Missouri county secures federal funds to purchase former Rock Island right-of-way

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Jackson County has been allocated $10 million in federal highway transportation funds to apply toward the $59.9 million cost of purchasing nearly 23 miles of former Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific right-of-way from Union Pacific through Raytown, Lee’s Summit, Kansas City, and Independence. The purchase is part of a plan to establish commuter rail service that would connect the area to downtown Kansas City.

Additionally, Jackson County and UP have extended a memorandum of understanding that gives the county the exclusive right to purchase corridors that have the potential to be used for expanded public transit options in the future.

The $10 million in Surface Transportation Program funds were sub-allocated to MARC, the region’s metropolitan planning organization, by the Federal Highway Administration. The MARC board, comprised of regional representatives, voted to appropriate the funds.
“This allocation signifies the acquisition of the Rock Island Corridor is not just a Jackson County priority, but a regional priority,” says Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders.

The agreement with UP to purchase the right-of-way has been extended until September 30, 2015. “Union Pacific has been a great partner in this endeavor,” Sanders says. “They recognize, as we do, that this is a unique opportunity not only for Jackson County, but the entire region for the development of regional transit and extending our trails system.”

The memorandum entails no financial risk to county taxpayers should Jackson County and UP be unable to reach a binding sales agreement before the new deadline.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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