Public transportation services in Leavenworth County were the focus of a recent meeting of local government officials.
Local officials reviewed what they see as needs in terms of public transportation and received information about the types of transit programs that can be introduced in the county.
They also discussed possibly forming a committee or task force to focus on the issue.
They plan to have another meeting in about a month.
Wednesday’s meeting was attended by all five Leavenworth County commissioners as well as representatives of the cities of Leavenworth, Lansing and Basehor. Other entities such as the Fort Leavenworth garrison and Saint Luke’s Cushing Hospital also were represented.
Representatives of the Kansas Department of Transportation, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority and Mid-America Regional Council also were invited to attend.
The meeting took place at The Guidance Center in Leavenworth.
The discussion was led by Nancy Bauder.
“I’m just trying to get everybody together,” she said.
Bauder is a Leavenworth city commissioner. She also serves as the Leavenworth County representative on the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority’s Board of Commissioners.
The KCATA operates transit services in the Kansas City area, but these services currently are not offered in Leavenworth County.
Linda Lobb, director of Leavenworth County Council on Aging, said her agency offers transportation services for seniors and disabled residents in the county.
Keith Rickard, executive director of The Guidance Center, said the center provides transportation services for some of its clients. The services primarily transport the clients from their homes to the center.
The Guidance Center is a community mental health center.
Bauder asked local officials about transit needs in their communities.
Basehor Mayor David Breuer said transportation is important for people to able to get to work on time.
He said transportation to the Legends shopping area in Kansas City, Kansas, would help to get people to where jobs are located.
County Commissioner Vicky Kaaz said getting people to the Legends area would enable them to connect to busing services in the Kansas City area.
But Kaaz said she would be happy to have people from Basehor transported to other locations within Leavenworth County.
County Commissioner Jeff Culbertson said a bus service in Leavenworth County is a good idea. But he believes busing should start in the cities and then possibly expand to unincorporated areas of the county.
Lansing City Administrator Tim Vandall said most of the comments about public transportation he has heard concern access to the Legends area for shopping. Vandall said he wrestles with the idea of providing transportation to the Legends area because he would much rather have people shop locally.
Officials from KDOT, MARC and KCATA reviewed some of the transportation-related services they could help provide in Leavenworth County.
Bauder asked the local government officials about the next steps.
Breuer said he does not know what grants may be available to help pay for transit programs and the deadlines for these grants. He said the local officials need to see what is available.
County Commissioner Mike Stieben suggested identifying the role of each level of government in public transportation.
County Administrator Mark Loughry said a joint community program would need an entity that serves as the sponsor.
He suggested this could be the largest user of the service, which likely would be the city of Leavenworth, or the largest local governmental entity, the county.
Loughry suggested a task force be formed to work on the issue. He said the city of Tonganoxie also needs to be involved.
Bauder suggested those in attendance discuss the matter with others from the entities they represent. She said another meeting can be scheduled in about a month.