Welcome to “Kensas City”: Barbie-Themed Streetcar Wrap Costs Taxpayers $25,000
Are the Underpants Gnomes running the Kansas City Streetcar Authority (KCSA)? Hot on the wheels—pardon, hot on the heels—of the news that Kansas City’s riverfront streetcar extension will be going way, way over budget, we now find out that the KCSA has a very nuanced approach to making the streetcar make anything resembling sense. My best guess at the latest gnomish rationale is as follows:
Phase 1: Build the Kansas City Streetcar and make it free to ride.
Kansas City, Missouri, unveiled a Barbie-themed streetcar, dubbed the “Dream Streetcar” earlier this month. The streetcar is decked out in familiar bubblegum-pink wrapping and even rewrites the city’s name as “Kensas City.” A lucky passenger can even choose a seat decked out to resemble characters from the recent Barbie film, like “Stereotypical Barbie, President Barbie, Cowboy Ken, and even Allan.”
Oh, and the whole thing cost taxpayers $25,000.
According to records obtained by KCUR, Kansas City’s NPR affiliate, the hefty public spending is due to the fact that the Dream Streetcar is not actually a sponsored ad for the blockbuster Barbie movie that premiered in July. Instead, it’s a project by the Kansas City Streetcar Authority (KCSA) to increase ridership, even though the streetcar is free to ride.
Phase 3: . . . Profit?
I’m of course kidding about “profit” even being a consideration here—this is government after all—but it is off-putting to see precious taxpayer resources being spent so frivolously. Ridership numbers on the streetcar have no bearing on anything except maybe the egos of city officials. Hit the link, too, for quotes from yours truly and Show-Me Institute alumnus Patrick Tuohey, now at the Better Cities Project.