The KC Streetcar Main Street Extension project received the green light from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to enter into the engineering phase of the FTA’s Capital Investment Grants New Starts program.
On May 22, the City of Kansas City, Missouri, along with the KC Streetcar Authority and the KC Area Transportation Authority, received official notice from the FTA that the Main Street Extension project is approved to enter the New Starts Engineering phase of the FTA Capital Investment Grants (CIG) program. This approval does not yet represent a federal funding commitment but is a significant milestone that moves the project into the final phase of the competitive federal program and positions the project to receive a future award of federal grant funds.
“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. “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 our Congressional delegation for their advocacy for this approval and other important transportation priorities to increase mobility for Kansas Citians, and am pleased we’ve moved into the engineering phase.”
“This approval confirms that we are on the right path, and among the most deserving projects in the country,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the KC Streetcar Authority. “The timing couldn’t be better as we continue our push towards finalizing a federal grant award by early 2021 and moving to begin construction of this transformative project by 2022.”
“This approval is a critical step towards designing the backbone of a comprehensive regional transit system,” said Robbie Makinen, CEO of KCATA. “We look forward to working with the City, the KC Streetcar Authority and our Region 7 FTA colleagues to help design a streetcar that brings equity in transit, spurs development, and transforms the region.”
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 project team is seeking $174 million in federal funding to be combined with local funding from the voter-approved Transportation Development District.
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.
The approval to enter the New Starts Engineering phase authorizes execution of engineering and construction contracts, which City Council approved earlier this year, allowing that important work to advance. Current schedules estimate construction beginning in late 2021 or early 2022, and the opening of the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension system in 2025.
A copy of the letter from the FTA and information concerning proposed streetcar stop locations and track alignment, including renderings of streetcars traveling through midtown, may be found on the KC Streetcar website, www.kcstreetcar.org/mainstreet-extension.