Kansas City Streetcar District Fails To Win Support
On Aug. 5, voters in downtown Kansas City rejected a Transportation Development District (TDD) that would have funded a half billion dollar streetcar expansion plan (60 percent to 40 percent). The city’s streetcar plan was expensive and had little transportation merit, making this result welcome news for those who support sound transportation policy in the Kansas City area.
The Kansas City streetcar plan required the approval of a TDD to provide local funding. Because voters rejected the formation of the TDD, the project lacks local funds and, thus, cannot proceed. But this is unlikely to be the last we hear of plans to expand the streetcar. Some Kansas City officials have made it clear that they view this election as just a setback for their vision of an extended streetcar system. The mayor stated:
“It’s very possible either way, but we’re not going to just roll over and let it go…We’ve got to continue to look for options to get the job done.”
That might mean a newly drawn TDD or some other tax increase that will provide enough local funding to apply for federal grants.
However, for the time being, the election has halted any streetcar expansion plans. Let’s hope the ultimate result of the election is a renewed focus on efficient transportation policy for all of Kansas City.