Big changes are coming for transportation in Platte County, and I’m not just talking about the bridge projects snarling traffic on Interstate 29 this summer.No, this will affect more specialized modes of transportation, but they will be big and noticeable. Like, the Kansas City City Council heard more about the proposed future of KCI Airport big and noticeable. You can read more about the proceedings from Tuesday’s meeting starting on page 1 of this week’s issue.
The brief version goes like this: travelers want more conveniences, and the advisory group thinks that starting all over is the best way to reach that goal while remaining cost efficient. I use that term begrudgingly because the cost is roughly estimated at less than a billion dollars, and no one really seemed to bat an eye at that figure.
The good news?
You aren’t on the hook for the project — that is unless you travel a lot. The funding mechanism will come from operations and airline fees and not tax dollars from Platte County or Kansas City residents. There’s no timetable on this construction to take place. There’s not even a final plan yet, but those travelers who enjoyed the in-and-out convenience to and from the gates at KCI will have to sacrifice so the airlines can operate more efficiently.
A lot of people lament the original design of KCI, seen as preparing for the future of air travel in the 1970s. Instead, the designs of other airports almost immediately started differing and TWA ceased to exist and Kansas City was left with an airport considered a dinosaur.
Those who have yearned for amenities and technology will get their way.
There’s no true effect for Platte City or Platte County unless the increased traffic projected leads to more business activity. Just not sure anymore hotels or restaurants will be showing up because of that. Maybe I’ll be wrong.
Not everyone uses the Centennial Bridge which links Highway 92 in western Platte County with Leavenworth, Kan., but to be sure, it’s a very important thoroughfare for this area.
The biggest reason is obvious: Fort Leavenworth.
Those who choose to live in Missouri but work on the base could be facing a money issue if the current project for a replacement bridge, detailed in the space at the bottom of this page, comes to fruition. That will affect a lot of people in this area with most trips in Missouri linked to people going to or from Platte City and Weston.
Or maybe they won’t because the idea of tolling the roadway is more government posturing than actual threat to your wallet.
Kansas allows tolling, while Missouri does not.
But one of the proposals to fund the new Centennial Bridge includes charging for each trip across. We are talking $1.50 to $2 per go.
I’m no math wizard, but a Kansas Department of Transportation official helped me figure out what that means. If you use the bridge to travel to and from work, you’re looking at upwards of $80 a month. That’s not an insignificant amount for most of us.
There won’t be a ticket taker asking you to dig for change either. The charge will come in the form of a bill based on electronic measuring (read: tracking your license plate).
But this might not happen if the Missouri Department of Transportation finds more funds.
You see, KDOT is in worse shape than MoDOT, which is scary considering recent budget cuts, so Kansas appears to be playing its trump card and threatening to take the lead on tolling, which could lead to all sorts of headaches.
Hopefully, the money turns up somewhere, maybe in the cushions of one of the DOTs’ couches.
Anyway, the public meetings will likely continue as officials continue to gain input. Like I said, not important to everyone, but those in Platte County — and beyond — who use the roadway should make sure to offer input if they feel compelled.
Platte City’s sidewalk project along Highway 92 continues to progress with only a few temporary lane closures which haven’t seemed to affect traffic much.
The path has already traversed the Platte County school complex and heading toward Hillcrest on its way to the U.S. Post Office. It’s already receiving use, and officials truly believe this a good step for bike and foot traffic.
One minor detail that might go unnoticed: the sidewalk butts up against the existing curb. Why is that important, and why did the city make it a priority? They won’t have to maintain a grassy area there, which saves the taxpayers money.
I say good work.
Ross Martin is publisher of The Citizen. He may be reached via email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @Citizen_Ross.