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Free Transit Under Consideration in Kansas City

The idea of free transit is sold as a benefit to the environment and the city's most vulnerable residents in this editorial by the Kansas City Star.
November 12, 2019, 2pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Kansas Transportation
David McBee

According to a Kansas City Star editorial, the Kansas City City Council's Transportation Committee this week will consider a resolution that would move the city closer to delivering free public transit service on Kansas City Area Transportation Authority buses.

The free fares are included in a larger package of "priority policy" for public transit, which would fund free transit and other programs in next year's budget. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas sponsored the resolution, so the idea comes from the top of the city government.

"Finding that money will be challenging but not impossible," according to the editorial. "A good first step would be to stop giving away tax revenue to developers. Other efficiencies, including elimination of fare boxes on buses, could help. So could reclaiming sales tax dollars now subsidizing the streetcar."

A political key for the free transit program, according to the editorial: not waiting for surrounding suburban communities to get on board with the idea. The editorial cites the examples of Denver and Salt Lake City as evidence for the viability of the idea in other cities, and as a possibly emerging trend in the world of transportation planning.

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Published on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 in Kansas City Star
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