Should the economic development portion of the half-cent sales tax be used to off-set the cost of the Metropolitan Planning Organization?
Yes. Manhattan is responsible for paying 60% of the cost of the Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). This responsibility creates a need for a reliable income stream, other than the general fund, to fund MPO mandatory transportation planning operations. I believe that MPO functions can be directly tied to core economic development requirements. Also, by using sales tax funds rather than resources from the general fund, we can help minimize current pressures to raise property tax.
Should the city help fund a fixed-route bus system in Manhattan?
No. Manhattan should continue to support the on-demand system to support those in need for essential transportation, but not invest taxpayer funds in a non-essential fixed-route service. I do support granting ATA the right-of-way and permission to mark bus stops at their own expense.
Should the city increase, decrease or maintain the efforts to facilitate bicyclists’ use of city streets as a mode of transportation?
Bicycling is a viable means of transportation and needs to be supported during planning and execution of our transportation plan. Based on our lack of bicycle friendly roads, I’d support increasing our efforts, but we must ensure that we balance the cost of improvements with our sources of income.
Should the city devote more funding to develop walking and bicycle paths around the city?
Absolutely. This is a specific area where we could use the ½ cent sales tax infrastructure funds, but improvements must be made in small affordable steps, without borrowing more money.
Should the city spend $11 million (or more) on expanding the airport and airport services?
No, not at this time. The airport is a great service and an important asset for economic development. That said, the city is currently about $260 million in debt and that debt is driving up property taxes creating hardships for our citizens…especially those on fixed income. Once the city has retired at least $11 million in debt, then we can consider doing an equivalent project. Also, in addition to the terminal upgrade, we need to address the challenge of having only one main runway. If we do not add another runway, then when the current one has to be resurfaced in 5-10 years, the airport would have to be closed for several months.