infrastructure

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President Donald Trump unveiled a $1.5 trillion infrastructure proposal on Monday built on plans that would more heavily rely on state and local dollars being matched with money from Washington.

For Kansas, that poses both challenges and opportunities. The state is short on funding for new construction work, but it’s already begun looking at other options to pay for roads, bridges and the like.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Over the last 12 months, we've had any number of pollsters, pundits and politicos on the program to discuss Pres. Donald Trump's words and actions.

ataelw / Flickr - CC

In August, Kansas City voters made any future streetcar expansions a little more complicated. Nevertheless, the Streetcar AuthorityKCATA and Port KC are convinced they can come up with $32 million to extend service from River Market to Berkley Riverfront Park.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Local governments and school boards are worried about the possible effects on infrastructure and other projects if Congress passes a tax bill that eliminates exemptions for certain refinancing of bonds.

The Kansas Association of School Boards, which includes most of the state’s 286 boards of education, is urging its members to contact Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts — both Kansas Republicans — about voting against the bill.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

After years of back and forth and deal-making, a complicated (some would say bungled) procurement process, complete with ethics complaints and calls for a do-over, Kansas City, Missouri, voters have approved a plan to build a new, single terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Take me out to the ball game . . . or not? Salina, Kansas is home to one of the worst professional baseball teams in the country. Why the Salina Stockade team is still proud. 

Plus, the Buck O'Neil Bridge is reaching the end of its projected lifespan. What does the future hold?

Guests:

In the wake of Charlottesville, and growing visibility of extremist groups like white supremacists and neo-Nazis, we ask, what does it mean to be white? 

Plus, with unprecedented flooding in Houston, we take a moment to see how prepared Kansas City is for heavy rainfall. 

Guests:

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Missouri Department of Transportation engineers are warning policymakers that inadequate infrastructure funding could close bridges and snarl traffic in the Kansas City area.

“If a road degrades slightly, you can still drive on it. If a bridge is weight-posted, you can’t drive a heavy load on it,” says MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna. “That really disconnects communities all across the state.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

After weeks of back and forth and lively discussion about what constitutes a "shovel-ready" project, the Kansas City Council on Thursday approved the first round of projects it will address with money from a massive, $800 million infrastructure bond package approved by voters in April. 

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Monday's bombing in Manchester, England, shows the global war on terrorism has been unsuccessful thus far in stopping extremist violence. Today, former Department of State advisor Steven Koltai suggests a new approach to stopping the bloodshed: encouraging entrepreneurship.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

There's a new proposal from architecture firm Burns & McDonnell that would use private money to fund construction of a new terminal to replace existing facilities at Kansas City International Airport.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

City leaders say Kansas City can get a new, single-terminal airport at no risk to taxpayers. Burns & McDonnell, one of Kansas City’s big engineering firms, is offering to take on the project at Kansas City International Airport — not just the design but the financing as well. 

Kansas City Mayor Sly James says the deal would leave the city completely out of the project’s funding.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

City Manager Troy Schulte has sent a letter to the mayor and city council outlining how to spend the first $40 million in general obligation bonds Kansas City voters approved last month.

“We want to get the shovel-ready projects rolling, and we have to tackle the backlog of spot sidewalk repairs,” Schulte said in a statement. “I know council members are also anxious to get going, so this gives them a chance to review the list and provide us with the feedback we need to finalize the plan.”

Here’s what the city manager has proposed:

If you’ve recently driven through Kansas City’s Marlborough neighborhood, which borders from Troost Avenue on the west, Prospect Avenue on the east, and from E. 79th Street to E. 85th Street, you may have noticed that the streets are a little cleaner these days.

That's thanks to Kansas City’s pilot Trash Cart Program, a green infrastructure project where residents are given new covered garbage and recycling bins.

The program rolled out last April in Kansas City’s Marlborough neighborhood as part of the city’s development of green infrastructure projects.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

From attempts to overturn Obamacare to rumors of sweeping tax reform, there's plenty going on in the federal Capitol these days — not to mention the White House. Today, Democrat Emanuel Cleaver, of Missouri, and Kansas' Republican Kevin Yoder, both U.S. representatives, discuss the issues congress is grappling with now and will likely deal with in the near future. They also share their thoughts on President Donald Trump's first 88 days in office.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

When it comes to the Buck O’Neil Bridge (formerly known as the Broadway Bridge,) Kansas City is in a tough spot.

More than 50,000 people drive across the bridge each day, according to The Mid-America Regional Council, whose Beyond The Loop project is studying the bridge and its surrounding area.  

Jim Mathis / Johnson County Library

Kansas City, Missouri, voters approved a series of general obligation bonds aimed at improving infrastructure throughout the metro, and totaling more than $800 million. Today, Councilman Quinton Lucas tells us how he expects the investments to affect local communities. Then, public libraries may be facing cuts at both federal and state levels. We speak with local library directors to find out how they are faring in an era of "skinny budgets."

KC Pet Project

Kansas City residents handed city officials a big victory Tuesday night when they approved an $800 million bond package and property tax increase to address the city's infrastructure needs. 

City officials are eager to get to work. City Manager Troy Schulte says his team has already been developing a first-year implementation plan for the first tranche, or portion, of the money. He says he plans to deliver a final version of that plan to the city council by May 1. 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

For all the times that scientific research has improved our lives, there are other times when science got it horribly wrong. Today, Dr. Paul Offit describes the lessons we have learned, and should be learning, to separate good science from bad.

Better Block Foundation

The push for safe spaces and trigger warnings is leading many educators to more carefully curate their syllabi. The issue inspired creativity in a Kansas City playwright and the two local actors performing in his new project.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

For Mayor Sly James, this has been a particularly busy time. On Tuesday evening, he gave his State of the City Address, which we discuss today, along with a bond proposal James says will trim, but not eliminate, a backlog of public works projects in Kansas City, Missouri.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

The intersection of Hillcrest Road and Oldham in Swope Park needs work. The narrow bridge here has been considered structurally deficient since 2014.

And at night, especially when it rains, the sharp turns can be dangerous.

Two fatal crashes happened here in just the last few months.

Guard rail and bridge repairs would make this intersection safer. But it’s only one of hundreds of project all over the city in need of attention. 

courtesy KCATA

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) describes the Metro Area Express, or MAX, as "light rail on rubber tires." The city's bus rapid transit launched in 2005, and serves residential and commercial corridors along Main Street and Troost Avenue.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

On Thursday, the Kansas City Council approved a $1.59 billion budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The new budget takes effect on May 1. 

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

Sen. John Skubal, R-Overland Park, and Ed DeSoignie, Executive Director of the Heavy Contractors Association, discuss where Kansas could find funding for infrastructure projects as the legislature continues to talk about borrowing more money from KDOT's budget.

The Missouri Department of Transport (MoDOT)

Kansas City’s newest bridge officially opens Thursday with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The U.S. 69 Missouri River Bridge connects Platte and Wyandotte Counties. The crossing opened to traffic in December but the finishing touches to a ramp and a pathway for pedestrians and cyclists were just completed.

Missouri is busy upgrading or replacing historic bridges build from the 1930s to the 1950s. A new bridge was recently finished upstream in Atchison and engineers are currently looking at downtown’s 60-year-old Buck O’Neil Bridge.

Justgrimes / Flickr — CC

So you voted in the presidential election last year and felt all warm and fuzzy because you did your civic duty. Yay! Or maybe you didn't (or couldn't) but now you want to make a change.

The race for the highest executive office in the United States may be settled, but KCUR is here to break down Kansas City, Missouri's special April 4 election for you. 

First, make sure you can vote (if you're registered already, click here to skip down to the issues)

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

When Mayor Sly James and his staff first proposed an $800 million general obligation bond to address the city's basic infrastructure needs, he acknowledged it would be a tough sell.

At a town hall meeting in Kansas City's Waldo neighborhood Monday, James had a chance to make his case. 

About 100 area residents showed up to ask the mayor just how the city plans to spend the money and how it will affect their own pocketbooks. 

Cody Newill / File Photo / KCUR 89.3

Despite Mayor Sly James' hope that the Kansas City Council would agree on ballot language for a major infrastructure bond  issue, joint committees on Thursday decided to put the discussion on hold until next week. 

The leaves just one week to come to a consensus on language if they want to get the issue on the ballot April 4 — which they do. 

Gwen's River City Images / Flickr--CC

It’s not a trick of the light – the water flowing from Kansas City taps is faintly pink.

The culprit? Too much sodium permanganate, a chemical added during the water treatment process.

“When the Missouri River has what we call a high color content, when there are a lot of silts and clays in the river, there may be some materials that some people find unappealing,” Mike Klender, plant manager, says. “Part of our treatment process is to use sodium permanganate to combat those taste issues.”

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