Kansas City, Mo. – A vote on Kansas City light rail is less than two months away, but the campaign for it begins far short of its funding goal.
The mood was semi festive but serious at Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport as political and civic boosters launched the campaign for the three eighths cent sales tax for startup light rail.
It will be led by Pat Mclarney, partner with the Shook Hardy and Bacon law firm, who told KCUR news, "we've raised about a hundred and fifty thousand dollars now and we're shooting for $650 thousand dollars to run the campaign." When asked where the campaign will get that shortfall of four hundred fifty thousand dollars, McLarney's answer was, "we intend to hit up all the businesses, all the professional groups in town but also the voters out there and run a small campaign on the internet."
Supporters were told to expect organized opposition to the tax but no one among them can or will say what form it might take. If voters approve, the 14 mile light rail system would serve as a backbone for a future regional transit system.
Mclarney said now is the time for light rail. In his words,"seventy nine percent of the people we polled said they wanted us to quit talking about light rail and get going and get it passed. So this is the time, in November, when we've got to pass light rail and avoid becoming a third world city."
Mayor Mark Funkhouser says voters have seen rail transit on the ballot nine times in the last 12 years and this is the time to get it done effectively.