Spotlight on Sustainability: Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri

The following is based on an interview with Tom Gerend, Assistant Director of Transportation, Mid-America Regional Council

While anyone who is involved in regional planning can appreciate the difficulties of trying to work across multiple local jurisdictions, Kansas City faces a unique set of challenges. Kansas City lies on the border of Missouri and Kansas, which means the Kansas City Transit Corridors and Green Impact Zone TIGER (Transportation Invesment Generating Economic Recovery) grant, by the U.S. Department of Transportation, is working across not just city and county lines, but state lines as well. That makes the project complex, but also rich with opportunity because numerous streams of federal revenue can be tapped to focus on one region.

The Kansas City TIGER project is drawing urban and suburban, bi-state and bi-partisan support. The grant is bringing together a coalition of groups that historically would have planned their own transportation or development projects independently, but now have a unique opportunity to take a regional approach to planning. By encouraging more regional coordination, groups now have the opportunity to leverage their particular assets to support more regional goals, like higher levels of infill and maximizing the use of preexisting infrastructure.

Kansas City is focused on improving transportation corridors so people are better connected to where they live, work, and want to go and getting there without an automobile is a viable option. On a regional scale, the goal is to use the TIGER grant to improve transportation corridors by providing new bus routes both in the urban core and in places that haven’t been served by public transportation before. That means, locally, that the TIGER grant is being used to improve access to transportation routes by upgrading infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The success of the TIGER project in Kansas City will depend on broad support from leaders across both states, and on support from the public. That is why the project is using innovative outreach methods to show the public exactly what they will accomplish in their neighborhoods. To ensure that residents in the area get to see the progress of more than 100 projects that are receiving funds, the Kansas City TIGER project is releasing a series of videos to explain their goals and featuring a “TIGER Tracker” on their website.

For more information about Kansas City’s regional TIGER grant, check out their website.