Kansas City, Missouri/Southtown Corridor

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Southtown Corridor

Kansas City, Missouri

(November 1998)

Description

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) is proposing a 15.2-mile light rail transit (LRT) project in the Southtown Corridor. This Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) is estimated to cost $490 million (1997  dollars) and would carry 16,800 riders per day in 2010. The corridor would extend from the riverfront and downtown Kansas City south to the Country Club Plaza (Plaza) and to 85th Street and Holmes Road. The project would also include an eastern line from the Plaza to Watkins Drive and south to 75th  Street. KCATA proposes to build the project in phases, starting with a 5.6 miles segment from the River Market to 51st  Street at the southern edge of the Plaza. The segment is estimated to cost $220  million (1997 dollars) and would carry 10,800 riders per day in 2010. FTA has estimated total project costs in year of expenditure (YOE) at $247.7 million, with an estimated Section 5309 share of $198.2 million.

Summary Description

Proposed Project:

Light rail line

5.6 miles

Total Capital Cost ($YOE):

$247.7 million

Section 5309 Share ($YOE):

$198.2 million

Annual Operating Cost ($YOE)

$8.4 million

Ridership Forecast (2010):

10,800 daily boardings

4,800 new riders

FY2000 Finance Rating:

FY2000 Project Justification:

FY2000 Overall Project Rating:

Low

Not Rated

Not Recommended

The overall project rating applies to this Annual New Starts Report and reflects conditions as of November 1998. Project evaluation is an ongoing process. As new starts projects proceed through development, the estimates of costs, benefits, and impacts are refined. The FTA ratings and recommendations will be updated annually to reflect new information, changing conditions, and refined financing plans.

Status

In 1995, the Alternatives Analysis/Major Investment Study (MIS) was completed and the Southtown Corridor LRT was included in the Mid-America Regional Council (the MPO) adopted long range transportation plan. In October 1995, FTA approved the initiation of Preliminary Engineering (PE) on the project. The PE phase has progressed slowly as local officials reassessed the need for light rail and reconsidered the alignment options for downtown.

Section 3030 (a) (33) authorizes the Kansas City Southtown Corridor for final design and construction. Through FY 1999, Congress has appropriated $4.48 million in Section 5309 New Start funds for this project (of which $0.46 million was rescinded in FY 1995).

Evaluation

KCATA indicates that several of the New Start criteria are not available at this time. Available data presented below is for the 5.6-mile initial segment. (N/A indicates that data are not available for specified measures at this time.)

Justification

Mobility Improvements

Rating: Not Rated

KCATA estimates that the 5.6-mile route will increase total transit trips (bus and rail) by 4,850 per day. However, information is not available on annual travel time savings.

 

Mobility Improvements

New Start vs.

No-Build

New Start vs. TSM

Annual Travel Time Savings (Hours)

N/A

N/A

Information is not available on the estimated number of low-income households within a ½ mile radius of the project's proposed stations.

Environmental Benefits

Rating: Not Rated

Kansas City is a "maintenance" area for ozone and carbon monoxide. KCATA reports the following changes in emissions.

 

Criteria Pollutant

New Start vs.

No-Build

New Start vs. TSM

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

N/A

N/A

Nitrogen Oxide (NOx)

N/A

N/A

Volatile Organic Compounds ((VOC)

N/A

N/A

Particulate Matter (PM10)

N/A

N/A

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

N/A

N/A

Values reflect annual tons of emissions reductions. Values in ( ) indicate an increase in emissions.

KCATA estimates that in 2010, the project would result in the following savings in regional energy consumption measured in British Thermal Units – BTU):

 

Annual Energy Savings

New Start vs.

No-Build

New Start vs. TSM

BTU (million)

N/A

N/A

Values reflect annual BTU reductions

Operating Efficiencies

Rating: Not Rated

Information is not available on estimated operating costs per passenger mile.

 

No-Build

TSM

New Start

System Operating Cost per Passenger Mile

N/A

N/A

N/A

Cost Effectiveness

Rating: Medium

KCATA estimates the following cost effectiveness indices.

 

New Start vs.

No-Build

New Start vs.

TSM

Incremental Cost per Incremental Passenger

$14.18

$14.69

Values reflect 2010 ridership forecast and 1997 dollars.

Transit-Supportive Existing Land Use and Future Patterns

Rating: Medium

The LRT Starter Line will serve the highest population and employment densities in the Kansas City metropolitan area, including the Central Business District, Crown Center, and Country Club Plaza. The project area is experiencing renewed growth. KCATA has studied the corridor’s development potential, including proposed station sites, and is developing a joint development policy. The Kansas City’s Comprehensive Plan (FOCUS) adopted in 1997, recommends light rail as one of several strategies to generate redevelopment and new development in the Southtown Corridor, as well as other portions of the Kansas City area. This plan includes policy recommendations aimed at promoting transit-oriented development. The City is now contemplating strategies to implement these policies, including a new zoning ordinance and targeted incentives.

Local Financial Commitment

Proposed Non-Section 5309 Share of Total Project Costs: 20 %

KCATA’s financial plan for the 5.6-mile Starter Line proposes $176 million (80 percent) in Section 5309 New Start funds and $44 million (20 percent) in State funds.

Stability and Reliability of Capital Financing Plan

Rating: Low

The Low capital plan rating reflects the absence of any non-Federal funding for the project at this time. KCATA’s proposed finance plan is contingent on an increase to the statewide general sales tax, which would require legislative approval to be put to the voters. The finance plan presents only the incremental costs of light rail development and does not consider the agency’s other short and long-term capital needs. KCATA provided a 20-year cash flow analysis on the rail project only and not on the total system.

Stability and Reliability of Operating Finance Plan

Rating: Low

The Low operating plan rating is based on the lack of operating revenue sources for the project. One-half cent of the general sales tax in Kansas City is dedicated to transit. KCATA has been forced to reduce bus operations staffing and decrease bus service levels in recent years due to funding shortfalls in the local sales tax. This represents a source of concern for future system expansion. Current farebox recovery ratio is 20 percent. Additional operating funds are expected to come from the proposed state source of funds. These funds are not approved nor implemented at this time. The finance plan does not address any other contingent sources of funds in the event the sales tax increase is not approved.

Locally Proposed Financing Plan
(Reported in $1997)

 

Proposed Source of Funds

Total Funding ($million)

 

Appropriations to Date

Federal:    
  Section 5309 New Starts

$176.0

($4.48 appropriated through FY 99)
State:    
  Sales Tax increase

44.0

 
 

TOTAL

$220.0

 
NOTE: Funding proposal reflects assumptions made by project sponsors, and are not DOT or FTA assumptions. Totals may not add due to rounding. Dollars escalated by FTA.

MAP