Updates and outcomes from MARC’s April Board meetings

Flowers bloom in the Kansas City region.

Thanks to everyone who joined the MARC Board of Directors and Budget and Personnel Committee meetings on April 26. We’re sharing selected highlights from the meetings for your awareness and use in regional conversations.

Don’t forget, registration is now open for the MARC 2022 Regional Assembly and Leadership Awards. Join us as we celebrate 50 years and look toward the future.

The MARC Board heard a variety of updates, including:

  • Board service recognition: Board members recognized and thanked Eileen Weir, former Mayor of Independence, for her service to the Board. Mayor Weir joined the Board in 2014 and served as MARC Board treasurer since 2019. The MARC Board Executive Committee will provide a recommendation for treasurer in May.
  • Transportation funding update: The Board heard an update on work related to Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding.
    • MARC staff asked jurisdictions to apply for transportation projects in February and received 135 completed pre-applications ranging from road/bridge projects to bicycle/pedestrian efforts. MARC received $368 million in requests for approximately $100 million in available funding.
    • RAISE is a U.S. Department of Transportation program that provides funding for transportation planning and capital investments through grants between $5 to $25 million. MARC staff are tracking four RAISE applications from the region, including the Bi-State Sustainable Reinvestment Corridor.
  • Climate action update: Roeland Park Mayor Mike Kelly, co-founder of Climate Action KC, briefed Board members on recent climate-related activities. A delegation from Poland and other countries visited the region in early April. Their visit culminated with the Climate Action Summit, where 600 people heard from experts, discussed emerging trends and considered new ways to expedite action. Building renovation and decarbonization were of particular interest to the delegation. Ashley Sadowski, executive director of the Building Energy Exchange KC, said up to 63% of greenhouse gas emissions in the region come from buildings and there are initiatives underway to increase energy efficiency.
  • Green infrastructure: The region is advancing green infrastructure efforts through evaluation criteria applied to transportation projects. In a recent round of project applications, 88% of transportation projects included green infrastructure measures, such as tree-planting and stormwater management practices, compared to 40% in an earlier round. Other green infrastructure initiatives include model ordinances for tree protection and native landscaping. The region is also gearing up to rewrite the stormwater standards with 20 communities on board to participate in the process. The standards were last updated 20 years ago.
  • Bike Month: May is Bike Month and MARC staff are encouraging residents to join in the celebration by vising kcbikemonth.com. Residents are also invited to participate in the Bike Month Challenge. Staff advised that the newly completed 2022 Greater Kansas City Regional Trails and Bikeways Map features 912 miles of shared-use paths and 619 miles of bikeways.

The MARC Budget and Personnel Committee considers all matters dealing with budget, personnel and bylaw amendments. At its meeting on April 26, the committee heard reports on:

  • Regional 911 system: Linn County is joining the regional 911 system following approval from the committee, the Public Safety Communications Board and the Linn County Commission. As part of the transition, MARC 911 technicians will install two 911 workstations for a total cost of $62,381 to be reimbursed by the county. The committee also approved $104,313 to move the region closer to NextGen911 mapping.
  • MARC remodeling project: The project to expand MARC’s office space is moving forward through a donation of office furniture from a local company. Disassembling and reassembling of the furniture is estimated at $134,000. The Board approved an agreement with Odimo Architects not to exceed $95,000 to support the work for the remodel. Other upcoming improvements include audio/visual changes to the MARC Board room to boost the quality of hybrid meetings.
  • Older adults: Board members approved a service agreement with the University of Missouri Kansas City to support better outcomes for patients with heart failure as part of MARC’s integrated care efforts. UMKC provides social services to uninsured or underinsured people experiencing heart failure and will analyze the results of the project as a demonstration of the efficiency of integrated health care.
  • Transportation: The committee approved a contract with Brungardt Honomichl & Co (BHC) to aid MARC in completing the Missouri Regional Preventative Maintenance program, which will invest $1.5 million of federal funds for road improvements. BHC will complete mill and overlay work on local roadways in the four counties on the Missouri side of the MARC metropolitan planning organization region.