Old Rail Line Bought for Bike Path, Commuter Rail a Long Way Off

A portion of the old Rock Island Railroad line purchase Wednesday by Jackson County and the ATA

Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders say the joint purchase of the old Rock Island Railroad line is a forward looking move for the county.
Sanders says the County and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (ATA) paid $52 million for almost 18 miles of the Rock Island railroad right-of way.
He says the money for it was already set aside and no tax increase will be required. The property stretches from Lee’s Summit to near downtown Kansas City.
“It’s potential to shape our county’s growth for generations cannot be overstated,” said Sanders said ceremony at the Truman Sports Complex. A portion of the line runs by the Sports Complex property.
Sanders and others talked about developing the old railroad right-of-way into a bike path that could eventually connect with the Katy Trail, which spans almost the entire state of Missouri.
For years, Sanders has been pushing for a commuter rail line tying eastern and southwestern Jackson county communities with downtown kansas City. Obtaining the right of way for the project has been difficult.
Today, however, neither Sanders, nor anyone else spoke about the potential commuter rail line. The only evidence of it was a drawing that showed a train stopping by Arrowhead Stadium.
Sanders says a commuter railroad line would require federal matching dollars that are not there at this time.
Sanders,however, said Kansas City Congressman Emanuel Cleaver told him there is a chance Congress passes a new transportation funding bill and that might be a source of commuter rail money.

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