Government & Politics

For Prospect MAX bus line, it's full speed ahead, thanks to $30 million federal grant

A $30 million federal grant clears the way for construction on the long-awaited Prospect Max rapid bus line.
A $30 million federal grant clears the way for construction on the long-awaited Prospect Max rapid bus line.

The Prospect MAX rapid bus system got a major boost Monday with the announcement of a $30 million federal grant that will be used to begin construction of the long-awaited, high-tech transit project.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) was awarded a $29.9 million Small Starts grant from the Federal Transit Administration for the nine-mile line that will run from 12th Street downtown to 75th Street and Prospect Avenue.

The Prospect MAX will feature interactive kiosks with real-time arrival information, public WiFi, level boarding platforms and reduced travel times. It's hoped that the new line will be the catalyst for much-needed economic growth along Prospect and new mobility linking residents to jobs.

“This is big for the region, but more so for the people who live along Prospect,” Robbie Makinen, president and CEO of the KCATA said in a statement. “We’re investing in Kansas City and driving community and economic development along the Prospect corridor.

Service could begin sometime next year.

The grant gets the project close to the total estimated $54 million price tag. In addition to the Small Starts grant, the KCATA also has $8 million in federal funding already in hand, along with a $3 million contribution of its own. Kansas City municipal government is providing a $12.5 million local match.

Prospect would be the third MAX rapid bus line operated by KCATA. Main Street MAX opened in 2005 and Troost Avenue MAX followed in 2011.

The funding is another piece of promising news for the Prospect corridor, which will soon start to see revenues generated by the new one-eighth cent citywide sales tax approved by voters in April 2017. It is expected to produce about $8 million a year for economic development.

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