First steps in regional transit are “a big deal”

untitled-(306-of-318)Declaring “this is a big deal,” the Kansas City bus service committed to an agreement with the Johnson County bus service and promised more regional transit cooperation is coming.

Robbie Makinen, chairman of the Area Transportation Association (ATA) board joined Ed Eilert, chairman of the Johnson County Commission, in officially signing the Interlocal Cooperation Agreement for Transit Management and Administration yesterday.

“What we’re doing here today, this is a big deal,” Steve Klicka, vice chairman of the ATA , said. “It is starting to lead a path to regional transit.”

Makinen said he has relied upon on public and paratransit services since he lost his vision and it has been hard to travel across the metro area.

“The ATA wanted to be the transit authority it was meant to be. I don’t see municipal or county boundaries anymore and neither should anyone else.”

Makinen also sees the regional transit agreement as symbolizing something greater – the possibilities of working across state and county lines in general.

“Municipal and county boundaries do not have to be a barrier to providing service to our region,” Makinen said. “If Missouri and Kansas can come together to improve transit service, there is no reason other community issues cannot be addressed. We hope this progress can serve as an engine of regional cooperation for the benefit of the whole community.”

The ATA said management consolidation will result in an approximate $455,000 savings in personnel costs. The agency is working on a joint staff study.

Makinen said other discussions about regional cooperation are continuing. The ATA recently approved regional transit branding.



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