Rock Island Rail Corridor FAQ

1. What was purchased from Union Pacific?

Jackson County purchased 17.7 miles of the Rock Island Railroad Corridor running from the Truman Sports Complex to southeastern Lee’s Summit for $50.1 million. Included in the purchase was the land itself, the value of having a contiguous corridor (immeasurable, difficult to assemble in any other way) and Union Pacific railroad rights on the corridor. The county purchased the corridor and rights in their entirety, meaning the corridor is still protected by federal laws as a railroad.

2. Who will manage the property?

The Jackson County Legislature has created and funded the Rock Island Railroad Corridor Authority (RIRCA) to manage the property. RIRCA will work in conjunction with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority to manage the property and plan for the future of the multimodal transportation corridor.

3. How will the purchase be paid for?

Government bonds were issued to pay for the purchase. Jackson County and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority will both be responsible for fifty percent of the bond repayment. Jackson County has allocated funds to pay the bonds, with no tax increase for residents.

4. What are the next steps along the corridor?

Survey work has already begun to allow the county to assess the full condition of the property. Once that assessment has been made, design work will commence. At the same time, the RIRCA expects to meet with local officials and residents to lay out plans for the corridor. Corridor planning and design will focus on preservation of the national rail network corridor’s integrity, most notably the railroad corridor’s unencumbered continuity, and on multi-modal transportation options as the corridor remains available for freight service.

5. When will a path be started / completed?

The county expects to begin shared use path construction in 2017 to be completed by late 2018 or early 2019.

6. How much will construction cost?

Estimates for the shared use path are about $1 million per mile, or $18 million. Jackson County already has $10 million in federal funds set aside and a $2.5 million dollar local match.

7. Will the shared use path connect to the Katy Trail?

Yes, eventually. The Rock Island State Park connecting the Katy Trail from Windsor to Pleasant Hill opened in December of 2016. Between Pleasant Hill and the end of our corridor is an area called the Greenwood Connector, this is between 5 and 11 miles depending on the chosen route. Discussions and plans are underway with various partners on closing this gap.

8. What type of mass transit will follow?

Jackson County and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority will begin plans for some form of multi-modal transportation on the corridor. Various forms of mass transportation can be considered given the width of the corridor, and many options will be on the table.

9. When will mass transit be completed?

Multi-modal transportation options are still years off. Until a specific form is determined and costs are anticipated, and exact date is difficult to ascertain.