Leaders announce major infrastructure project in Kansas City

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KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Millions of federal infrastructure dollars will be spent to create a sustainable investment corridor stretching from Independence, Missouri, to Kansas City, Kansas.

The goals of the investment are to create jobs, reduce carbon emissions and improve neighborhoods.

The 24-mile corridor would connect City Hall in Independence, Missouri, to Village West in Wyandotte County, via State Avenue in Kansas and Independence Avenue in Missouri.

“We’re talking about two states, three mayors, one county executive, two congressmen,” said U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver.

The corridor would be connected through investment in electric buses, which would operate along the route generating zero emissions, as well as improvements to pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.

“Everyone is thrilled that we are going through two different states – people working together. In Washington, it’s rare and exciting. It’s a money magnet,” Cleaver said.

Federal Infrastructure Act money of $1 trillion would also be spent to make homes along the corridor energy efficient and build new housing.

Cleaver wants to install license plate readers along the route in an effort to make the corridor not only zero fare and zero emissions, but also zero crime.

“What we want to do is take care of the people who need us,” said Robbie Makinen, CEO of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority. “Take care of the people who need us every day. You may not use public transport, but you depend on many people who do every day.

During the pandemic, Makinen said transit ridership has remained strong as essential drivers have continued to bring in essential workers to perform essential jobs that have kept the economy going.

The ripple effect means the corridor will also attract grants for affordable housing, bridge construction, high-speed internet access and school improvements.

However, each chunk of that money will be announced individually, Cleaver said.

Cleaver also approached this topic from an environmental perspective, saying infrastructure improvements will fund long-term sustainable projects. The law money will be dispersed over the next 10 years.

The project will be modeled on the Kansas City Green Impact Zone created under the Obama administration.

Some critics called the Green Impact Zone a money pit of frivolous spending, but Cleaver said it created jobs that remain to this day and Missouri’s only school, Paseo High School, powered by solar energy.

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