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Jackson County, Mo., has been allocated $10 million in federal Surface Transportation Program funds to apply toward the $59.9 million cost of buying the Rock Island Corridor, which is part of a plan to establish a commuter-rail service that would connect the area to downtown Kansas City.In addition, the county and Union Pacific Railroad have extended a memorandum of understanding that provides the county the exclusive right to purchase key transit corridors that have the potential to be used for expanded transit options in the future, Jackson County officials said in a press release.The agreement with UP to purchase the rights of way to nearly 23 miles of transit corridors running through Raytown, Lee's Summit, Kansas City and Independence has been extended until Sept. 30, 2015.
"Union Pacific has been a great partner in this endeavor," said Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders. "They recognize, as we do, that this is a unique opportunity not only for Jackson County, but the entire region for the development of regional transit and extending our trails system."The memorandum entails no financial risk to county taxpayers should Jackson County and UP be unable to reach a binding sales agreement before the new deadline, county officials said.
The Federal Highway Administration sub-allocated the funds to the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), the region's metropolitan planning organization. MARC's board voted to appropriate the funds.