Infrastructure Stimulus

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Re: Infrastructure Stimulus

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Let's talk about broadband and getting rid of lead pipes!

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Re: Infrastructure Stimulus

Post by FangKC »

Yes, for people living in New York, a large number would take Amtrak to Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, or Washington DC instead of flying. I did.

I loved taking Amtrak to Washington DC. The train was always more comfortable for me than an airplane.
Last edited by FangKC on Mon Apr 05, 2021 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Infrastructure Stimulus

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DaveKCMO wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:17 pm
Let's talk about broadband and getting rid of lead pipes!
Obviously the per person cost ratio is insufficient to justify not poisoning people.

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Re: Infrastructure Stimulus

Post by DColeKC »

phuqueue wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:51 am
DColeKC wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:55 pm
mean wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 12:37 am


I actually thought you were somehow making a joke. How can the government bail itself out of its own bad budgeting? That just seemed too absurd to be a thing you were actually saying. I will make sure I take future absurd comments at face value.
Yes, I’m joking about dumping money into a form of transportation that’s been around almost as long as this country. Call it what you want. Sure, the government underfunds it each and every year and sure, historically it’s been operated poorly. Doesn’t change the fact it still needs more money every year to make up for the lack of revenue. I’m not suggesting we close it down tomorrow and leave the people who need that form of transportation out of options. I’m saying let’s be honest that it’s not going to go up in popularity unless it gets insanely faster and more reliably on time. I’m sorry that people with decades more experience in government than you decided to call it a bailout. I didn’t invent the term, but here you are calling my comments absurd. I guess using established terminology, made popular by all your favorite news hosts is now absurd.

I think what’s absurd is pouring billions into a form of transportation that hit its prime 100+ years ago! You can fly cross country for $130 and in 6 hours or, over $1000 and a absurd 67 hours via Amtrak. But sure, let’s keep funding Amtrak’s national routes for the train nerds out there. This type of thinking is why we still don’t have HSR. “We can’t give up on Amtrak, a tiny percentage of the American population uses it!”
Amtrak doesn't exist to take people across the country in 67 hours, it exists to move people between the intermediate city pairs along those long-distance routes. The Southwest Chief, as an example, runs from Chicago to Los Angeles, but fewer than 10% of its riders actually take it from Chicago to Los Angeles. On these shorter-distance stretches, the train is often time-competitive with driving (notwithstanding that the River Runner takes forever) and in some cases it's arguably time-competitive with flying when you factor in time getting to the airport, going through security, waiting around for your flight, actual flying time, getting back into the city after you land, etc. Many of the towns where the train stops on the long-distance routes are also not on or near an interstate (and, it should go without saying, are nowhere near an airport), so the train is their most direct link to the national transportation network. You asked in an earlier post what it would take to get rid of the long distance routes, and I guess your starting point would have to be convincing Republican legislators to cut their own constituents off from the rest of the country.

It's worth pointing out that these long-distance routes are the money losers for Amtrak, while many of its short-distance routes (and all of the short-distance routes collectively) are profitable, so it would be fair to say that Amtrak's subsidies (or "bailouts," if you prefer) exist solely to serve these smaller towns that evidently can't support their own service. The government similarly subsidizes small airports across the country for exactly the same reason, and of course, road subsidies have been raised repeatedly in this thread as well (but it "doesn't make sense" to you to compare two modes of transportation, apparently). With all of that in mind, it's still not really clear what your beef actually is with Amtrak alone, although the fact that you think long-distance routes exist specifically to facilitate end-to-end cross-country travel suggests that maybe you have never ridden a train before, so maybe it's just the standard right-wing "the government must only spend money on me" mindset.
There you go with your "right wing" crap again. I personally could care less about Amtrak, but I understand and respect the fact it's needed. I have no use for it in it's current form, like the vast majority of this countries population. That doesn't mean I don't think it should be funded or underfunded. My beef is with the idea of trying to constantly fix something that could be replaced with a far superior option in almost all aspects. Something that would not only satisfy Amtraks current customers but increase ridership dramatically and provide a useable and attractive transportation option to the majority of Americans. KC to STL in 60 or 90 minutes is just one small example that I could see as being insanely popular.

Obviously comparing two forms of transportation is understandable, but harping on roads and trying to justify the billions given to Amtrak because we also put so much into roads is..... odd. Basically every single American uses the road system while very few (in terms of percentage) utilizes Amtrak.

Maybe my opinion is way off on this, I'm good with that. My opinion isn't going to have an impact on the actual situation and we're just having a conversation here. I didn't know there would be so many ferroequinologist in here.
Last edited by DColeKC on Mon Apr 05, 2021 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Infrastructure Stimulus

Post by DColeKC »

DaveKCMO wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:17 pm
Let's talk about broadband and getting rid of lead pipes!
Take my money.

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Re: Infrastructure Stimulus

Post by shinatoo »

DColeKC wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 1:24 pm
phuqueue wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:51 am
DColeKC wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:55 pm


Yes, I’m joking about dumping money into a form of transportation that’s been around almost as long as this country. Call it what you want. Sure, the government underfunds it each and every year and sure, historically it’s been operated poorly. Doesn’t change the fact it still needs more money every year to make up for the lack of revenue. I’m not suggesting we close it down tomorrow and leave the people who need that form of transportation out of options. I’m saying let’s be honest that it’s not going to go up in popularity unless it gets insanely faster and more reliably on time. I’m sorry that people with decades more experience in government than you decided to call it a bailout. I didn’t invent the term, but here you are calling my comments absurd. I guess using established terminology, made popular by all your favorite news hosts is now absurd.

I think what’s absurd is pouring billions into a form of transportation that hit its prime 100+ years ago! You can fly cross country for $130 and in 6 hours or, over $1000 and a absurd 67 hours via Amtrak. But sure, let’s keep funding Amtrak’s national routes for the train nerds out there. This type of thinking is why we still don’t have HSR. “We can’t give up on Amtrak, a tiny percentage of the American population uses it!”
Amtrak doesn't exist to take people across the country in 67 hours, it exists to move people between the intermediate city pairs along those long-distance routes. The Southwest Chief, as an example, runs from Chicago to Los Angeles, but fewer than 10% of its riders actually take it from Chicago to Los Angeles. On these shorter-distance stretches, the train is often time-competitive with driving (notwithstanding that the River Runner takes forever) and in some cases it's arguably time-competitive with flying when you factor in time getting to the airport, going through security, waiting around for your flight, actual flying time, getting back into the city after you land, etc. Many of the towns where the train stops on the long-distance routes are also not on or near an interstate (and, it should go without saying, are nowhere near an airport), so the train is their most direct link to the national transportation network. You asked in an earlier post what it would take to get rid of the long distance routes, and I guess your starting point would have to be convincing Republican legislators to cut their own constituents off from the rest of the country.

It's worth pointing out that these long-distance routes are the money losers for Amtrak, while many of its short-distance routes (and all of the short-distance routes collectively) are profitable, so it would be fair to say that Amtrak's subsidies (or "bailouts," if you prefer) exist solely to serve these smaller towns that evidently can't support their own service. The government similarly subsidizes small airports across the country for exactly the same reason, and of course, road subsidies have been raised repeatedly in this thread as well (but it "doesn't make sense" to you to compare two modes of transportation, apparently). With all of that in mind, it's still not really clear what your beef actually is with Amtrak alone, although the fact that you think long-distance routes exist specifically to facilitate end-to-end cross-country travel suggests that maybe you have never ridden a train before, so maybe it's just the standard right-wing "the government must only spend money on me" mindset.
There you go with your "right wing" crap again. I personally could care less about Amtrak, but I understand and respect the fact it's needed. I have no use for it in it's current form, like the vast majority of this countries population. That doesn't mean I don't think it should be funded or underfunded. My beef is with the idea of trying to constantly fix something that could be replaced with a far superior option in almost all aspects. Something that would not only satisfy Amtraks current customers but increase ridership dramatically and provide a useable and attractive transportation option to the majority of Americans. KC to STL in 60 or 90 minutes is just one small example that I could see as being insanely popular.

Obviously comparing two forms of transportation is understandable, but harping on roads and trying to justify the billions given to Amtrak because we also put so much into roads is..... odd. Basically every single American uses the road system while very few (in terms of percentage) utilizes Amtrak.

Maybe my opinion is way off on this, I'm good with that. My opinion isn't going to have an impact on the actual situation and we're just having a conversation here. I didn't know there would be so many ferroequinologist in here.
The current trains that AMTRAK runs could do KC to ST. Louis in under 3 hours if the track conditions meet standards and the railroads gave priority. Top speeds for standard AMTRAK trains is 90MPH.

DoleKC: Would 3 hours be fast enough for you take the train to St. Louis? Would you be willing to spend another 50 to 100 billion to shave a hour off that?

Seams to me that investing 2 billion in track upgrades to get to 90mph is better money spent that 10 times that much to get to 225 MPH.

To Dave's question: Can we run broadband through the lead pipes?
Quocunque Jeceris Stabit

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Re: Infrastructure Stimulus

Post by DColeKC »

For me, 6 hours round trip to STL and back is too much time for my purposes of work or maybe to catch a Cardinals game. Cut that in half or more and it becomes a great option for KC residents to get to STL for a day trip or STL folks to get here for Chiefs games for example.

I know compared to other countries, we seem to favor standard rail over HSR, so it's probably a dream that will never happen.

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Re: Infrastructure Stimulus

Post by normalthings »

DColeKC wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 2:26 pm
For me, 6 hours round trip to STL and back is too much time for my purposes of work or maybe to catch a Cardinals game. Cut that in half or more and it becomes a great option for KC residents to get to STL for a day trip or STL folks to get here for Chiefs games for example.

I know compared to other countries, we seem to favor standard rail over HSR, so it's probably a dream that will never happen.
It takes ~3.75 hours to drive to STL. An airplane is about 2 - 2.5 hours. Rail needs to cut 2 hours to be competitive with that. Siemens Charger + Amfleet max speed is 125 mph (Illionois Higher Speed Rail tops out at 110 mph on that equipment). The 283 mile river runner would take 2.25 or 2.6 hours at full throttle with no stops.

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Re: Infrastructure Stimulus

Post by smh »

I think the nice thing about rail is you don't have to deal with the airport (or getting to the airport) and can do other stuff during the trip as opposed to driving. So if you could get to STL in 3.5ish hours I think you'd find it to be a pretty compelling product--depending on frequency of service. River Runner is never going to be a winner with only two trains per day.

Dave will guffaw, but I'd like to see 8-10 trains/day eventually. Game changer.

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Re: Infrastructure Stimulus

Post by FangKC »

^..you don't have to deal with the airport (or getting to the airport)...

Ditto this.

The other thing is that tall people get crammed into airline seats, which have been getting less leg room over the past 20 years. It's become a miserable experience for me unless I'm in a first-class seat. I don't feel crammed into a train seat. The other thing I dread is getting stuck sitting on a plane on the tarmac for an hour (or longer) just waiting to take off. The stories about some passengers being held prisoner on planes sitting for extended, and ridiculous periods, is one of my nightmares.

United Airlines passengers were trapped on tarmac for 16 hours

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/unite ... 2019-01-23

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Re: Infrastructure Stimulus

Post by WoodDraw »

normalthings wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:21 pm
DColeKC wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 2:26 pm
For me, 6 hours round trip to STL and back is too much time for my purposes of work or maybe to catch a Cardinals game. Cut that in half or more and it becomes a great option for KC residents to get to STL for a day trip or STL folks to get here for Chiefs games for example.

I know compared to other countries, we seem to favor standard rail over HSR, so it's probably a dream that will never happen.
It takes ~3.75 hours to drive to STL. An airplane is about 2 - 2.5 hours. Rail needs to cut 2 hours to be competitive with that. Siemens Charger + Amfleet max speed is 125 mph (Illionois Higher Speed Rail tops out at 110 mph on that equipment). The 283 mile river runner would take 2.25 or 2.6 hours at full throttle with no stops.
Fair point, and I’ll grant that current train travel is far less flexible than others. However a lot of the time on the train is productive time. Driving is the least productive (limited to audio or talking I guess), flights but you still have to get to airport and security is dead time.

I find Union station to Union station with uninterrupted time to do what I want to be a decent trade off occasionally.

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Re: Infrastructure Stimulus

Post by normalthings »

WoodDraw wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:16 pm
normalthings wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:21 pm
DColeKC wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 2:26 pm
For me, 6 hours round trip to STL and back is too much time for my purposes of work or maybe to catch a Cardinals game. Cut that in half or more and it becomes a great option for KC residents to get to STL for a day trip or STL folks to get here for Chiefs games for example.

I know compared to other countries, we seem to favor standard rail over HSR, so it's probably a dream that will never happen.
It takes ~3.75 hours to drive to STL. An airplane is about 2 - 2.5 hours. Rail needs to cut 2 hours to be competitive with that. Siemens Charger + Amfleet max speed is 125 mph (Illionois Higher Speed Rail tops out at 110 mph on that equipment). The 283 mile river runner would take 2.25 or 2.6 hours at full throttle with no stops.
Fair point, and I’ll grant that current train travel is far less flexible than others. However a lot of the time on the train is productive time. Driving is the least productive (limited to audio or talking I guess), flights but you still have to get to airport and security is dead time.

I find Union station to Union station with uninterrupted time to do what I want to be a decent trade off occasionally.
I was speaking of purely travel/wait times. The River Runner wifi is usually good enough for me to work the entire ride. It has also felt like my more recent trips are almost always arriving 20-40 minutes early. I prefer the train to driving by far.

KCI and STL security time are usually negligible but I always leave a buffer for the "what ifs". Nothing beats the 30-40 minute flight across the state. I have it down to about 1.5 hours total flight trip time (no bags) but could see you getting it down close to 70 minutes. Big hold up is the slow drive or transit trip between the airport and where you are going.


River Runner's average speed today is 50mph. An incremental boost to 79mph gets it down to 3.5 hours and faster than car travel. A highway to rail project on i70 should be able to support 110mph with relative ease( 2.25 hour travel time)

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Re: Infrastructure Stimulus

Post by phuqueue »

DColeKC wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 1:24 pm
phuqueue wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:51 am
DColeKC wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:55 pm


Yes, I’m joking about dumping money into a form of transportation that’s been around almost as long as this country. Call it what you want. Sure, the government underfunds it each and every year and sure, historically it’s been operated poorly. Doesn’t change the fact it still needs more money every year to make up for the lack of revenue. I’m not suggesting we close it down tomorrow and leave the people who need that form of transportation out of options. I’m saying let’s be honest that it’s not going to go up in popularity unless it gets insanely faster and more reliably on time. I’m sorry that people with decades more experience in government than you decided to call it a bailout. I didn’t invent the term, but here you are calling my comments absurd. I guess using established terminology, made popular by all your favorite news hosts is now absurd.

I think what’s absurd is pouring billions into a form of transportation that hit its prime 100+ years ago! You can fly cross country for $130 and in 6 hours or, over $1000 and a absurd 67 hours via Amtrak. But sure, let’s keep funding Amtrak’s national routes for the train nerds out there. This type of thinking is why we still don’t have HSR. “We can’t give up on Amtrak, a tiny percentage of the American population uses it!”
Amtrak doesn't exist to take people across the country in 67 hours, it exists to move people between the intermediate city pairs along those long-distance routes. The Southwest Chief, as an example, runs from Chicago to Los Angeles, but fewer than 10% of its riders actually take it from Chicago to Los Angeles. On these shorter-distance stretches, the train is often time-competitive with driving (notwithstanding that the River Runner takes forever) and in some cases it's arguably time-competitive with flying when you factor in time getting to the airport, going through security, waiting around for your flight, actual flying time, getting back into the city after you land, etc. Many of the towns where the train stops on the long-distance routes are also not on or near an interstate (and, it should go without saying, are nowhere near an airport), so the train is their most direct link to the national transportation network. You asked in an earlier post what it would take to get rid of the long distance routes, and I guess your starting point would have to be convincing Republican legislators to cut their own constituents off from the rest of the country.

It's worth pointing out that these long-distance routes are the money losers for Amtrak, while many of its short-distance routes (and all of the short-distance routes collectively) are profitable, so it would be fair to say that Amtrak's subsidies (or "bailouts," if you prefer) exist solely to serve these smaller towns that evidently can't support their own service. The government similarly subsidizes small airports across the country for exactly the same reason, and of course, road subsidies have been raised repeatedly in this thread as well (but it "doesn't make sense" to you to compare two modes of transportation, apparently). With all of that in mind, it's still not really clear what your beef actually is with Amtrak alone, although the fact that you think long-distance routes exist specifically to facilitate end-to-end cross-country travel suggests that maybe you have never ridden a train before, so maybe it's just the standard right-wing "the government must only spend money on me" mindset.
There you go with your "right wing" crap again. I personally could care less about Amtrak, but I understand and respect the fact it's needed. I have no use for it in it's current form, like the vast majority of this countries population. That doesn't mean I don't think it should be funded or underfunded. My beef is with the idea of trying to constantly fix something that could be replaced with a far superior option in almost all aspects. Something that would not only satisfy Amtraks current customers but increase ridership dramatically and provide a useable and attractive transportation option to the majority of Americans. KC to STL in 60 or 90 minutes is just one small example that I could see as being insanely popular.
I doubt that anybody here disagrees with you about the need to build a real HSR network, but HSR wouldn't replace Amtrak's existing network, it would supplement it. In other countries, HSR forms a spine between major cities, but the vast majority of the rail network is not HSR, and the high-speed trains make relatively few stops between the major cities. The idea that non-HSR trains are "antiquated" or obsolete is not reality.
Obviously comparing two forms of transportation is understandable, but harping on roads and trying to justify the billions given to Amtrak because we also put so much into roads is..... odd. Basically every single American uses the road system while very few (in terms of percentage) utilizes Amtrak.
Once you consider how strongly American transportation policy has skewed toward cars/roads in the postwar period, this just becomes circular reasoning. Americans use the road system because it is heavily subsidized, while other modes have been neglected or actively dismantled. We don't have a choice. When Amtrak was created, the Nixon admin expected that they would keep it around for a couple years to placate popular pro-rail sentiment and then quietly shut it down, but fifty years later we still have it because it's too popular to kill. You're fixated on the comparatively low gross ridership, but the fact that Amtrak even exists at all in 2021 is evidence of the demand for it. I'm not sure how Amtrak's ridership compares to its overall capacity, as that stat has been surprisingly difficult to dig up in a brief google search, but at least anecdotally I feel that trains I have been on tend to be pretty full, which would show that people are interested in using Amtrak when they're able to. From that angle, the "very few" who use Amtrak could be less an indication that Amtrak has low appeal than that Amtrak service is not available to enough people.

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Re: Infrastructure Stimulus

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DColeKC wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 1:25 pm
DaveKCMO wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:17 pm
Let's talk about broadband and getting rid of lead pipes!
Take my money.
If you work for a corporation, we will! :P

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Re: Infrastructure Stimulus

Post by normalthings »

DaveKCMO wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 2:01 pm
I hope "expand service" means allowing federal funds to be used for operating expense, like what was done for the three COVID relief bills. Agencies won't add service if they can't afford to maintain it long term (we are in this category).
Would we really not jump on a 70-80% grant for rail?

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Re: Infrastructure Stimulus

Post by DaveKCMO »

normalthings wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:23 pm
DaveKCMO wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 2:01 pm
I hope "expand service" means allowing federal funds to be used for operating expense, like what was done for the three COVID relief bills. Agencies won't add service if they can't afford to maintain it long term (we are in this category).
Would we really not jump on a 70-80% grant for rail?
Who's paying the 20-30% match and with what source? Let's say it's another extension like Main Street ($350 million), a 20% match is still $70 million -- or just a bit more than the very successful downtown TDD could cover with a 1% sales tax and special assessments on all property. If you assume we'd submit a regional project (something that runs outside of KCMO for any stretch), there isn't a dedicated source to tap so it would have to come at the expense of something else.

You could assume we would upgrade an existing high frequency corridor like Independence, but only a handful of routes would justify the rail expense unless the feds change the cost/benefit (Independence Ave, Linwood, 39th, maybe NKC-to-KCK but it hasn't been studied) -- thus the operating expense would already be covered if owned/operated by KCMO/KCSA.

That said, we're working a regional proposal that would provide such funding but it's a long slog through every local government (starting with the counties, if that works) and then seek state authorization to put something in front of voters.

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Re: Infrastructure Stimulus

Post by normalthings »

DaveKCMO wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:29 am
normalthings wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:23 pm
DaveKCMO wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 2:01 pm
I hope "expand service" means allowing federal funds to be used for operating expense, like what was done for the three COVID relief bills. Agencies won't add service if they can't afford to maintain it long term (we are in this category).
Would we really not jump on a 70-80% grant for rail?
Who's paying the 20-30% match and with what source? Let's say it's another extension like Main Street ($350 million), a 20% match is still $70 million -- or just a bit more than the very successful downtown TDD could cover with a 1% sales tax and special assessments on all property. If you assume we'd submit a regional project (something that runs outside of KCMO for any stretch), there isn't a dedicated source to tap so it would have to come at the expense of something else.

You could assume we would upgrade an existing high frequency corridor like Independence, but only a handful of routes would justify the rail expense unless the feds change the cost/benefit (Independence Ave, Linwood, 39th, maybe NKC-to-KCK but it hasn't been studied) -- thus the operating expense would already be covered if owned/operated by KCMO/KCSA.

That said, we're working a regional proposal that would provide such funding but it's a long slog through every local government (starting with the counties, if that works) and then seek state authorization to put something in front of voters.
Yea, I guess I assumed that we would try to build an Independence or Linwood Streetcar at the expense of something else.

It is my understanding that there is a 1/2 cent regional transit tax (county wide) and a 1 cent transportation (county wide, can be used for rail) that the state already approved. What would we need additional state authorization for?

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Re: Infrastructure Stimulus

Post by DaveKCMO »

The 1/2-cent authorization is only on the Missouri side and would need voter approval in Jackson, Platte, and/or Clay. There is no 1-cent authorization on the books for our region, other than what's already being collected (1/2-cent and 3/8-cent with another 1/8-cent to spare -- all just KCMO).

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Re: Infrastructure Stimulus

Post by FangKC »

Percentages of political support for infrastructure plan.

Image

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Re: Infrastructure Stimulus

Post by DColeKC »

FangKC wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:52 am
Percentages of political support for infrastructure plan.

Image
I think you find the bigger discrepancy when it comes to agreeing how to pay for these things. That’s obviously when the big split between dems and republicans starts to widen.

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