money to pay for enhancements to the Prospect MAX rapid bus line.

Kansas City officials were disappointed last week when they found out Kansas City will not receive a federal Smart City grant to help pay for enhancements to the planned Prospect MAX rapid bus line.

This is the second time the city was passed over for a Smart City grant

The city, along with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, was counting on the money from the grant to pay for high-tech enhancements to the bus line. Cindy Baker, Chief Communications Officer for the KCATA, says they were surprised Kansas City didn't make the final cut.

"We felt like we had such a good shot on the original Smart Cities Grant and so we thought for sure, with all of the things going on here in Kansas City in the areas of not only transit but in technology across the board, we really thought we had a great shot at it," Baker says. 

Nevertheless, she says they are still committed to the project, which is slated to be built on Prospect from downtown to 75th street.

Baker says the line will still have plenty of technological features like interactive smart kiosks, ticket vending machines, and station wi-fi.

Additional features like security cameras, smart street lighting, mobile payments and smart traffic signals, were dependent on the Smart City grant. 

Those features likely won't be on the first launch of the Prospect MAX, unless the KCATA can find other sources of money. 

“We're committed to continuing to look for more funding and hopefully we identify that funding or go for more grants that come up over the next couple of years,” Baker says. 

Baker says the timeline for the project is unchanged, and they’re still expecting other sources of federal money to come through soon. 

If funding is secured, the bus line is projected to begin operations in 2018. 

Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter for KCUR 89.3. Connect with her on Twitter @larodrig

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