Prospect MAX gets green light with nearly $30M federal grant

Paul Thompson
Northeast News

The Prospect MAX line has been awarded a $29.9 million Small Starts grant from the Federal Transit Administration.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) announced the grant funding for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line in an April 9 press release.

“We are excited about the technology and economic development that Prospect MAX will bring to the region,” said Robbie Makinen, President and CEO of KCATA, in the release.

The project had been in a holding pastern until federal funds were identified. With that funding now in place, KCATA plans to begin work on the Prospect MAX line by June of 2018. The Prospect MAX is expected to be complete by late 2019.

“We were not allowed to issue construction contracts without that grant agreement, so it was very necessary,” said David Johnson, Project Manager of Regional Planning & Economic Development for KCATA.

For Northeast residents, the biggest change will revolve around the bus stop at 12th and Charlotte, which will become the northernmost mobility hub for the new Prospect MAX line. The three mobility hubs – other locations will be at 31st and Prospect and 75th and Prospect – will be like normal bus stops, but with more advanced technology. That includes interactive kiosks with real-time arrival information, as well as historical details about the area immediately surrounding the bus stop. KCATA envisions the mobility hubs as a driver of economic development along the Prospect corridor.

Johnson added that the KCATA improvements are intended to attract ancillary transit-related investment from the private sector.

“In some cases, we might even provide some additional infrastructure,” said Johnson. “At 12th and Charlotte, we can tell you that there will be a bike-sharing station there.”

The 12th and Charlotte hub will also serve as a layover facility, replacing the current facility at 10th and Main. Referred to under the working title of the East Village Mobility Hub, the new facility will connect a number of KCATA bus routes, including the #24 Independence Avenue line.

In addition to a swifter commute, KCATA anticipates that the upgrades throughout the Prospect MAX line will help deter crime in the area.

“The thing that we talk about most with Troost (MAX), that we hope to have happen on Prospect as well, is crime reduction,” Johnson said. “We’re expecting to see that on Prospect as well.”

With the funding for the Prospect MAX line intact, many in the Northeast will likely be looking towards a potential Independence Avenue MAX. Johnson noted, however, that the line is probably still a few years away.

“We’re working through some early routing decisions right now,” Johnson said. “At some point it will move into a design project, but I don’t think we have a date yet on when that will occur.”

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