Kansas City — Washington Encouragement
According to the Kansas City Star, Mayor Sly James of Kansas City visited Washington and found “encouragement” about the possibility of obtaining $25 million in Federal funding for the proposed $100 million streetcar starter project. After meeting with US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and key staff members, the mayor briefed the Downtown Council board to win their support in finding the needed $75 million local component of funding.
The streetcar proposal calls for a 2-mile route connecting Crown Center with the River Market. The line potentially could be running by 2015. A special assessment district would be set up to include the areas served by the line would raise property taxes on businesses by 52 cents and on residences by 70 cents per $100 of assessed value. Sales taxes would also be raised by 1 percent and additional annual taxes of $182.50 would be levied on surface commercial parking lots.
The city would back the $83 million bond issue needed to fund the project’s construction. The
Downtown Council lent their support to continuation of a feasibility study for the streetcar project.
The mayor hopes to secure funding before Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood leaves office, given his strong support of streetcar systems.
Future extensions to the system could take it to the University of Missouri existing campus and its planned downtown campus for music and dance.
The Kansas City Council authorized two steps critical to advancement of the project. They approved a $700,000 contract with HDR for design and conceptual work. They also voted to support a referendum among 10,000 downtown voters to create the special taxing district downtown.