FTA Recommends $174M for KC Streetcar Extension

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) have officially recommended that the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension to UMKC receive the full federal funding requested to build the project under the FTA’s New Starts Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program.

Earlier this week, the DOT notified the Congressional authorizing and appropriating committees of its intention to execute a full funding agreement with the City of Kansas City. This will provide the full $174,059,270 in Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program funds for the design and construction of the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension Project. This notification to Congress is a significant milestone in a multi-year long process and signifies the start of the legally required 30-day public review period before the grant package can be signed and executed. It is anticipated that the acceptance and signing of the Full Funding Grant Agreement will take place in early January 2021.

“The extension of the streetcar represents the next step in our vision to make transportation free and available to all, and will provide good jobs to Kansas Citians as it is being built,” said Mayor Quinton Lucas. “Today’s federal funding approval marks another big step toward beginning work on this extension. I’ve met with FTA leaders in both Washington and Kansas City to advocate for our community’s transportation and infrastructure priorities, and I appreciate their continued commitment to these efforts. I thank Senator Blunt and our bi-state, bicameral Congressional delegation for their advocacy for this approval and other important transportation priorities to increase mobility for Kansas Citians,” Lucas continued.

“Our project and our City have demonstrated we are among the most deserving in the Country and today’s amazing news underscores Federal Transit Administration’s concurrence of this fact,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the KC Streetcar Authority. “Today’s announcement represents the largest transit grant in our region’s history and one that will have lasting impact for decades to come,” continued Gerend.

“This financial investment by the federal government reflects the credibility of the entire RideKC regional network. The KC Streetcar Main Street Extension will be a catalyst to bringing equity in transit and spurring development, especially in a post-pandemic environment,” said Robbie Makinen, KCATA president and CEO.

The CIG program funds transit capital investments including heavy rail, commuter rail, light rail, streetcars and bus rapid transit systems. The KC Streetcar Main Street Extension is estimated to cost $351 million. The $174 million in federal funding represents half of the amount of funding needed to build the project. The other half comes from a new local funding source approved by voters in 2018 with the establishment of the Main Street Rail Transportation Development District (TDD).

The project’s recent progress is the result of years of work from the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension project partnership, which includes the KC Streetcar Authority, the City of Kansas City, MO, and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority. Work completed to date includes project development, identification of track and station stop locations, coordination of utility relocation, including water and sewer lines, solicitation of proposals for streetcar vehicle procurement, construction general management, and public outreach.

Current schedules estimate KC Streetcar construction beginning in late 2021 or early 2022, and the opening of the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension system in 2025. Project information including proposed streetcar stop locations, track alignment, and renderings of streetcars traveling through midtown, may be found on the KC Streetcar website, www.kcstreetcar.org/mainstreet-extension.