County executive Mike Sanders is going to be speaking next week at the Central Exchange promoting his newly proposed $1 billion regional rapid rail plan for Kansas City. His plan includes a 144 mile system that connects distant suburbs to downtown and to the airport.
In addition to covering most of Jackson County, Sanders is looking to reach out into Clay and Platte Counties, as well as across the state line into Wyandotte County.
Sanders is hopeful that the federal government will foot the bill for building the majority of the plan --something that has already shown to be an improved way of spending stimulous dollars.
While it would be easy for many to criticize the relatively high price tag, it actually seems like a heck of a deal. Just this week, a new study noted that I-70 eastbound at Van Brunt (where the road begins to bottleneck where it meets I-435) is the 58th worst communte in the country -- where it is congested 47 hours a week. The state is planning on redoing this interchange to help with traffic flow, at a cost of $32.4 million. It's projects like this that has the region looking at a potential $10.8 billion shortfall in meeting our transportation needs -- with the vast majority of the tab being used to pay for roads.
Maybe Sanders' plan, if implemented, could aleviate traffic congestion on some of the city's tougher commutes so we can put off widening some of our major roadways.
Hat Tip: KC Light Rail via twitter