Transit Policy Has to Streetcar Plan
May 26, 2016

Kansas City, Missouri’s Director of planning says there is no intent to expand the new streetcar line through a new transit policy.

” No. It is not implicitly a plan to expand the street car,” said Jeffery Williams, Planning Director.

The issue came up early in a lengthy Thursday morning meeting on the proposed “Transit Oriented Development” proposal the council is considering.

Northland Council member Heather Hall brought up her concerns about the streetcar expansion early in the meeting. She says she has concerned about a possible expansion.

” I do. I hear, as he (Williams) was discussing the plan, ‘future streetcar expansion’ is in the policy. To me, that means future streetcar expansion,” she said.

Hall remains skeptical about the no-expansion pledge.

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McCaskill Meets With KC Chamber
February 1, 2014

KC Business Journal via John Combest:
Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill talked a out jobs and infrastructure in Kansas City Friday.
McCaskill, D-Mo., said the problem is especially grave in Missouri. She said recent announcements from the Missouri Department of Transportation that it cannot fund new projects is especially concerning. U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill said the lack of infrastructure funding is a crisis that requires immediate resolution during an appearance at the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce on Friday.
How that funding gap will be bridged is unclear. McCaskill said federal infrastructure funding is drying up and there needs to be a new program to replenish the nation’s infrastructure coffers.
She said she will support new legislation that would provide incentives for U.S. businesses with money overseas to repatriate that money in the form of infrastructure bonds.
McCaskill said that program could send more than $75 billion toward federal infrastructure programs. While saying the legislation will be high on her priority list this year, she did not say how soon a bill might be introduced.
McCaskill said she supports the streetcar program and thinks that Kansas City has a good case for seeking federal funds, since the metro area has lagged behind others in terms of federal assistance for public transportation projects. But she said that both the city and the federal government should be realistic about the availability of money to fund proposed streetcar expansions.
McCaskill declined to opine on the airport, saying that it’s an issue that Kansas City needs to decide itself.

KCMO Wins Streetcar Lawsuit
March 15, 2013

A Jackson County Judge has ruled that challenges to the proposed streetcars e in downtown Kansas City were filed too late to be legal.
The ruling by Judge Peggy Stevens McGraw clears the way for more development of the estimated &100 million, two-mile line from The River Market.
The judge ruled that the challenges to the election should have been within 30 days of the certification of the election. The streetcars election victory was certified on December 12, 2012.
The challenge to the vote was not filed until January 31,2013. That is 50 days after the election certification.
Yhe judge called the challenger “untimely election contests”, and are barred by Missouri law. That ruling cover the last three of the four-count lawsuit.
The first count, challenging the legality of the sales tax for the district, was also dismissed. The ruling says that challenger also had a time problem.
The Judge ruled any challenge to that should have been filed within 30 days of the April 27, 2012 announcement of an intention to create the district. And the challenge was not filed in time.

Streetcar Opponent Blasts Plan & Process
February 13, 2013

A Kansas City businesswoman who is taking the city’s streetcar plan to court blasted City Hall Tuesday for the way it has communicated with the businesses along the proposed route.
Sue Burke told KMBC Tuesday “the whole process seemed to be sneaky and behind closed doors”.
Burke is one of two business people who have filed a lawsuit trying to block the $100-million dollar 2-mile route from the river market area of Kansas City to Union Station.
The head of the Kansas City Streetcar authority, Tom Trabon, disputed her claim. He says “The whole process has certainly been open”.
“Everybody has known about it,” he added.
Trabon pointed to another question-and-answer session that is scheduled for next week, February 21st, at Union Station.
The lawsuit challenges the streetcar proposal on two issues.
Burke said the project should have been voted on by all Kansas City voters.
Last year, the City held a set of mail-in elections to ask residents if they wanted the streetcar line. A second vote established the tax rate to pay for the project.
Less than 1,000 voters cast ballots in each of those elections. The streetcar proposal won both votes easily.
Burke thinks that process was wrong. She believes the question should have been on last year’s November ballot when many people voted for president.
“So that you can a resounding opinion on whether people really, really want this,” Burke said.
Burke’s other objection is that the special streetcar taxing district illegally “stacks” one tax district on top of another in portions of the street car district. Some of it overlaps with the special tax district established for the Power & Light entertainment district.
Burke says it is possible that with the addition of the one-cent sales tax proposed for the streets cars and other proposed taxes under consideration, she could end up charging customers 13 or 14 cents in sales tax and be at a competitive disadvantage.
Trabon says the debate over the streetcar line is far from finished. He says the final plans are not complete. He also notes other major decisions, like what sort of streetcar to use on the line, have not been settled.