A Streetcar Named KC?

Midwest
Friday, August 3, 2012
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An old Kansas City streetcar rolls through San Francisco. (Image courtesy Jamison Wieser via Flickr.)

An old Kansas City streetcar rolls through San Francisco. (Jamison Wieser/Flickr.)

Kansas City, recently outfitted with superfast internet courtesy of Google, is on the move. And KC taxpayers voted to keep up the momentum this week, authorizing a special taxing district to help fund a downtown streetcar.

A transportation development district would cultivate the 2-mile, $101 million route from Union Station to the River Market. The line was shortened by 300 feet after a scramble to make up for $25 million in TIGER grants that the city applied for and was not awarded. Funding for the modified plan came from the Mid-America Regional Council.

Now efforts turn to finding an operator. Kansas City will work with the Port Authority to create a Streetcar Authority—a step which has become a hang-up for similar efforts in Detroit. But Wednesday’s vote is a clear signal of public and political support for expanded public transit in the city.

KC is also lining up funding for a second phase of streetcar lines, totaling 22 miles of track crisscrossing the city.

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