Mayor Sly James with KCATA's Cindy Baker at the 2016 MPTA Conference in Kansas City.

MPTA honors KC Mayor Sly James & OATS at Transit Midwest Conference

mayor james
Kansas City Mayor Sly James receives the MPTA 2016 Friend of Transit award from MPTA President Cindy Baker

The Transit Midwest Conference served as the backdrop to honor two transit champions in Missouri in 2016.  As a part of the events, MPTA honored one individual and organization leading efforts for transit in Missouri over the last year.

OATS Executive Director Dorothy Yeager accepts the 2016 MPTA Transit Champion Award

OATS, Inc. and its president Dorothy Yeager received the MPTA Transit Champion Award at the MPTA 35th Annual Meeting.   OATS is not only a leader in Missouri but their work is being recognized on the national level.  They were recognized as the National Rural Transit Provider System of the year at the 2016 Community Transit Association of America (CTAA) conference.

According to Ed RedFern, Executive Director of The Bus Coalition, “OATS under the leadership of Dorothy Yeager was instrumental in getting the Congressional members from Missouri involved in our work to get the bus and transit funds increased.  Without that type of help by the members like Dorothy I truly don’t believe we would have had the grant program returned or the increase in bus funding this year.”

The 2016 MPTA Friend of Transit Award was presented to Kansas City Mayor Sly James for his dedication and hard work which lead to the opening of the Streetcar in Kansas City on May 6 at the FTA Luncheon as a part of the Transit Midwest Conference.

MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna at MPTA’s 35th Annual Meeting

“Mayor James refused to be railroaded into putting the brakes on this project. When others backed down from supporting the project, he kept on pushing forward to ensure a successful opening day.  Since its opening, ridership has exceeded all goals with standing room only many days. Thank you Mayor James for your leadership and commitment to keeping the project on track.   One of the national lessons for transit is there must be a local champion leading the charge to bring all sides together.  You were definitely Kansas City’s local champion,” said Cindy Baker, President of MPTA.

MPTA also had the honor of welcoming MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna to its 35th Annual meeting.  Director McKenna talked about the total transportation efforts on the part of MoDOT and future strategies for moving forward. He discussed opportunities to look at a multi-source funding package for total transportation in MO.