Steve Klika, Johnson County Commissioner and now chairman of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority’s (KCATA) Board of Commissioners, and Robbie Makinen, outgoing KCATA board chairman and the KCATA’s newly appointed president/CEO, said the agency’s drive toward building a unified regional transit system will be as energized as ever.
Klika and Makinen will take in new leadership roles after Joe Reardon announced last week he was stepping aside as the KCATA’s president/CEO to lead the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.
“We will not lose a step. We are focused on the future and are aiming high. We will continue to build on our accomplishments of the last year as we strive to become an agency that truly serves the entire Kansas City region. We have made transit and paratransit more accessible, more unified and easier for the community to understand,” Makinen said. “Already, we have regional bus fares. A single regional transit brand. A single regional transit website. And new development opportunities. This is just a taste of what we hope is ahead.”
Klika, who’s been on the KCATA Board since 2011, has been a transit advocate for many years. He served as administrator of the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority from 1981 to 1993. He later was appointed to Johnson County Transit’s Board of Directors in 2005.
Klika was pivotal in bringing Johnson County’s transit system under the management authority of the KCATA. Johnson County’s decision to give the KCATA management oversight of the suburban transit system was a significant breakthrough in the push toward a regional public transportation network covering the entire area.
Makinen has served on the KCATA Board of Commissioners since 2007 and has been its chairman since 2011. Makinen has played an instrumental role in the KCATA’s emphasis on regional transit. He helped create the Regional Transit Coordinating Council, which maps out transit strategy for the region.
As Makinen becomes the KCATA’s CEO, Klika will succeed him as chairman on the agency’s board of commissioners. Klika has been on the KCATA Board since 2011, and was appointed to the Johnson County Transportation Council in 2005.