A call for input: Which transportation projects should be recommended for funding?

As the metropolitan planning organization for the Kansas City region, MARC works with many partners to allocate funding for transportation improvements in the region. You have an important role to play in this process, too. Your tax dollars help pay for the federal and state programs that fund many of the projects, and which projects get funded may affect you and your community. We invite you to share your opinions about the proposed projects.

We recently asked local governments and other organizations to submit projects for funding from the federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) program, Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STP) and Surface Transportation Block Grant Set Aside funds (formerly known as the Transportation Alternative Program, or TAP).

We received 118 applications totaling more than $192 million, and there is only about $61 million of funding available, so there are some difficult decisions ahead.

You can view project applications by organization, by project type and by funding source. Scroll all the way to the bottom of each project page and use the form to submit your comments.

Please share your thoughts with us by Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. Our transportation planning committees will review your feedback as they evaluate applications and make final funding recommendations.

Safe Commute Guide helps employers get commuters to work safely

In partnership with RideKC, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the Full Employment Council, MARC has launched the Safe Commute Guide to help employers and commuters get to work safely during COVID-19.

As the region continues to balance the economic rebound and public health concerns during COVID-19, safe, accessible employer commute and telecommute practices remain critical to business continuity and resilience.

A supplement to the Safe Return KC Guide, the Safe Commute Guide empowers employers with tools, templates and resources to develop safe commute policies and practices.

The guide features an evaluation of each of the Kansas City area’s transportation options, addressing COVID-19 safety, reliability and cost-effectiveness as key concerns for employers and commuters alike.

In addition, the guide features local resources and best practices to help businesses and their commuters stay connected to transportation solutions. The guide can be found at MARC.org, or on the PrepareMetroKC website.

For questions about safe commute practices or to inquire about the guide, contact Natalie Phillips with the RideshareKC program at nphillips@marc.org.

Climate Conversation with Rep. Sharice Davids

In anticipation of its Climate Action Plan, Climate Action KC and MARC have been conducting a series of Climate Conversations on a variety of topics related to climate change and resilience.

Check out the latest, featuring Rep. Sharice Davids where she discusses how transportation infrastructure plays a role in climate resilience and the disproportionate impacts climate change has on vulnerable populations.

If you missed the Transportation Week conversation with Michael Kelly from BikeWalkKC, check it out here.

Be sure to join the online discussions to help shape the region’s Climate Action Plan at climateactionkc.mindmixer.com.

Call for projects open for three federal funding programs

In our role as Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Greater Kansas City, MARC is soliciting project proposals for three Federal Highway Administration funding programs. 

  • Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) 
  • Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBG) 
  • STBG Set-aside (formerly Transportation Alternatives or TAP) 

While we are very aware of the current uncertainties and impacts to regional transportation partners resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, we believe beginning to add projects to the federal funding pipeline will be important for the region’s eventual economic recovery. Since many of these projects will require lengthy lead-times to design and develop through the federal-aid process, we are proceeding with this call for projects to provide time to complete that work. After extensive discussions with our transportation committees, we have also made modifications to the programming process that should allow more time to assemble the information needed to complete these applications. 

Alignment with regional transportation goals 

In 2018, the MARC Board of Directors adopted an updated vision for Greater Kansas City as a region of opportunity where the robust economy, healthy environment and social capacity support the creativity, diversity and resilience of its people, places and communities. 

Connected KC 2050, the region’s long‐range transportation plan is being updated in 2020. The plan supports the regional vision by establishing goals for a safe, balanced, regional multimodal transportation system that is coordinated with land‐use planning, supports equitable access to opportunities and protects the environment. Projects submitted for consideration will be evaluated based on how closely they align with the policy goals of the plan. 

Connected KC 2050 also includes a Programming Policy Statement that further supports the vision of the MARC Board of Directors and is designed to aid the region as it makes progress in implementing the goals identified in the transportation plan and other regional policies. Project proposals will be evaluated for adherence with these policies. 

Eligible applicants and uses 

State and local government and transportation agencies located within MARC’s MPO boundary — Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami and Wyandotte counties in Kansas, and Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte counties in Missouri — may submit transportation projects for consideration for STBG and TAP funds. CMAQ funds are only eligible for use in the region’s air quality planning boundary — Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas, and Clay, Jackson and Platte counties in Missouri. Interested nonprofit entities, school districts and other nongovernmental agencies should contact MARC regarding their eligibility under these programs. 

Each of the three programs is eligible to fund a wide but specific range of surface transportation projects. Eligible transportation project types for this call for projects include, but are not limited to: 

  • Active transportation, including bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. 
  • Alternative fuel and diesel retrofit strategies to improve regional air quality. 
  • Public transportation. 
  • Outreach strategies to improve regional air quality. 
  • Roadway and bridge capacity, management, operations, preservation and traffic flow. 
  • Transportation safety. 

Application procedures 

This funding opportunity will consist of two phases, a preapplication and initial screening followed by a full application and technical evaluation.  

Preapplications are being accepted now through 4 p.m. CST on Friday, May 29, 2020. Full applications will open Aug. 3, 2020, and close at 4 p.m. CST on Friday, Sept. 4, 2020. Completion of both phases is required for funding consideration. 

The application instructions, resources, maps and online form are available on the Connected KC 2050 funding page

Will riders return to public transportation?

How has COVID-19 impacted you and your constituents’ travel habits, motivations and fears? Do you plan on catching the bus or ridesharing any time soon? If you take transit, rideshare, or bike/scooter, we want to know how coronavirus has impacted the way you move around KC.

RideKC has launched a survey in partnership with KC Streetcar, RideshareKC, RideKC Bike & Scooter and RideKC Vanpool for metro-area commuters to gauge what the future might look like for transportation through the pandemic and beyond.

Feedback collected from the survey will be used to guide re-opening plans for local transportation providers. We hope to get a better sense of how commuters feel about their transportation options in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis and into the future and use those results to better serve the needs and desires of the community.

Please take a couple of minutes to complete the survey and pass it along to your networks.

To learn more about KC area transportation options and COVID-safe transportation habits, contact RideshareKC at rideshare@marc.org.