Rock Island Rail Corridor Authority and Shared Use Trail: Jackson County, MO

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Rock Island Rail Corridor Authority and Shared Use Trail: Jackson County, MO

Post by Jeff Smith » Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:23 pm

Whoops: https://www.kshb.com/news/local-news/fe ... d-corridor

I'm going to start this in the fallen flag, cross-post to Union Pacific, and park it in Rail Trails.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — All work on the Rock Island Corridor has come to a halt after a federal agency said Jackson County is at fault for how the hiking and biking trail was built, revoking the county's ability to do any more work.

When the county was allowed to purchase the rail corridor, the county said they were going to leave the rail in place and put the trail beside it. But that's not what they did - they tore out the rail and put the trail down the middle.

Due to that, the Federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) revoked the county's exemption on Wednesday to continue anymore work on the Rock Island Corridor.
...
"When the railroad initially acquired this property, they acquired an easement meaning if they stopped using it for train traffic, that land should have been reverted back to these adjacent landowners," Stewart said.

Those landowners took their concerns to the STB, who found the county is at fault for tearing up the rail, leading to their decision to revoke the county's exemption.
...
"This morning, the county was made aware of the decision by the Surface Transportation Board (STB), which revoked the county’s 2016 exemption to acquire and operate a rail line. Currently, staff are reviewing the decision with our subject matter experts, partners and others to determine how best to proceed. Attached you will find a document referenced in the STB decision that the county included in its response regarding trail alignment. At the time of the STB’s filing, the county was in the process of seeking the authority to abandon the line, which is the first step in “railbanking” the corridor. The county will suspend the abandonment process until we determine how best to proceed. Additionally, while we determine how best to proceed, the county has asked contractors to stop construction on the rail bed and stop removal of any track on the rail corridor. The county will have no further comment today."
Next stop, Willoughby
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Jeff Smith
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Re: Rock Island Rail Corridor Authority Shared Use Trail: Jackson County, MO

Post by Jeff Smith » Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:24 pm

Background:

https://www.jacksongov.org/776/Rock-Isl ... -Authority

Rock Island Rail Corridor Authority
(RIRCA) Background Information
The Rock Island Rail Corridor Authority (RIRCA) was established to manage and maintain the Rock Island Corridor, which Jackson County acquired in the spring of 2016.

The RIRCA works on a variety of topics related to the Rock Island Corridor, including, but not limited to, the following:

Corridor engineering and design
Legal and regulatory issues related to corridor real estate and property development
Corridor maintenance
Corridor safety
Communications
Branding regarding the corridor
Procuring federal funding
Administrative support
The 17.7-mile corridor stretches from Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums south through Raytown and into Lee's Summit. Transforming a portion of the Rock Island Corridor into a shared use path will commence immediately. 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.
Next stop, Willoughby
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Jeff Smith
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Re: Rock Island Rail Corridor and Trail: Jackson County, MO

Post by Jeff Smith » Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:25 pm

https://www.jacksongov.org/Faq.aspx?QID=275

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.
Next stop, Willoughby
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Jeff Smith
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Re: Rock Island Rail Corridor and Trail: Jackson County, MO

Post by Jeff Smith » Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:25 pm

https://www.jacksongov.org/Faq.aspx?QID=282

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.
Next stop, Willoughby
~Jeff Smith (fka "Sarge") :: RAILROAD.NET Site Administrator/Co-Owner

Jeff Smith
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Re: Rock Island Rail Corridor Authority and Shared Use Trail: Jackson County, MO

Post by Jeff Smith » Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:29 pm

https://www.kansascity.com/news/local/a ... 57540.html

https://www.kansascity.com/news/local/a ... 22805.html
...
For more than a year, a handful of landowners have argued in both federal and circuit court that Jackson County railroaded them when, in 2016, it took possession of the 17.7-mile stretch of the long-defunct Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad corridor to build a “multi-use” trail. Adjacent landowners maintain that they should have been paid for those portions of their land that the railroad had once used.
...
Jackson County, meantime, has argued that no constitutional rights have been violated. In 2016, the county established its own railroad, called the Rock Island Rail Corridor Authority. When it paid the rail’s then-owner, Union Pacific Railroad, $52 million for a quitclaim deed to the corridor, the property and it rights of way were transferred from one railroad company to another. It says it owed the purported property owners nothing.

But on Tuesday, a federal railroad regulatory agency known as the Surface Transportation Board took the county to task.

The agency noted that when the board, in 2016, agreed to the transfer of the corridor from Union Pacific to Jackson County’s newly formed rail authority, it was under the belief that Jackson County could fulfill what are known as “common carrier obligations.”

In other words, Jackson County was free to build a bike or jogging path alongside the rail line, but if a customer suddenly decided that it wanted to haul freight along the corridor, the county would be obligated to supply a rail line to do so.
...
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jamesfrank
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Re: Rock Island Rail Corridor Authority and Shared Use Trail: Jackson County, MO

Post by jamesfrank » Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:36 am

State of Missouri Constitutional Limits to Municipsl Authority https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.mocities.com/ ... hority.pdf barred Jackson County, Missouri from issuing $52 Million 2016 Series Special Obligation Municipal Bonds regulated by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to purchase 17.7 Mile Right of Way from Union Pacific Railroad. The County’s prior Cooperative Agreement ( 1/5/2016) with Kansas City Area Transportation Authority ( KCATA) established that the right of purchase was for partial benefit of KCATA. Article 6,§23 state of Missouri Constitutional Limits to Municipal Authority bars the County from using its position as a qualifier issuer of public debt to benefit another individual or entity.

It now appears that municipal bond underwriter Jack Holland, formerly of Ameritas Investment Partners, bomd counsel Chuck Katz, formerly of Polsinelli, Jackson County counsel Kutak Rock, former Jackson County Counselor W Stephen Nixon, Jackson County Executive Frank White and 2015-18 County Legislature as well as Union Pacific Railroad Chief Executive and Board of Directors could and should have acted to establish the illegality of the Rock Island Rail Corridor sale/acquisition. It also appears that Cooperative Agreement and Rock Island Maintenance and Management Program Agreement are voidable.

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