"It's a hard sell" Council responds to Metro funding request

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Topeka city council heard a funding request from the Metro Transit Authority Tuesday night.

"We are asking for an investment in Topeka Metro,” General Manager Susan Duffy explained.

Duffy says the Metro needs a $1.2 million increase in property tax levy to support current and future costs.

She says keeping up with bus maintenance and operation could have them millions of dollars in the hole by 2020. Some council members say it's a lot to ask with voters recently extending a half cent sales tax.

Mayor Michelle De La Isla says it's a hard sell but gives hundreds of Topekans a way to get around.

"Our unemployment rate is at three percent and we need to find out a way to contribute and collaborate with them so that we can allow individuals that need to get to work the opportunity to do so,” De La Isla said.

Topeka City Council members also unanimously gave the go-ahead for construction on a new convenience store and gas station in the Gage Shopping Center.

"The developer is going to tear down half of a free standing building and there is a hair salon that will remain,” said City Planning Director Bill Fiander. “The other half of the building will be torn down and renovated for the convenience store."

The old building at 1301 SW Gage dates back to the mid to late 1950s, before the shopping center.

"This will be the next reincarnation of that space,” Fiander said.