Mayor Sly James said today the city will keep trying to find a way to extend the downtown streetcar line.
“The downtown starter line is a success and it remains our intention to ensure that the starter line is just that – a start,” he said in a press release.
James has said he and other officials were surprised Tuesday when voters south of the river voted down creating a transportation district.
“Last night voters told us that they want to see a balance between taking care of the basics and being ambitious,” he said. “I still strongly believe in rail as a conduit for economic development, but I understand where voters are coming from.”
Supporters of the eight-mile extension had hoped to get local approval of a 1-cent sales tax and special tax assessments in a separate election in November.
That will not happen now because voters Tuesday did not approve creating the district.
The plan for the $515 million extension and a MAX bus line on Prospect would have required about $250 million in federal funding. James contended the city had the best chance to get that under the Obama administration after the city had its funding approved.
But opponents said the higher sales tax would be a burden for the poor and questioned whether streetcars would lead to economic development in distressed areas.
The plan had been to extend the streetcars from Union Station to UMKC, and east on Linwood and Independence Avenue for short distances.
The city has already approved spending millions for engineering and environmental studies related to the extension.