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On June 29, 2017, the KC Streetcar Authority received approval from City Council to purchase two additional streetcar vehicles for the existing downtown route. Earlier Thursday, the City’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unanimously approved the purchase and acquisition plan for the additional streetcar vehicles.
The total purchase plan is $11.9 million, with streetcar costs at approximately $4.9 million apiece, in addition to costs for spare parts and inspection support. The purchase will use existing downtown Transportation Development District, or TDD, funds, resulting from higher than anticipated sales tax growth within the district and stabilized operations expenses. The KC Streetcar Authority Board and the TDD Board of Directors unanimously approved the acquisition and purchasing plan in prior actions. The City Council action is required in order to complete the required local approvals. The estimated time frame to build two streetcars is twenty-four months.
“Our streetcar system is the envy of cities around the country with many other systems visiting Kansas City to learn best practices. Future growth in downtown housing and development of new activity centers are anticipated to significantly grow ridership demand in coming years. This investment will allow us to meet the current demand as well as improve service for our riders,” said Third District Councilman Jermaine Reed, Chairman of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Currently, the KC Streetcar system is comprised of four streetcar vehicles, with a three-streetcar operation running seven days a week. Since opening day, nearly 2,400,000 streetcar rides have been completed with daily average ridership at 5,700. This exceeds initial ridership forecasts of 2,700.
“It is a good problem to have, our streetcars are running at or near capacity on a regular basis and we need additional capacity to ensure reliable operations and improved service in the years to come,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the KC Streetcar Authority.