Lawyers argue streetcar challenge could cost the city

The proposed route of the Downtown streetcar line.

Two Downtown business owners challenging the sales and property taxes for the streetcar system should have to post a $20 million bond as part of their appeal, streetcar lawyers argue.

Lawyers for the Downtown Streetcar Transportation Development District filed the action Monday in the state appeals court in Kansas City.

Sue Anne Burke and Jeffrey Rumaner are appealing a ruling by a Jackson County judge dismissing their lawsuit.

In an affidavit filed Monday, Randall Landes, executive director of the streetcar district, says the appeal is delaying sale of bonds for the project and could eliminate the city’s chance to get at least a $10 million federal grant.

The deadline for applying for the TIGER grant from the Department of Transportation is June 3, he says, and “there is no assurance that the United States government will make a subsequent round of TIGER grants available after this round.”

Failure to get the federal money would mean bonds will pay for more, meaning more will be paid by Downtown property owners and people doing business Downtown, he said.

To replace that $10 million with bonds at the expected interest rate will cost about $16.5 million, Landes said.

With that plus higher bond rates because of the delay and higher inflation costs, a long appeal could cost $20 million, he said.

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