Jackson County Legislature Approves Bonds To Purchase 17.7 Miles of the Rock Island Corridor | Jackson County, MO

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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.” . . .

Multi-modal transit service along the corridor is a long-term goal. Work on the new bike trail will commence immediately after Jackson County and the ATA finalize the land purchase. While crews clear trees and foliage that have overrun corridor, the trail design will be finalized.

A $10 million federal Surface Transportation Program grant, allocated through MARC, will cover most of the costs of the trail — with an additional $2.5 million match in local funding.

MoBikeFed comment: May 2nd, 2016, Jackson County and the KCATA purchased the westernmost 17.7 miles of the Rock Island RR corridor from Union Pacific.

This will connect with 47 miles of the Rock Island Trail State Park, where construction is underway, to be completed by the end of 2016. The two sections together will connect the Kansas City region to the 240-mile Katy Trail at Windsor.

Additionally, Missouri State Parks has announced plans to acquire 144 miles of the Rock Island corridor that will connect to the Katy Trail at Windsor and (with addition of a connecting trail) to the Katy Trail at Washington. This creates a 500-mile cross-state trail loop system connecting the Kansas City area with the St Louis metro area and many Missouri communities in between.

Trail construction for the Jackson County portion of the Rock Island Trail will start immediately--most likely taking some years to complete.

More information about the Rock Island Trail--which will eventually combine with the Katy Trail to create a 500-mile cross-state trail loop system, here: