It was a backslapping moment for federal and local officials Monday morning as they celebrated the end of a $50 million federal transit and infrastructure grant.
A group of runners broke through a green crepe paper ribbon on a pedestrian bridge over Brush Creek, a block east of Troost and just north of Volker in Kansas City, Mo.
Saying he was unapologetic for recruiting federal dollars to his 5th District, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver said the so-called TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant did a lot more than complete the bridge and promenade along Brush Creek. The money also funded 120 different infrastructure and transit improvement projects across the metro, including:
- Upgrading transit stops with larger, more enclosed facilities
- Improving sidewalks and curbs, particularly to accommodate the disabled
- Traffic signal and street resurfacing improvements
Congressman Cleaver said runners, walkers, and bikers can now travel for miles east from the West Plaza along a paved trail.
“We have already begun to build a touch...just a small touch of tomorrow,” Cleaver said. “And in many ways it compensates for our neglect of yesterday.”
Kansas City Mayor Sly James, Region 7 Federal Transit Authority Administrator Mokhtee Ahmad, and KCATA General Manager Mark Huffer also spoke at the ceremony.
According to James, young people care more about their Internet connections than their cars, and they’re concerned about living green;
“Future generations want low-cost, high quality multi-modal transit options and they want to live in places where they can walk, bike, or take rail," he said.
The TIGER grant, officials said, funded projects on both sides of the state line, in Johnson and Wyandotte counties as well as in Kansas City, Mo., Grandview, and Independence.