KCUR News
3:14 pm
Mon October 12, 2009

New Commuter Rail Gambit

Independence, Missouri – A new metro wide commuter rail plan is unveiled by Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders. The price tag is slightly more than a billion dollars.

Sanders calls his concept the most cost effective transit plan in the country. As he envisions it, the system would use existing rail corridors to save money and would cost about $7 million a mile to build.

Sanders believes the system would be operating within two years which would make it eligible for federal economic stimulus grants. The county executive estimates operating costs at $22 million annually. He thinks area counties on both sides of the state line could find means to pay those operating costs.

The system would extend from Kearney and Kansas City International Airport on the north to Greenwood on the south. It would cover 144 miles. Its center would be at Union Station. Diesel engine trains could travel as fast at 70 miles per hour. Sanders has quietly talked about his plan for months. The public unveiling of the concept came at a meeting in Independence, Missouri.