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Price tag for KC Streetcar’s Riverfront Extension climbs $5.5 million

Riverfront Streetcar Extension
Posted at 10:46 AM, Oct 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 11:46:14-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The price tag for the Kansas City Streetcar’s extension to Berkley Riverfront Park has increased roughly $5.5 million.

The Port Authority of Kansas City’s Development Authority recommended increasing its share for the project by nearly $3.5 million Monday at a committee meeting.

Port KC, which owns and operates Berkley Riverfront Park, initially was slated to provide $5 million for the project, which was expected to cost $20.2 million.

Cost increases have pushed the cost of the project to nearly $25.7 million, requiring Port KC to bump its contribution to roughly $8.5 million.

KC Streetcar Berkley Riverfront Extension map
A map of the proposed KC Streetcar Berkley Riverfront Extension.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, which oversees public transportation in the bi-state region, and the Kansas City Streetcar Authority, which manages and operates the streetcar, are expected to increase their contributions from $500,000 each to $1.5 million each.

The rest of the project will be paid for with money received from a federal BUILD Grant.

The Federal Transit Administration announced a $14.2-million award for the Berkley Riverfront Park extension in September 2020.

That is in addition to the $50.8 grant awarded in August 2020 for the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension Project, which will extend service from Union Station south to the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The KC Streetcar currently runs from the River Market south to Union Station. The federal government also awarded $174 million for the 3.5-mile extension through the Country Club Plaza and on to UMKC in January 2021.

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Port KC’s Board of Commissioners authorized the initial matching funds in March 2021.

If the revised Streetcar Riverfront Extension Agreement is approved by the Board of Commissioners, who meet Oct. 25, Port KC would provide $500,000 up front and finance the remaining $8 million.

A final agreement for the Berkley Riverfront Park extension is expected to be finalized next year with the design completed in early 2023 and construction completed by the middle of 2025.

Year-over-year monthly streetcar ridership rose steadily from 2016 through February 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the Kansas City region.

Data for April to August 2021 showed a strong bounceback, but ridership remains roughly half of its pre-pandemic totals.