Johnson County, Kansas – Kansas City, Missouri/I-35 Commuter Rail

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I-35 Commuter Rail

Johnson County, KS/Kansas City, MO

(November 1999)

(click here for map)


Johnson County, Kansas, is proposing to implement a 5 station, 23-mile Commuter Rail line extending from downtown Kansas City, Missouri, southwest to Olathe, Kansas, in Johnson County. The proposed commuter rail project would parallel Interstate 35, the major highway connecting Kansas City with Olathe, and would utilize existing Burlington Northern and Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad track (except for the line’s northern-most mile segment, which would require either new track or existing Kansas City Terminal Railway trackage). Park and ride facilities are being planned for each proposed station. The commuter rail line will terminate in Kansas City at its historic Union Station. Ridership estimates for the I-35 commuter rail project range from 1,400 to 3,800 trips per day by 2001; these estimates will be refined during subsequent phases of project development.

The project is estimated to cost $30.9 million in 1997 dollars, with a proposed Section 5309 New Starts share of $24.75 million. Because the proposed New Starts share is less than $25 million, the project is exempt from the New Starts criteria, and is thus not subject to FTA’s evaluation and rating (TEA-21 Section 5309(e)(8)(A)).

Summary Description

Proposed Project:

Commuter Rail

(23-miles, 5 stations)

Total Capital Cost:

$30.9 million

Section 5309 Share:

$24.8 million

Annual Operating Cost:

$4.2 million

Ridership Forecast:

1,400-3,800 average weekday boardings


Johnson County initiated a major investment study (MIS) on the I-35 corridor in early 1996. The MIS resulted in the selection of commuter rail as the locally preferred alternative (LPA) in August 1998. The LPA was adopted in the financially constrained regional plan in February 1999. FTA approved Johnson County’s request to enter into preliminary engineering (PE) on the project in July 1999. An Environmental Assessment for the project will be undertaken as part of the PE effort.

TEA-21 Section 3030(a)(32) authorizes the "Kansas City I-35 Commuter Rail" project for final design and construction. Through FY 2000, Congress has appropriated $1.97 million for the project.

Locally Proposed Financing Plan

(Reported in $1997)


Proposed Source of Funds

Total Funding ($million)


Appropriations to Date

  Section 5309 New Starts


($1.97 million appropriated through FY 2000)






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

I-35 Johnson County Commuter Rail (map)