$20 million KC streetcar grant largest in nation

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Major James in Kansas City today.

The $20 million federal grant for the downtown streetcar system was the largest awarded for a single project, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.

He formally announced the grant today at Union Station and noted how competitive the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants were.

The department got 575 requests for $9 billion in projects, he said. When dust settled, $472 million went to 52 projects in 37 states.

“You have a fast growing dynamic city full of opportunity,” Foxx said.

“What we’ve found is when you put these assets in place, people come, businesses come,” he said. “I know you will experience success with this project.”

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said the city continues to move forward.

“We’re on a roll,” he said. “We’re doing great things in this community.”

Mayor Sly James said the city is about to put down streetcar lines for the first time in generations.

“We’re about to do something none of us have seen done,” he said.

And remember, he said, the streetcars from the River Market area to Union Station will just be the start.

“We need to go east and west, we need to go south and we need to go north of the river,” he said.

“Life will change; parking lots will disappear because buildings will be there to take their place.”

The TIGER grant program was created in 2009 as part of an economic stimulus package.

James told Foxx of the downtown line, “We plan to get this done and up and running by 2015 and we plan to make sure you are one of the first people to come and ride with us.”

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