New freight option available soon in the Kansas City region

PAKCMOEarlier this week the Port Authority of Kansas City, Missouri, announced that it will reopen its Woodswether Terminal in partnership with Kaw Valley Companies as the new operator. The port has been closed for seven years. This public-private partnership will provide an improved, efficient freight movement service that will benefit Kansas City, Missouri, and the surrounding region.

The revitalized operations will allow for an additional freight transportation option — along the Missouri River — using the less congested inland waterways and existing infrastructure of the port.  Just last year, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced the designation of M-29 (the stretch of the Missouri River from Kansas City, Mo., to Sioux City, Iowa) as part of the Marine Highway Program. The Port Authority of Kansas City, Missouri, applied for this marine highway designation to allow transport of cargo on water routes, which can enhance safety and reduce pollution and congestion on roadways. Other marine highways serving the Kansas City region include M-70, the Missouri River from Kansas City to the Mississippi River at St. Louis, and M-55, the Mississippi River from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico.

Port Authority leaders see the reopening as an opportunity for our waterway resources to become a regional economic catalyst, helping to support and expand rail and road shipping services in the region. The group’s mission is to promote the economic vitality of Kansas City, Missouri, through trade, commerce and transportation.

The Port Authority of Kansas City, Missouri, is represented by voting members on MARC’s Total Transportation Policy Committee and Goods Movement Committee.

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Region receives $1.2 million TIGER grant from U.S. DOT

TIGER-logoPlanning grant will focus on improving transit access to employment centers

The Kansas City region will receive a $1.2 million planning grant for an initiative to double the number of jobs accessible by public transit over the next 10 years. The award is one of 72 grants totaling $600 million announced today by the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of its 2014 TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant program.

The Mid-America Regional Council applied for the grant on behalf of the Regional Transit Coordinating Council, in partnership with the area’s four transit agencies — the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, Johnson County Transit, Unified Government Transit and Indebus.

“The employment rate is up and more companies are hiring, but there is often a disconnect between where people live and where the jobs are,” said Ron Achelpohl, MARC’s director of transportation. “Our public transit system currently offers little suburb-to-suburb service, and we want to identify ways to address that.”

A recent study by the Brookings Institution found that only 18 percent of jobs in the region are reachable via transit in 90 minutes or less — ranking the Kansas City region 90th of the 100 largest metros.

The “KC Workforce Connex” initiative will build on work completed over the past four years with grants from an earlier round of TIGER funding and a Sustainable Communities regional planning grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“We’ve developed a centers-and-corridors framework for transportation improvements, focusing on key corridors that branch out from the central business district,” said Achelpohl. “With this new grant, we’ll be able to explore ways to expand transit to connect more people to job opportunities, especially in high-growth employment centers in suburban areas.”

Grant partners will use a four-part strategy to strengthen transit connections between people and jobs.

  • Identify high-priority areas where improvements will have the most impact.
  • Expand the region’s existing corridor framework, connecting to more suburban employment centers.
  • Engage employers and community organizations in planning through extensive public engagement and outreach.
  • Use technical tools to evaluate specific strategies and recommendations in targeted, high-impact areas.

With this round of TIGER funding, the U.S. DOT gave priority to investments that will connect communities to centers of employment, education, and services, and that hold promise to stimulate long-term job growth.  “We’re creating ladders of opportunity for the middle-class and those seeking to enter the middle-class by investing in transit,” said Secretary Foxx.

The  planning initiative is expected to begin in 2015 and take 18 months to complete.

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Destination Safe celebrates 10-year anniversary

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESOn Friday, Sept. 5, safety and transportation professionals from the Kansas City region met at the Sylvester Powell Jr. Community Center to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Destination Safe Coalition. This award-winning coalition was formed in 2004 to address transportation safety issues.

MARC Senior Transportation Planner Aaron Bartlett opened the event by providing background on the coalition and some of its achievements over the past decade. Most recently, the coalition is working to reduce regional roadway fatalities through behavioral, infrastructure and special user priorities outlined in Toward Zero Deaths, the 2013–2017 Kansas City Transportation Safety Blueprint.

Missouri Co-Chair Rose Simone hosted the ceremony and offered anecdotes of her experience with the coalition. She announced the winners of Destination Safe’s awards in three categories and presented the awards with Kansas Co-Chair Technical Trooper Howard Dickinson.

Law Enforcement and Emergency Management Award

  • Technical Trooper Howard Dickinson
    Kansas Highway Patrol
  • Ervin Jason Sims
    Traffic Center Manager, Kansas City Scout

Infrastructure Research Award

  • Ingrid Potts
    Transportation Research Center Manager, MRIGlobal
  • Jessica Hutton
    Senior Traffic Engineer, MRIGlobal
  • Mehrdad Givechi, PE, PTOE
    Program Assistant/Research Engineer
    University of Kansas Transportation Center,  Kansas Local Technical Assistance Program

Education and Advocacy Award

  • Vicky Ward
    Manager of Prevention Services, Tri-County Mental Health Services
  • Katie Schatte
    Safe Kids Coordinator, Safe Kids Johnson County, Kansas
  • Regina Weir
    Safe Kids Coordinator, Safe Kids KC Metro

Find out more online about the award recipients and their contributions to Destination Safe.

Learn more about the Destination Safe Coalition at

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Which Planning Sustainable Places projects should be funded?

by Beth Dawson

Leave your feedback online

MissionStreet_IMG_0760 hspace=10The Mid-America Regional Council serves as the metropolitan planning organization for the Kansas City region. We work with many partners on transportation improvements in the region. Because many of our programs are funded with your tax dollars and may affect your community, we invite you to share your opinions about proposed projects across the Kansas City region.

We recently asked local governments and other organizations to submit projects for funding from MARC’s Planning Sustainable Places program. We received 29 applications, and there isn’t enough funding for all of them.

You can help by sharing your feedback about the applications. Visit and browse projects by organization or project category. Please share your thoughts with us by Thursday, September 11, 2014.

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A new round of funding for enhanced mobility projects for seniors and individuals with disabilities

MARC is now accepting applications for public transit and human services transportation projects that are eligible for federal funds through Enhanced Mobility for Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities (Section 5310). Section 5310 provides Federal Transit Administration funding to projects that support transportation and mobility for older adults or persons with disabilities.

An estimated $2.4 million is available in this round of funding.  Eligible applicants should be private, nonprofit organizations; state or local government agencies; or public transportation operators in the MARC transportation planning area, which includes Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami and Wyandotte counties in Kansas and Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte counties in Missouri. The application is online at The deadline for applications is Monday, Nov. 3, at 4 p.m. CST.

Section 5310 funding is a cost-reimbursement program, and all projects require some level of matching funds. An application guidebook is available online.

Applicants are encouraged to attend a pre-application workshop at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 10, at the MARC Conference Center Board Room, 600 Broadway, Suite 200, Kansas City, MO 64105. Register for the workshop online.

For more information, contact Tyler Means at or 816/701-8261, or Ron Achelpohl at or 816/701-8327.

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MARC announces new Director of Transportation, Ron Achelpohl

Aug. 4, 2014

RonAchelpohl_2The Mid-America Regional Council is pleased to announce the appointment of Ron Achelpohl as MARC’s new Director of Transportation. Our organization shares a high regard for Ron’s management ability, values and leadership style, and we are confident in his capacity to build on the strong foundation of systems and staff to meet new opportunities. That confidence in Ron is widely shared among external stakeholders.

Ron is well-qualified for this new role, with some 24 years of experience in transportation, including 16 years with MARC as assistant director. He is a registered professional engineer and an experienced manager, and he is skilled at achieving consensus.  He has strong expertise in planning and implementing complex transportation projects and programs. Ron has developed effective partnerships and working relationships with public officials, stakeholder agencies and community interests throughout the region.

Ron can be reached by phone at 816/701.8327 or by email at

We hope you join MARC in congratulating Ron. Thank you for your support as MARC continues to work diligently to serve this region.

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We want your feedback!

Periodically, MARC seeks public comments on transportation planning efforts and major amendments to transportation plans. Our public input page provides details about how to submit your comments. All comments will be documented and reviewed by MARC’s Total Transportation Policy Committee.

We are currently seeking public feedback on two transportation-related items:

Amendment #8 to Transportation Outlook 2040 (comments due by Sept. 5)

Transportation Outlook 2040, the Kansas City region’s Metropolitan Transportation Plan, is a blueprint that details how the region will manage, operate and invest in its multimodal transportation system over the next 25 years. It describes the transportation needs of the metropolitan area and broadly categorizes $18 billion in transportation expenditures. Amendments are made to Transportation Outlook 2040 as new projects, funding or programs arise.

  • Modification to Project #805: I-49/US-71 and MO 291 Interchange Improvements in Harrisonville; adds a second phase to this project, which will increase the total project cost by $5 million.
  • Adding Project #1003: I-435 Pavement Replacement (KA-3993-01) for replacement and reconstruction for six lanes of pavement of I-435 from one-half mile east of the Quivira Road junction to the bridges over Metcalf Avenue.
  • Adding Project #1004: 1-35 Pavement Replacement (KA-3560-01) for the replacement of concrete pavement on I-35 from north of K-7 interchange to Santa Fe Street.

More information about these projects, including locations, project sponsors and costs are available online at

2014 Special Amendment #3 to the 2014–2018 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)

(comments due by Sept. 5)

The TIP is an important, short-term planning document that helps budget funds for significant transportation improvements in the region. It identifies significant projects that receive federal funds and will be implemented over the next three to five years. MARC amends the TIP on a quarterly basis to document changes to projects in the TIP.

The proposed Special Amendment #3 to the 2014–2018 TIP includes three new projects and four project modifications, including

  • #380142 —Pavement replacement/reconstruction on I-435 from one-half mile east of Quivira Road, east to Metcalf Avenue in Johnson County, Kansas.
  • #634066 – Bridge replacement on Santa Fe Road over the BNSF railroad tracks in Sibley, Missouri.
  • #970097 — SHRP2 (C20) – Proof-of-concept Freight Data Integration.
  • #380137 — I-35 pavement replacement, from north of I-35/K-7, north to I-35/Santa Fe in Jackson County, Missouri.

Details of projects in the TIP amendment can be found online:

Additional information about the MARC transportation planning process can be found in A Guide to Transportation Decision-Making and MARC’s Public Participation Plan.

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Drunk driving crashes highlighted in Channel 41 report

by Jim Hubbell

Drunk driving is a major transportation safety issue, both locally and across the country. Channel 41 (KSHB) recently featured a regional analysis in a special report that aired July 29. MARC transportation staff eagerly worked with Ryan Kath from KSHB on a story about drunk driving in the Kansas City region. MARC staff compiled drunk driving crash data from 2009–2013 for the eight-county metropolitan planning area (Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami and Wyandotte counties in Kansas and Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte counties in Missouri), and analyzed the data for patterns and trends.

The analysis of crash data found:

  • A crash involving a drunk driver occurred roughly once every 6 hours.
  • Most drunk-driving crashes occurred on weekends (45 percent on Saturdays and Sundays).
  • Half of drunk-driving crashes occurred between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.
  • A driver between the ages of 20 and 24 was involved in one of every five drunk-driving crashes.DD_density

Analysis of crash locations identified some areas with high concentrations of drunk-driving crashes, including northern Johnson County, Kansas, along I-35; eastern Kansas City, Kansas; and western Independence, Missouri.

Drunk driving is a serious issue for the Kansas City region. Toward Zero Deaths, the Kansas City Regional Transportation Safety Blueprint, identifies impaired driving — which includes driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs — as one of the focus areas for transportation safety in the Destination Safe region. Although impaired driving was cited in fewer than 10 percent of all regional crashes, it was a contributing factor in more than 30 percent of fatalities and 20 percent of disabling injuries from 2008–2012 in the Destination Safe region. Effective countermeasures to reduce the number of impaired driving crashes involve enforcement, outreach and education.

For more information about the drunk-driving crash analysis, contact MARC transportation planner Jim Hubbell.

For more information on Destination Safe and MARC safety planning, contact MARC senior transportation planner Aaron Bartlett.

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MARC Board approves updated population and employment forecasts

In June, the MARC Board of Directors approved the updated population and employment forecasts that were developed by the Technical Forecast Committee. The forecasts are an important part of the current update to Transportation Outlook 2040, our region’s Metropolitan Transportation Plan.

The long-range transportation plan helps guide the region’s federal transportation investments and is updated every five years. MARC, as the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization, works with local government planners to develop population and employment forecasts for the time-horizon of the long-range plan, as developed to relate to Traffic Analysis Zones for the regional travel demand forecasting model. This guides estimates for transportation system performance and future needs. The forecasts can be integrated into travel demand models and used to project the region’s mobility needs in 2040.

The forecast information will be incorporated into the plan update that is expected to be completed in early 2015.

For information about the updated forecasts, contact Frank Lenk at or 816/474-4240.


Forecast charts

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How does Kansas City transit compare to services in peer metro areas?

PeerTransitReport_cvrThe new 2014 Peer Transit Analysis report published by MARC’s transportation department compares the Kansas City region and its three largest transit agencies (in terms of service area and annual ridership) to 10 urbanized areas around the country and their primary transit agencies to provide a better frame of comparison between regional transit investment, ridership and modes of service.

The new report includes:

  • Detailed data about Kansas City regional mode sharing, local and per capita investments, ridership, fare income and revenue miles.
  • Transit options by region for comparison.
  • Transit operation funding sources and annual income generated by region.
  • Direct comparison of efficiency and effectiveness in the Performance Measures section.

The report details some key findings, such as:

  • Annual transportation operations in all metros rely on funds in excess of fare revenues. In the Kansas City region, the total capital funds expended annual is $23.79 million, with only $14 million generated from fare collection.
  • The mix of funding sources differs significantly by metro, with financing from local sales and use taxes, county or state allotments, and more.
  • Though there is a need for a variety of transportation options across the country, transit currently serves only 5 percent of the regional population or less in compared metros.

View the complete report online.

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