(TriceEdneyWire.com)—“Our country is in dire jeopardy as long as it has within its body politic a socially and economically deprived group of citizens, whether they be actually enslaved or denied the full benefits of equality and freedom by an insidious economic and psychological slavery.”—Whitney M. Young
Earlier this month, the voters of Kansas City, Mo., handily approved three ballot questions that will allow the city to borrow and invest $800 million over 20 years to improve roads, bridges, sidewalks and flood control, and to build a new animal shelter. They also approved the One City Initiative, a one-eighth-cent sales tax to fund economic development in the city’s struggling central core.
Not only did large majorities vote in favor of the measures, but voter turnout was nearly double that of last year’s mayoral election.
One of the most tireless—and effective—advocates for the One City Initiative has been President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City Gwendolyn Grant. In a widely-circulated guest editorial in the Kansas City Star, she argued:
“An increase of one-eighth of one cent is not too much to pay to create jobs, reduce crime and spawn economic development on Kansas City’s East Side. An increase of one-eighth of one cent is not too much to manifest our commitment to creating healthy communities in the central city.”
The lesson is clear: Americans want a comprehensive plan to fund urban infrastructure improvements, and they are willing to invest in their nation’s future.