Divided council moves forward with streetcar project

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Kansas City City Council has approved to move forward with the new streetcar project. 

The decision comes after council and Mayor Sly James battled for more than two hours on whether to start the bidding process over, arguing the type of bid focused not on the lowest price, but which company had the most expertise with a mass transit project.

City staff warned starting over would delay the project at least three months, while Mayor James warned delays could jeopardize the TIGER grant.

"A delay could cost us tons and could cost us $20 million," James said.

Other council members said they wanted to take the time to do it right, with the more common bidding process.

"I am not swayed by scare tactics," Sixth District Councilman John Sharp said.

"There's no reason for us to rush," Third District Councilman Jermaine Reed said.

However, the naysayers got out-voted eight to five.

Now, the only step left is to agree on a final maximum price of construction, which is expected to be $60 million. The entire project is estimated to cost around $100 million.

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