A grassroots group today revealed plans to try to expand the streetcar line down Main Street, a move it says would enhance the downtown starter line and create a backbone for a complete streetcar system.
A group of Kansas City residents organized by the Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance (KCRTA) submitted a petition to the Jackson County courts, the first step in an effort to create a new Transportation Development District (TDD) to support streetcar expansion.
The court filing included a map of the proposed district boundaries. Doug Stone, an attorney at Lewis Rice who represents the group, says the TDD would be supported by a 1 percent sales tax in the entire district (shown within the gray boundary lines) and a special assessment on property within 1/3 mile of the route (shown in yellow).
The group chose Main Street for a variety of reasons, Stone said.
“First, the NextRail study showed it was the highest scoring expansion route. Secondly, it is the next logical step in creating a spine for a complete system. And third, historically, the Main Street has supported transit in elections.”
Kansas City voters rejected a plan to expand the downtown streetcar starter line in 2014. That proposal included extending the line down Main Street and east on Independence and Linwood. While the proposal failed overall, voters along the Main Street corridor were supportive.
“The August 2014 expansion election results showed strong support in the corridor supporting a realistic hope that this new effort will be approved,” Matt Kauffman, chairman of the KCRTA said in a news release. “The higher than projected use of the downtown starter line – even on weekdays – is evidence that fixed rail transit has its place as part of an overall public transit system, and extension along Main Street, through Midtown to UMKC, is the next logical step.”
Stone said if the court finds the proposal meets the requirements of state law, the group would need voter approval in two elections to create the district and allow the funding mechanism. He estimates the process could take more than a year.