(Kansas City, Mo. – Jan. 30, 2015) For the first time in more than 30 years, Johnson County Transit will be managed by the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority. Johnson County Government and KCATA officially approved the new partnership in December, to be effective Feb. 1, 2015.
KCATA will be responsible for the administration and management of all Johnson County Transit services. However, The JO’s routes, bus stops, drivers, vehicles and fares are not changing with this new agreement. The JO will still contract with First Transit, and the same First Transit operators will continue to drive the same JO buses and the same bus routes. Customers can still expect the same level of quality transit service for daily commutes.
This management consolidation will result in greater efficiencies and cost savings for Johnson County. The major component of the savings are personnel costs, which results directly from KCATA utilizing existing staff, in greater purchasing power for things such as fuel, and efficiencies in the areas of regional planning, communications and finance. This is a management consolidation only. Johnson County Government will maintain policy and budget decisions.
Although fares and passes will remain the same, there is a regional fare study taking place, separate from this effort, which could eventually affect fares throughout the region.
However, short- and long-term, the consolidation will result in integrated route planning, communications and customer services that meet the needs of current and future customers.
For information about JO service, customers can continue to use the following resources:
By Kevin DeGood & Andrew Schwartz | Wednesday, January 28, 2015
One of the most pervasive, durable, and detrimental myths in transportation policy is that highways pay for themselves, while public transportation does not. In reality, both modes require significant public subsidies, as user fees—such as fuel taxes and farebox revenues—cover only a portion of total costs. States and the federal government supplement these user fees with property taxes, bonding, and general revenues. On average, these nonuser fee revenues represent 26 percent of total annual highway expenditures.
Moreover, treating all highways equally obscures the fact that per-mile construction and maintenance costs, driving levels, and motor fuel tax revenues vary substantially depending on the location, size, and population around a particular road. While the overwhelming majority of driving occurs within metropolitan areas, many large urban highways and arterial roads cost substantially more money to maintain than they generate in fuel taxes. This is also true of many rural and exurban arterial roads. This means that states must cross subsidize thousands of miles of roads that generate insufficient gas tax revenues each year.
Research by the Center for American Progress shows that nearly 4 in 10 miles of interstate highway and other principal arterial roadways fail to generate enough in user fees to cover their long-term maintenance costs. For the purposes of this analysis, maintenance costs include one reconstruction and multiple resurfacings over the course of three decades while excluding the costs of land acquisition, engineering, construction, and inflation.
When the analysis is conducted assuming 1 percent annual inflation, the share of interstate and other principal arterial roadways that fail to cover their costs rises by more than 22,000 miles, or 9 percent. In all likelihood, actual construction inflation will be much higher than 1 percent per year over the next 30 years. Furthermore, if land acquisition and construction expenses were amortized over the same period, an even higher share of roadways would fail to cover their costs.
This research also strongly suggests that an even higher share of minor arterial roadways, collectors, and other local roads fail to cover their long-term costs. A disproportionately large percentage of driving occurs on interstates and principal arterials—which make up the National Highway System, or NHS—relative to the rest of the roadway network. Data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration shows that the NHS accounts for only 5.5 percent of all roadway miles yet carries 55 percent of all vehicle miles traveled, or VMT, each year. As a result, the remaining 94 percent of the system generates much less user fee revenue on a per-mile basis, since it carries less than half of all driving.
Please join APTA Chair Phil Washington on Friday, January 23 at 12:30 pm ET, to learn all the details about our national transportation infrastructure day that we are calling Stand Up for Transportation Day. On April 9, 2015, we will collectively call attention to the state of our transportation infrastructure in this country and to the lack of a long-term sustainable transportation funding bill.
During the webinar, we will outline the latest plans in place for the day and provide resources to help you plan your event/rally. We will also want to hear your ideas for making this day a success!
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
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The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) jointly released a new report today – dubbed the 2015 Bottom Line Report, which you can access by clicking here – that essentially says more spending on U.S. transportation infrastructure is an unavoidable necessity.
Bud Wright, AASHTO’s executive director, (seen at right speaking at an infrastructure summit back in 2013) laid things out in pretty stark terms – especially where the needs of the freight industry are concerned.
“Investing in that infrastructure will require some gutsy decisions on Capitol Hill about how to pay for it, but the bottom line is this: We have a choice between making the country stronger or making it weaker,” he wrote in a recent opinion piece.
“We can pay to fix our transportation systems, and then reap the payback that comes from oiling the machinery of commerce. Or we will certainly pay higher and higher costs from slower commuter and freight travel, more highway crashes and deaths, more disposable income lost from extra hours stuck on roads, more car and truck repairs from jostling on broken pavement,” Wright noted.
Yet, according to AASHTO’s and APTA’s numbers at least, getting U.S. transportation infrastructure up to snuff isn’t going to be cheap.
To meet current demand, the research conducted by both groups indicates it’ll require an annual capital investment over six years of some $120 billion in the nation’s highway and bridge network and $43 billion in America’s public transportation infrastructure.
To meet those combined surface transportation needs, it would require an investment of $163 billion investment per year in surface transportation over a six year period. Current funding levels, by the way, aren’t near those dollar levels, with $83 billion being invested in roads and bridges today along with $17.1 billion being invested in public transit.
The new report also noted that 64,000 structurally deficient bridges are still operating across the U.S. – and that’s after that category shrank by 43% from 1994 to 2013 following federal and state efforts to target older bridge structures.
Then there’s the Federal Transit Administration’s annual State of Good Repair Assessment, which indicates there’s a “repair backlog” estimated at $87.7 billion to get public transit systems up to snuff.
Now, it’s fair to say there’s disagreement over not only the amount of funds transportation infrastructure upkeep actually needs but whether federal and state spending to date is being managed properly (the Reason Foundation’s 21st annual highway report offers one such contrarian view.)
Yet AASHTO’s Wright offers this compelling rejoinder: “There is little disagreement about the value of transportation; the business community, trade unions, commercial truck drivers and numerous associations support greater [transportation] investment,” he stressed. “The key is reaching consensus on Capitol Hill … to help decision-makers better understand what’s at stake in deciding on a long-term, sustainable stream of revenue to support transportation infrastructure.”
For starters, he warned, the direct federal revenue stream for most transportation projects – the highway trust fund (HTF), comprised of various excise taxes on motor fuels and truck equipment – is nowhere close to keeping pace with the amounts federal programs now pay states for capital investment in roads, bridges and mass transit systems.
In particular, Wright pointed to the big rebound in freight volumes now underway in the U.S. and how that will impact transportation infrastructure. He said freight ton miles are expected to grow 72% from 2015 to 2040, putting ever more big-rigs on often-crowded highways.
He added that highway and bridge estimates in AASHTO’s and APTA’s report are based on a rate of travel growth of 1% per year in vehicle miles of travel. Yet this year, Wright stressed that America is returning, for the first time since the “Great Recession” began in 2008, to the 3 trillion mile-level of motor vehicle travel – a rebound spurred in part by falling gasoline prices and increased employment.
“Just shoring up the HTF to maintain current levels will not make much of a dent in [traffic] congestion that saps economic vitality,” Wright emphasized. “It shows that a flat-level federal program will not keep pace with increased vehicle miles traveled on highways or with demands for public transportation services, much less close the investment gap that already exists.”
Yet coming up with billions in added transportation funding may be an impossible task, especially with much of the general public – much less Congressional members of both political parties – seemingly dead-set against hiking fuel taxes.
We’ll see how the transportation funding issue plays out when the new Republican-controlled Congress convenes next year.
By Tom Curry
Posted at 10:33 a.m. on Dec. 10, 2014
The $1.1 trillion spending bill unveiled Tuesday night includes important transportation policy provisions.
Here’s a brief summary:
Last week Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx sent a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., saying that suspending the 2013 rule “will put lives at risk.”
But the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which represents independent truckers, said the regulation forces truckers “to drive in heavier traffic situations during rush hour by mandating that the 34-hour restart period include two consecutive 1:00AM – 5:00AM windows. Not only does this requirement have a negative impact on efficient freight movement, but it results in more trucks on the road at the busiest times of the day.”
The Sedalia City Council learned a little more about the OATS organization during its meeting Monday after a presentation from Midwest Regional Director Tracy Walkup.
OATS has been operating as the public transportation provider in Sedalia since 1988, and served 1,050 unique riders — an increase of 10 percent since 2010 — in the city with 24 vehicles and 21 drivers in 2014. OATS operates in 87 counties in Missouri and serves people in rural areas regardless of age or income, senior citizens, people with disabilities, people who use service animals, people who use Medicaid insurance for non-emergency medical assistance, and people who use oxygen tanks and other necessary equipment, Walkup said during her presentation.
“Who rides with OATS? We contract with the nursing homes. We transport people from the (sheltered) workshop, we have regular routes to Tyson (Inc.),” she said. “We transport Medicaid clients to medical appointments. We have a full schedule six days a week of dialysis patients, we take shoppers, we take Head Start children. We transport people young and old, regardless of disability.”
The city’s cost for OATS is $0.24 per one-way passenger trip, while the total cost per passenger one-way trip is $9.22 — Walkup noted those figures are estimates for the City of Sedalia since the Midwest Region serves 13 counties. For the 2014 Fiscal Year ending June 30, it cost $655,786 to operate OATS in Sedalia, and the city contributed a $17,000 subsidy.
OATS vehicles traveled a total of 404,806 miles in Sedalia, which Walkup noted, “that’s a lot of trips across Sedalia.”
“As for the future of public transportation, there is always going to be an unmet need. But Sedalia stands out as a rural community because you have six-day a week service,” Walkup said. “Most rural communities would love to have that and cannot figure out how to afford to do it. Some of our runs begin as early as 4 a.m. and some of them don’t end until 6 p.m. or later, but it still doesn’t fulfill all the requests. … There is always going to be a time slot that we simply cannot fill, there’s no way you can afford to have that many vehicle to fill all the requests.”
During the pre-meeting council also heard a financial report from Finance Director Kelvin Shaw. City Administrator Gary Edwards said this will now be a monthly presentation to keep council members up-to-date on the city’s finances.
During the meeting council also:
• Approved an ordinance approving a Road Relinquishment Agreement and a Quit Claim Deed with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission for a portion of old state Route 50, also known as Main Street Road/Leroy Van Dyke Road. The land will be used for the western “Welcome to Sedalia” sign. The second sign will be placed at the city’s east entrance on city land.
• Approved a bid from Alliance Pump & Mechanical Service Inc. for $14,015 for the Main Street West Lift Station Rehab.
• Approved an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 9348 by changing the three-way stop at the intersection of Clarendon Road and Anderson Avenue to a one-way stop. The recommendation from the Citizen’s Traffic Advisory Commission was approved by a vote of 3-2.
• Approved an ordinance approving and accepting permanent and temporary utility easements and temporary construction easements from various property owners for sanitary sewer purposes relating to the sewer relief project.
• Approved an ordinance adding a fee for a mausoleum burial in Crown Hill Cemetery to Section 14-26 of the Code of Ordinances and to the fee schedule.
• Approved a records destruction request from the Personnel Department.
• Approved a quote for $12,799.33 for the renewal of the licensing agreement with Microsoft through Insight Public Sector.
• Approved an ordinance approving an additional software license agreement with New World Systems Corp. for increased licensing for additional laptop software for the Sedalia Police Department to obtain information for report writing and warrant checks.
• Appointed Councilman Tollie Rowe to the Economic Development Board with a term expiring December 2015 and Mayor Steve Galliher to the Sedalia Area Tourism Commission with a term expiring Dec. 31, 2017.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.
Monday, December 8, 2014
By Samantha Rinehart ~ Southeast Missourian
Whether it's for work, shopping or doctors' appointments, many Cape Girardeau residents turn to public transit as the primary way to travel around town.
Some of the more frequent riders of the Cape Girardeau County Transit Authority's fixed bus routes don't have a personal vehicle, but said that fact doesn't inhibit their travels around the city.
From Monday through Saturday, riders can take advantage of fixed bus routes, two of which run in the southern part of the city while the third operates in the north. The circuit for the south buses hits some of the major shopping areas in the city, as well as medical centers, which makes those routes the most popular among riders, CTA executive director Tom Mogelnicki said. He estimates those bus routes have about 1,000 passengers a week.
Wanda Young has lived in Cape Girardeau for about two years and has become a frequent user of the CTA's fixed bus route in the past six months. Her house is a short walk from the transit authority office at 937 Broadway, where the buses begin each circuit. She doesn't have a car, but said she has no problem getting around the city.
"It's really easy to get around," Young said.
As one of the regulars, she's become familiar with drivers and passengers alike. She also knows how to make the most out of each trip. On Friday, Young was using the bus for the third time that week. Her last trip was to Wal-Mart, but she uses the bus for many reasons beyond shopping.
It's also her ride to medical appointments and restaurants. She's even found a place to get her hair cut just a short walk from the Town Plaza bus stop.
"And I can get off here [at the Town Plaza stop] to transfer to the north bus, too," Young said, pointing out the window at each stop to the places she often visits.
But the ease of use isn't the only reason Young enjoys county transit. She and many other riders, including James Williams, point out that it's easier on the wallet, too. Riders pay $2 when they get on the bus, except seniors and those with disabilities, who pay $1. Monthly and daily passes also are available.
"You could spend $5 or however much and put gas in your car to make a few stops, or just pay a couple dollars and they'll take you where you want to go," said Williams, who boarded at the stop near Saint Francis Medical Center after a visit to West Park Mall.
For those who need a ride after the buses stop at 6 p.m., demand response vehicles -- taxis -- are available 24 hours a day Monday through Saturday. The service is unavailable from 2 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday.
"We're one of very few [areas] outside St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and maybe Columbia, that has this amount of service over a 24-hour period -- except Sundays. It just doesn't exist," Mogelnicki said. "We have a very strong public transportation system. We take care of our public here in Cape."
Mogelnicki said those statements aren't just talk; he has proof to back them up. The CTA's ridership numbers grow every year, and the fleet has grown to 41 vehicles operated by 61 drivers.
"We're probably going to hit 200,000 rides this year," he said. "We've never hit 200,000. That's pretty good."
While many riders are visiting areas of the city or county, others need to go a little farther. The CTA works with a St. Louis company called LogistiCare, which arranges rides for customers on Medicaid to various medical appointments. Mogelnicki said probably 70 rides a day come from this arrangement, as the transit authority vans take riders to areas across Southeast Missouri, north to St. Louis and sometimes as far as Memphis, Tennessee.
Local workers employed by Gilster-Mary Lee in Perryville, Missouri, also have the opportunity to take advantage of the CTA. Mogelnicki said 40 to 50 riders rely on this transportation daily, which is offered seven days a week, four times a day. He hopes to one day create a similar arrangement for Procter & Gamble employees, but past efforts were unsuccessful, as enough riders never materialized.
Even Central High School students can have a need for the county transit's services. The school is among the 60 stops made by the buses on the fixed-route system. Mogelnicki said it's popular among students who stay after school for tutoring, athletics or other extracurricular activities and can't use the school bus.
Whether it's buses or taxis, he said the CTA provides a service for just about everyone in the community.
"I'd say about 70 percent of our riders are seniors, but everybody of all ages use us," Mogelnicki said.
Cape Girardeau is the only city in the county with fixed-route bus service -- for which the city sets aside about $110,000 in its budget every year -- and Mogelnicki said it's been largely successful. He would like to see the service expand to other areas, however, and serve even more people.
"Our vehicles hit a combined 150,000 miles last month. ... And we burned $30,000 in fuel," he said. "We've come a long way for the county of Cape Girardeau. The city has the only fixed bus route, but in our future plan we'll probably expand -- if I can get the funding -- to go fixed routes to Jackson and to the interchange where the new Pepsi plant is going [at the Greater Cape Girardeau Business Park] and make that a sort of triangular route."
Bus routes, fares and additional information about the Cape Girardeau County Transit Authority is available at cgcta.com.