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Monthly Archives: April 2014


Judge Will Decide Streetcar Expansion’s Fairness

Z32STREETCAR COURT CASE_1398370834717_4194745_ver1.0_640_480


Sherry DeJanes is the attorney for SMART KC, Supporters of Modern Affordable Regional Transit. SMARTKC does not believe the proposed streetcar expansion is smart for the city.  

“If you look at the corridors through which the new expansion lines are going to run they are actually some of the poorest areas of our city. These are people who live paycheck to paycheck and can least afford it they spend all of their money on necessaries.”

Story here at KSHB Reported by Lisa Benson.



Stay tuned for additional coverage as it comes in.


Transportation Development Hearing April 24th.


Judicial Hearing 2 – April 24, Thursday at 9:00 A.M.
Jackson County Courthouse 415 E. 12th St., Kansas City, Missouri 64106


TDD hearing has been extended and will resume on April 24th, and April 25th if needed.  Here is an update from the Kansas City Business Journal.




Beautiful Spring Day 70’s!

DowntownWhat’s in Kansas City?

Spring, summer, fall, winter, field and stream, pro sports, parks, world-class art, a family barbecue, golf, aviation, swimming, boating, jazz, rock n roll, classical, fine dining, shopping, exhibits, jogging, theater, biking, hiking, porch sitting, bird watching, internet surfing, eccentric, eclectic, bizarre, unusual, incredible, mundane, normal, the fantastic, and more.



Amazing how some people are never satisfied with much of anything isn’t it?  (Especially when they are not from here)

As always we don’t make promises or pledges we don’t keep so as requested by a supporter of SmartKC it is our pleasure to show this TED talk Richard wanted everyone to see for their consideration.   Enjoy and have a great day everyone.

Special Edition

Who did developers bribe to get this project completed?

Who did developers bribe to get this project completed?

Megaprojects Invite Corruption

FBI agents posed as transit-oriented developers willing to bribe the mayor of Charlotte to get his support for a streetcar line, light rail, and related projects. The now-ex-mayor Patrick Cannon gladly accepted bribes in exchange for lying to investors and pushing city planning agencies to fast track the developments. When on the city council, Cannon had opposed construction of a streetcar line, but mysteriously changed his vote when he became mayor.

The Antiplanner isn’t enthusiastic about police entrapments, but this case brings to light one of the seamier sides of rail transit. These projects cost so much that they make some sort of corruption, if only in the form of campaign contributions, mandatory.

The FBI sting has to raise questions about other rail projects and developments, especially considering the current U.S. Secretary of Transportation was the mayor of Charlotte just prior to the one who was stung.

News from Washington reveals that Charlotte isn’t alone.  A draft report to the Federal Transit Administration criticizes the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) for giving out millions of dollars worth of no-bid contracts, sending work to preferred but unqualified vendors, and keeping people on payroll after they left their jobs. Another investigation revealed that a Metro employee pocketed $60,000 by selling heavy equipment, including a bulldozer and roller, from a Metro warehouse.

While these actions may be illegal, there are plenty of legal but yet questionable activities around rail transit projects. For example, a recent consultant’s report concluded that a streetcar in Arlington, Virginia, would generate more than $3 billion worth of new development. This was based mainly on the experience of the Portland streetcar, yet the report never mentions that Portland gave developers close to a billion dollars worth of subsidies in the areas along the streetcar line, nor that virtually no new development took place where the streetcar went but the subsidies didn’t. Neither did the report mention studies that show that rail lines don’t generate new development; at best they merely influence where that development takes place, making the development a zero-sum game for a region.

Continue reading story (more…)

Monday April 7

3.3Fantasy Land Economics Versus Reality


The Message – A Couple Key Points

The sales tax that will be imposed by the district (Proposed TDD) is regressive and will create and undue burden on those who can least afford it.  In several areas of the district it will  be 11.35% and greater.

The creation of this ultra-expensive new infrastructure diverts millions and millions from Kansas City’s existing needs such as streets, sewers, police protection, and schools, to name a just a few – not to mention the expenses of operating and maintenance.

Need to catch up a little?  We understand.  Here is a recent article from last Friday we did not include in our weekend ahead post – a reality check no doubt that is long overdue and needs to be thought about.

Even before a single streetcar leaves the station, our city spenders have deemed the project a success.

So much so that a $472 million expansion is proposed for 7.6 more miles. That’s $62 million a mile. Perhaps a more rational approach would be to wait on the promised economic dividends from the first two-mile streetcar line before extending it.

If you’re against our mayor’s master plan, he counters with name-calling. He’s labeled critics “CAVE” people or Citizens Against Virtually Everything.

Perhaps a more suitable acronym would be CASI: Citizens Against Stupid Ideas. I would suggest CAVE people are only opposed to another project based on unrealistic estimates to solve non-existent problems.

Citizens would like to explore alternatives before committing themselves, and future generations, to a half-billion dollar mistake. It appears that no bad idea ever dies in Kansas City

Continued here at the Kansas City Star


And lastly here is clip from Kansas City Week in Review April 4th which begins right at the streetcar segment.


The Weekend Ahead


It’s time to “clean up the aircraft” as they say in aviation as we level off at altitude and cruise toward our next destination which is the April 15th Judicial Hearing. For aficionado’s and connoisseur’s of trial hearings as far as we know this is open to the public. We will alert you if anything changes as usual.   So what is new?


For starters we have a new Smartkc Facebook page which is companion page to the one and only original Save The Trolley Page – home of the so called Cavemen of Brookside and of course the smart,  savvy, and engaged citizens of Armour Hills and Waldo. The new page is an expanded effort focusing on providing information and hard-won experience on the proposed TDD (revised) and Phase 2 Streetcar to citizens asking hard questions and wanting answers.   Here is a full-sized map of the revised TDD after Brookside and Waldo rejected light rail south of 51st Street and all those who are affected.

In other recent developments  Resolution 140258 – Reducing appropriations in the 2013A Water Bond Fund and the 2012 Sanitary Sewer Revenue Bond Fund in the total amount of $23,683,540.07; appropriating that amount to the Downtown Streetcar Phase 1 account; and recognizing an emergency – was passed by city council yesterday.

Councilmember Circo (Second by Brooks) Move to Waive Charter Requirement
I move that the Charter requirement for reading ordinances on three separate days be waived for the ordinances on today’s docket listed as “First Readings” and that these ordinances be introduced as listed to the committee so designated.

Ayes: 12 – Wagner, Davis, Ford, Johnson, Curls, Glover, Marcason, Circo, Brooks, Taylor, Sharp, James, Jr.
Nays: 0

As usual the issue (problem) once again is not so much the fact that it is obvious infrastructure would need to be replaced before a rail system is constructed above it – but the usual lack of transparency dominating the whole process.  Also the difficulty in getting straight answers about the fine print, details, and inner workings of how this particular deal works is another factor. Please see the following from our archive  here to get up to speed.  Not much has changed.

Lastly we understand some of our documents need updating and some details are no longer relevant since major changes happened very quickly and suddenly.  We will be updating these for general use as it pertains to the new TDD but you can still find some useful information in the current ones that provide useful tips and bullet pointed items as to how you will be affected.  We plan on getting revised versions up soon so thank you for your patience.  On that there is not much more at the moment we can report, but things can and do change quickly and we will respond swiftly when necessary.

So have a great weekend everyone and we will continue to work hard on your behalf to keep you informed, up to date, in the loop, and SMART.


The Battle Continues

FB 1

Key event leading up to yesterdays public hearing.  Transit planners whittled down the original proposed 2014 TDD which disenfranchised portions of Kansas City south of 51st Street where opposition presented serious challenges to the streetcar agenda. This tactic may have reduced the magnitude temporarily but does not end the formidable legal and ethical challenges coming in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

In yesterdays public hearing both sides had an opportunity to present their concerns to presiding 16th Circuit Court Judge The Honorable Marco A. Roldan. At this hearing 23 spoke against, and nine in favor. Here is our local medias coverage of the hearing yesterday. On a final note we will keep you updated on developments as we approach the important Judicial hearing on April 15.


Streetcar opponents outnumber proponents at court hearing
The Kansas City Star

KC residents get a forum for proposed streetcar TDD
Kansas City Business Journal

Some opposing increase in taxes due to Streetcar expansion
Fox 4 News

Streetcar expansion met with opposition
KSHB 41 News

Public voices opinions on KC streetcar expansion
KCTV 5 News

Why the rush to expand the KC streetcar line?
KMBC 9 News (March 31)


Other Recent Developments

Introduction Date: 3/27/2014 – Councilman Russ Johnson – Reducing appropriations in the 2013A Water Bond Fund and the 2012 Sanitary Sewer Revenue Bond Fund in the total amount of $23,683,540.07; appropriating that amount to the Downtown Streetcar Phase 1 account; and recognizing an emergency.
Resolution 140258