Last year residents of Kansas City voted on an extended and increased tax for the Kansas City Area Transit Authority (KCATA). They were told that KCATA needed the increase to effectively operate. Despite the fact that a significant challenge arose to the tax, mainly based on part of the tax’s diversion to wealthy developers, the tax was passed and KCATA got their influx of new money.
Despite that, KCATA announced recently that they were seeking a fare hike. In fact, the first of many public meetings will be held tonight so that KCATA can justify a .25 cent increase in local fares. If the turnout is typical, the meeting will be attended by less people than can be seen on an average KCATA bus. KCATA will take this as a sign of approval, and rates will go up on March 1st.
Yesterday the situation got even worse. Now KCATA has announced that they will be cutting back service and laying off workers. This news begs the question, how much money will ever be enough to satisfy the KCATA?
If a brand new tax and a fare hike can’t keep KCATA operational, shouldn’t Kansas City residents question its value, accountability and necessity? Maybe KCATA is not the solution to the city’s mass transportation issues to begin with. Maybe even, KCATA is holding back work on a more effective solution.