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Second-Most Popular Bus Line In Kansas City Receives Long-Awaited $30M Federal Funding

A rendering of a stop of the Prospect MAX rapid bus line, which will extend from 12th and Charlotte streets in downtown Kansas City to 75th Street and Prospect Avenue.

The plans for a rapid bus line along Prospect Avenue in Kansas City are no longer on hold after long-awaited federal funding came through Monday. 

The U.S. Federal Transit Administration awarded the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) $28.9 million, which will pay for the majority of the $54 million MAX Rapid project. The city will pitch in $12.5 million, the Federal Highway Administration's Surface Transportation Program will add $8 million and KCATA is putting $5.5 million toward it. 

"This is the catalyst," KCATA President Robbie Makinen says. "This starts the momentum for a Prospect corridor that we're all going to be proud of."

The Prospect MAX rapid bus line will run along about nine miles of Prospect Avenue, from 12th and Charlotte to 75th Street. This will bring new technology, interactive kiosks and public Wi-Fi to the corridor, Makinen says. 

"The Prospect MAX is not just about putting four tires on the street," Makinen says. "It’s everything that comes with it. From community development to technology to economic development, and what that brings to bear with the partners we have ... This is about what partnership can actually do if somebody doesn’t care who gets credit."

The mayor, city council and the Mid-America Regional Council advocated in Washington, D.C., for the project, as did Kansas U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, Makinen says. 

"I think that says a lot about our whole regional delegation," Makinen says.

There was some uncertainty after proposed federal cuts to transportation spending under the Trump administration called for a 13 percent cut to transportation spending. Kansas City's Prospect MAX is the fourth project in the country to be awarded.

Makinen expects the Prospect MAX line is expected to be running by 2020.

Andrea Tudhope is a reporter for KCUR 89.3. Email her at andreat@kcur.org, and follow her on Twitter @_tudhope.

Andrea Tudhope is an award-winning multimedia journalist based in Kansas City, Missouri. She is currently coordinating producer for America Amplified, a national public media community engagement initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
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