Streetcars in Kansas City
Streetcars provide an easy and convenient transit option for those needing to travel short distances. They connect people to their jobs as well as to various entertainment and recreation venues within a city. Modern streetcar systems also have the ability to spur significant economic development, helping to create vibrant neighborhoods and communities.
A modern streetcar system can reduce the number of cars on our roadways thereby helping the region reduce congestion and attain its sustainability goals. Dense development around streetcar lines, known as transit-oriented development (TOD), has boomed in other cities that have implemented streetcar systems. The City of Kansas City is in the planning process for a 2.2 mile streetcar line that will circulate between the River Market and Union Station and could connect with regional rail and bus service in Jackson County.
Kansas City is working to build a starter streetcar line from River Market to Union Station. Modern streetcars would be used like those that were at Union Station in 2011
Downtown Kansas City residents have elected to create a Transportation Development District (TDD) which has the ability to raise funds for construction of a streetcar line. A board has been formed to govern this body and the Kansas City Streetcar Authority has been created as well to finalize project details.
On December 12, TDD residents voted to approve two taxes that will help fund the construction of the 2.2 mile modern streetcar line. This second election established a special sales tax and assessment for properties in the TDD. With a funding mechanism now in place, final design and construction of the Kansas City streetcar may begin. The streetcar is planned to begin operation in spring 2015.
- $3.5 billion dollars of investment have occurred within ¼ mile of Portland’s streetcar*
- Every $10 million of capital investment in public transportation yields $30 million of increased sales**
*Source: American Public Transportation Association
**Source: Center for Transportation Excellence