Kansas City — Streetcar Plan Passes with Low Turnout
The referendum on the proposed taxing district to fund the streetcar was passed by a vote of 319 to 141 by downtown residents according to the Kansas City Star. The paper also reported that the city has closed the $25 million shortfall in federal funding for the project. They now expect to finid the full $100 million for the two-mile line connecting River Market and Crown Center.
The referendum means that 75 percent of the cost of the line can be paid by local funding. The referendum allows increase in the sales tax within the district up up to 1 percent. The maximum commercial property tax rate in the district would be 48 cents per $100 of assessed value. Residential property owners would pay 70 cents per $100 of assessed value.
The city had hoped to win $25 million in Federal TIGER funds this year but was unsuccessful. However, $18 million could come from $18 million in regional federal transportation funds, as the streetcar project had been ranked as the top project in the region. The remaining $7 million to fill the gap has come from $7 million in cost reduction from eliinating a streetcar stop and shortening the route slightly.
The city is planning to issue bonds for much of the construction money and needs to find $10.4 million annually to cover operating costs and debt service. Plans call for $3.9 million to come from the sales tax increase. Residential property tax revenue would amount to $833,000 and commercial real estate proceeds would be $2.4 million. The city would contribute $2 million annually. Non profits payments in lieu of taxes would add $400,000 and adveritsing and fare revenues would also help.