Vote on Tuesday will decide fate of streetcar expansion

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A vote on Tuesday will decide the fate of a streetcar expansion plan.

A yes vote would create a transportation development district for future expansion of streetcar routes along Main Street, Independence Avenue and Linwood Boulevard. It would also include a new express bus line on Prospect Avenue.

City leaders said the streetcar will bring much needed economic development.

The cost of the project is estimated at $500 million. The city said the transportation district would allow them to apply for federal funds to help pay for the project.

Opponents said the cost estimate doesn’t include things like fixing sidewalks or new street lights.

“They’re fudging the numbers to get there, or they’re completely eliminating the additional cost that’s going to be incurred to sell it to us in the first place,” Sherry Dejanes of Smart KC said.

The vote will not raise taxes. Tuesday’s vote, if approved, means a second election in November will decide a sales tax increase.

Opponents don’t think a streetcar is the answer, and believe a tax increase will be too much of a burden on some of the city’s most disadvantaged. 

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