Kansas City — Streetcar Analysis Nearly Complete
Rail Transit Online, August 2011
An alternatives analysis for a downtown fixed guideway rapid transit system is making progress, funded by part of last year's $1.8-million federal grant that's also being used on the commuter rail studies.
An open house was held on Aug. 23 to discuss two proposed route options — along Main Street or Grand Boulevard — and three possible modes: modern streetcars, bus rapid transit and expanded conventional bus service. Streetcars appear to be the clear favorite.
Both alignments would connect Union Station
with the River Market, a distance of about 2.5 mi. (4 km). The alternatives analysis, which is scheduled for completion by year's end, is being conducted by consultants led by HDR on behalf of The Partnership Team, consisting of the City of Kansas City, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, Mid-America Regional Council and Jackson County.
The selected locally-preferred alternative will be financed by sources other than the current dedicated transit sales tax and without degrading existing transit service. A
key requirement of the alternatives analysis is development of a realistic capital and operations financing plan; federal funding and public-private partnerships will be explored. City officials are aiming to have the line open in 2015 at a cost of between $60 million and $100 million and hope that it will stimulate support for extensions.
Several previous streetcar studies have been conducted in recent years but none were able to secure voter approval or were financially feasible.