Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I am McLovin

Alright, I just have to share this with the world...

Go to: and you can download the template for this. A few minutes in a photo editor and ....
Voila, "I am McLovin' "

Have fun.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Advice to the Funk on Light Rail...

Readers, I am now starting an advice column to change my blog. Eventually, I will take appropriate, legitimate reader questions. (email to: with the word "advice" in the subject.) Until then, I plan on forging questions from Kansas City bigwigs.


It's the Funk here. I recently announced my big plan for a bi-state light rail plan. Do you think it has a chance? Any hints and tips you can give me for this project would be helpful.


Mark "I'm not a puppet of my wife" Funkhouser
Mayor Kansas City, Mo


Good to see your finally asking for advice. I think that this plan (see: or corresponding article on Tuesday's B1.) Has some very good points. The suburbanites would probably be distrustful of a commuter transportation plan run by the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority because KCATA has done a fine job running a downtown bus system, but it has not done too much to get out to the edge of Kansas City. Definitely, the bistate plan will give Kansas City a bigger, more useful light rail plan.
To help keep constructions costs use these tips from Nashville's Music City Star which is a heavy rail construction project.
1. Take advantage of what you have. Use existing rail and city owned right-of-way, when available. (In Kansas City this would be any number of the rail lines that already go all of the way into Union Station.)

2. Don't double-track immediately. To get a system off the ground, consider single tracking rail corridors and providing passing sidings when necessary. You can always expand in the future as demand grows. (This is a great point. Kansas City has a love affair with the biggest, newest, and best. Remodeled equipment would be suitable at the start. This would both be faster to get up and running and cheaper.)

3. Simplify station design. Rail stations can be just as simple as bus shelters. At-grade stations with small covered shelters are suitable.

4. Consider used rolling stock. Rail has been around for over 100 years. You don't always have to purchase the latest, greatest, and most expensive rail cars. Give a neighboring American city a call. They may have a surplus of something you can use and will give you a deal to get it off their hands. (Nashville was able to get some of their rolling stock from Chicago's Metra service for $1. They then had to remodel the cars to btoh update them and make them ADA compatible. Even with that the cars came in at significantly less than what new rolling stock costs.)

5. Public / Private relationships. Like roads, rail benefits more than just riders. It also increases the value and visibility of property in surrounding areas adjacent to track and rail stops. Considering that stations don't have to be anywhere as elaborate or expensive as the Skyway's, there may be private entities out there willing to fund stops adjacent to their properties because of the benefits they will receive. (The support of the KC business could help this project get off the ground. Hey, we supported them with Tax-increment Financing for the past decades. Time for a little payback.)
(see my source:

So go forward with this plan. I'd say it has a good chance, and the bi-state support is crucial.


James "The advice guru"