Voters Say Yes to a KC Streetcar Extension on Main Street
Voters in the Main Street Rail Transportation Development District (TDD) overwhelmingly approved the local funding structure to support the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension. The final tally was roughly 75.6% yes on Question 1 (sales tax) and 74.7% yes on Question 2 (special assessments). Final results are available on the KC Election Board website, www.kceb.org.
In August 2017, these same voters approved formation of the Kansas City Main Street Rail TDD with a 70 percent yes vote and in October 2017, entire slate of TDD Board of Directors endorsed by Mayor Sly James was elected to oversee the TDD. This was the third in a series of local elections to seek local approval for a KC Streetcar Main Street Extension project.
The Main Street Rail TDD is a separate entity from the Kansas City Streetcar Authority and the City of Kansas City, Missouri. This latest election allows the TDD Board of Directors to impose the TDD’s revenue sources, which will generate local funding to support the Main Street extension of the KC Streetcar.
The TDD’s revenue sources will not be collected until the extension is fully funded, either through Federal grants or other non-TDD sources and will replace and expand the existing downtown TDD used to support the starter-line’s construction and operations. The TDD boundary extends from the Missouri River on the north to 53rd Street on the south; State Line Road on the west to Campbell Street on the east.
“We are grateful for the voter’s support today and will work closely with the KCSA, the City of Kansas City and the KCATA to ensure this projects’ success. We are also grateful for all the hard work, time and energy put in by the volunteers and transit advocates during this election process,” said Jan Marcason, Chair of the TDD.
The funding structure is similar to the current downtown TDD structure in which:
- A sales tax not to exceed 1 percent on retail sales within the TDD boundary.
- A special assessment on real estate within the TDD boundary, with maximum annual rates as follows:
- 48¢ for each $100 of assessed value for commercial property
- 70¢ for each $100 of assessed value for residential property
- $1.04 for each $100 of assessed value for property owned by the City
- 40¢ for each $100 of assessed value for real property exempt from property tax, such as religious, educational, charitable, etc. property, but only on market value more than $300,000 and less than $50 Million.
A supplemental special assessment on surface pay parking lots within the TDD boundary (not garages and not free parking lots). The maximum rate for the supplemental special assessment on surface pay parking lots will be $54.75 per space per year. This special assessment primarily applies to parcels in the downtown area.
“The completion of our local funding mechanism is a critical step necessary to advance this project for federal funding and bring the project to life,” said Tom Gerend, executive director with the Kansas City Streetcar Authority. “This is one step in a long process but the strong support from the public is a great motivator for all of us and reinforces the importance of making this vision a reality,” continued Gerend.
The KC Streetcar project team, consisting of the KC Streetcar Authority (KCSA), the KC Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), the City of Kansas City, MO (KCMO), and the consultant team led by HDR, Inc., has continued to advance the project planning for the Main Street Extension to UMKC, including work to refine streetcar stop locations, track alignments, and coordinated transit connections.
The KC Streetcar Main Street Extension project is being planned through a data driven process. In order to build the best streetcar extension for Kansas City, the planning group is looking at operational efficiency, cost, constructability and public input. The Main Street extension would run from Union Station to the vicinity of the University of Missouri-Kansas City at approximately 51st and Main Street. The project team recently held two public meetings in order to gather community input on stop locations and track alignment. A final recommendation from the project team about stop locations and track alignment, along with projected cost, will be available to the public this summer.
The KC Streetcar is owned by the City of Kansas City, Missouri, and operated and managed by the KC Streetcar Authority along with operator contractor Herzog Transit, Inc., and partners with the KC Area Transportation Authority. The award-winning KC Streetcar has proved to be a success for downtown Kansas City with more than 4 Million rides during the first two years of service and more than $2 Billion in development dollars around the streetcar route.