Streetcar update: Judge denies city's request for bond from opponents

City wanted $20 million to cover any delays

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A judge has denied the city's request that two streetcar opponents be required to post a $20 million bond that would have paid for any delays in the project caused by the suit.

The decision, issued Friday afternoon by Missouri Court of Appeals Judge Alok Ahuja, denied a city motion that asked downtown business owners Jeff Rumaner (aka STRETCH) of Grinder's and Sue Burke of KC Air Filter to come up with the huge sum. The judge did grant a city request requiring both sides to speedily file legal briefs and responses in the case.

STRETCH and Burke sued the city, contending its method of passing a tax to fund the proposed streetcar violated the state constitution. Fewer than 600 downtown residents voted by mail in a December election.

The business owners appealed the initial dismissal of their lawsuit to the state Appeals Court. While that case works its way through the system, the city unsuccessfully asked a judge to impose the $20 million bond. That's because, they say, pending legal issues could hurt the city's eligibility for an upcoming federal grant.

Groundbreaking for the streetcar system, which was to have occurred by the end of March, has already been delayed at least until this summer.

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