CLAY CHASTAIN AGAINST KANSAS CITY UPCOMING $800 MILLION GO BOND PUSH!!!
The most prolific transit activist in the nation offers his insight into the upcoming April vote . . . And his streetcar petition . . .
Clay Chastain: Vote No April 3, then Vote Yes August 1 for a new kind of city
Over a 25-year era spanning Cleaver to James the people have suffered under various inept, visionless and even dictatorial governments that have left Kansas City crippled with... high violent crime, deteriorated infrastructure, under-performing and taxpayer-subsidized TIF-projects (that have lined the pockets of the elite), stagnant population and economic growth and a mostly non-voting and demoralized populace.
Kansas City has become a chronically mismanaged city (always deferring to the elite over the needs of everyday citizens) that has no idea where it's going or how to be great again.
And to top it off, the people have witnessed throughout this tainted era the government overturning, blocking and sabotaging petition elections initiated from the people via a succession of Acts of Tyranny. I am now suing Mayor Sly James and former City Attorney Bill Geary as a consequence (See Star article Jan. 25, 7A, "Chastain sues over light rail").
A city is only as good as its government. And what is slated for the April ballot is emblematic of a sorry government misleading a struggling city and perhaps driving it toward bankruptcy.
Proposing to raise people's taxes even further (for the next 40-years in fact) and put the city more in debt for a plan ($800 million bond issue) that will only, at best, yield one dollar of infrastructure improvement for every dollar spent, is not being smart with the little remaining tax potential we have left to turn Kansas City around. This appears more like a last minute attempt by Mayor James to a leave behind some kind of respectable "legacy" after ignoring our city's infrastructure needs for 6-years!
Au contraire', the new streetcar initiative (slated for the August ballot) to expand (citywide) the city's limited, slow moving and useless 2-mile downtown streetcar line is a much smarter infrastructure investment because, unlike the government's $800 million bond proposal, it will yield multiple benefits for every dollar spent on improving this specific piece of the city's infrastructure including...
(a) improving mobility across the city with a new efficient, convenient and sustainable rail / electric bus-based public transportation system;
(b) securing $500 million in federal money from Washington to help us build it (See President Trump / Congress mutual agreement to put "Forgotten Americans" to work rebuilding the nation's infrastructure, which includes rail projects!
(c) providing the city a brand new green selling point to attract back to the city new residents, businesses, tourists and conventions; and
(d) stimulating new economic and job growth across the city with new residential and commercial developments that will mushroom around the new rail lines.
Kansas City's weak-minded, heavy-handed and inept government is more than ought to be endured. Kansas City will only get quality government (and quality proposals to vote on) when it elects quality leaders. Meanwhile, a quality initiative from the people will have to do.
Clay Chastain...Degreed engineer and leader of the people's initiative to modernize the city's public transportation infrastructure around something that will benefit everybody and the city itself multiple times over.