Trains last rode the rails through the Rock Island Corridor in 1981.
The 17.7-mile line that runs through eastern Jackson County has been dormant ever since.
But that is about to change.
During their meeting Monday, Jackson County Legislators approved issuing up to $52 million in bonds for the county — in partnership with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (ATA) — to purchase the corridor from Union Pacific Railroad. The county and ATA’s immediate plan calls for transforming the Rock Island Corridor into a bicycle trail, with the potential for further redeveloping it later for multi-modal transportation.
“The county has spent seven years working on getting to this point today,” County Executive Frank White, Jr. said following the Legislature’s meeting. “A lot of hard work by the county’s staff and my predecessor, Mike Sanders, made this possible. Ultimately, our partnership with the ATA was essential to securing the finances necessary to make this investment in our community’s future.”