Daily Archives: Aug. 24, 2010

Study suggests more routes for Wichita bus system

CityBusThe city should ditch its bare-bones bus routes and switch to a grid system that cuts down on transfers and is easier to use, according to a new study by University of Kansas graduate students.

That could boost ridership, save residents some money and reduce pollution and traffic.

It would also give the city a robust system that could handle a influx of riders if gas prices jump, as many people predict.

But it wouldn’t be cheap.

Preliminary estimates show grid routes that would run up and down major streets would cost more than $23 million a year to operate.

If the city bought more buses to run the routes more frequently and expanded hours of service, the price tag would hit about $56 million each year.

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Wichita officials hope to build new steel arch bridge on South Broadway

Underside of the decaying Broadway bridge near 34th Street South, shot when it was closed temporarily in 2007

Underside of the decaying Broadway bridge near 34th Street South, shot when it was closed temporarily in 2007

The crumbling South Broadway bridge that arches over railroad tracks near 34th Street may be torn down.

City officials said Tuesday they hope to get state approval for a new steel arch bridge that would carry traffic over the tracks slightly west of the existing bridge.

It would cost an estimated $8.3 million and take more than a year to build.

It’s just one of several options the city’s consultants, MKEC Engineering Consultants Inc., looked into.

The arch concept would require Broadway to close for about two months — the shortest of all the options.

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Earhart may finally land in U.S. Capitol

earhart2After 11 years, it looks like Kansas native Amelia Earhart may take her place in the U.S. Capitol.

Back in 1999 the state Legislature decided to replace its existing statues in the Statuary with Amelia Earhart and Dwight Eisenhower. Eisenhower took his place in 2003, but for some reason, the statue of Earhart was never commissioned.

The Statuary Hall collection includes two statues from each state. The Sunflower State’s current representatives are Eisenhower and John J. Ingalls, former U.S. snator, early Kansas statesman and freestater.

But a group advocating gender equality — Equal Visibility Everywhere — didn’t forget about the pioneering aviator from Atchison. EVE lobbied Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson, who signed a request this month that was delivered to the U.S. Capitol Architect.

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Sen. Roberts endorses Pompeo, Goyle disputes claim he’d kowtow to Pelosi

Sen. Pat Roberts, right, chats with former Wichita Mayor Bob Knight and his wife, Jane Knight, at the event where Roberts endorsed Mike Pompeo.

Sen. Pat Roberts, right, chats with former Wichita Mayor Bob Knight and his wife, Jane Knight, at the event where Roberts endorsed Mike Pompeo.

In endorsing 4th District Republican congressional candidate Mike Pompeo today, Sen. Pat Roberts joined Pompeo in trying to portray Democratic opponent Raj Goyle as a fake fiscal conservative whose real allegiance would be to “the Obama-Pelosi agenda.”

Roberts said Goyle’s “entire background comes from a very liberal background” and said he knows many congressional Democrats who give conservative-sounding speeches at home and vote the other way in Washington.

“We cannot afford to send anybody, no matter what they say in this campaign, to Washington, when the first vote they will cast will be for (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi,” Roberts said. “And don’t think it’s not going to happen. She’s put the pants on just about everybody back there.”

As the audience chuckled, Roberts added, “That’s a figurative way of putting it. Not literally.”

Pompeo

Pompeo

Pompeo expanded on the theme when he took the podium, also forecasting that Goyle would support the president and the House speaker, a California Democrat.

“They (Kansas voters) know their value set and they’ll be able to differentiate among a couple of candidates who have very different views, in spite of the way one of the candidates will speak,” Pompeo said. “He’ll talk about being a fiscal conservative, he’ll talk about the moderate majority, and then we know what he’ll do when he goes to Washington, D.C. He won’t represent Kansas, he’ll vote every time with the Pelosi-Obama agenda.”

Goyle, a state representative from Wichita, responded “I’m not really focused on an election in the (Washington) Beltway, I’m focused on voters here.”

But he said his voting record in the Statehouse has shown his independence from party-line politics and ability to represent a Republican-majority district.

“I do what’s right for my district, not what’s right for my party,” he said. “I’ll stand up to Nancy Pelosi every time it’s bad for Kansas.”

Goyle

Goyle

Goyle added that if Pomepo is elected, he’d likely be voting for House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, as speaker, who “wants to raise the retirement age for Social Security to 70.”

Roberts said he also wants Pompeo in Congress because his background in aviation manufacturing would be a plus in protecting Wichita’s aircraft industry.

Roberts said Pompeo would particularly be of help in fighting off proposed user fees on general aviation. General aviation planes are the backbone of Wichita’s aircraft-dominated economy.

“We need to reauthorize the FAA, we need to modernize the entire system, but we don’t need to put a user fee in regard to the general aviation industry who’s going through such a difficult time,” Roberts said. “This man (Pompeo) knows that forwards and backwards. So he’s going to hit the ground running helping me and helping the rest of the Kansas delegation stand firm in behalf of the general aviation industry in Kansas.”

Goyle said he also is well aware of the issue, a battle between airlines and private plane owners over how to pay the cost of the aviation system that has gone on for several years.

“I strongly support the general aviation position on that issue,” Goyle said.