Russ Johnson was elected to serve the residents of Kansas City’s Second District in March 2007. He served as the Chairman of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, as a member of the Finance & Audit Committee, and currently serves on the Public Safety & Neighborhoods Committee.
Russ was committed to fiscal discipline, improving infrastructure, and ensuring the City efficiently provided basic services and good customer service to its citizens.
Russ has worked on transportation issues for many years, pursuing innovative financing mechanisms to move local and regional projects forward. While chairing the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Russ completed the capital budgeting process earlier than ever before, allowing the City to take advantage of spring weather and begin resurfacing and other critical projects without delay. He also guided the City towards receiving more than $40 million in federal economic recovery transportation infrastructure funds. These awards include the $25 million TIGER grant, which was the 8th largest grant in the country. These funds were awarded as a result of a regional grant application process spearheaded by his committee.
As a member of the Finance & Audit Committee, Russ successfully pushed for improvements to the City’s reserve fund, and also succeeded in instilling fiscal discipline into the City’s financial planning process.
Russ also aggressively pursued transportation improvements within the 2nd district. He led an effort with City staff, the Missouri Department of Transportation, and private property owners to find a solution to increasing congestion on NW 64th Street at I-29. This effort secured transportation development funds to dramatically alter the configuration of that interchange, and commercial property owners have agreed to participate in the plan for a private transportation district, which will provide key funding for the project. This solution is a model of the types of private-public partnerships that Russ emphasizes, in which private entities and government come together to solve problems in a cooperative way.
Russ brought a strong history of public service and citizen involvement to his role on the Council. A supporter of trails in the metro region, he co-founded the KCMO/Platte County Trails Committee and co-chaired the Steering Committee for the Line Creek Valley Development Plan, which won the Plan of the Year Award from the Missouri American Planning Association in 2008. As Councilman, he continued to promote regional trail resources to promote recreational opportunities in the metro and oversaw the establishment of Kansas City’s Trails Plan as Chair of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.
Prior to his election, he served on the Public Improvement Advisory Committee (PIAC), which is charged with soliciting public input and making recommendations to the Council regarding its capital budget. In 2007, as Councilman, Russ co-chaired with Councilwoman Circo the City’s efforts to renew the capital improvements sales tax. Voters overwhelmingly approved a 10-year extension to the 1-cent tax, showing support for the capital planning efforts and the PIAC process.
Locally, he has been a member of the Downtown Council and the Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce, and has served on the Board of Directors for the Citizens Association and the Downtowners.
Russ is a member of St. Therese Catholic Church, and lives with his family in Platte County.