Fri May 31, 2013
Council Funds Phase II Streetcar Study
A court challenge to phase one of the Kansas City's streetcar plan didn't slow the train yesterday as the city council approved a contract for a study of phase two.
The study compare seven different possible routes. Transit chair Russ Johnson says the nearly $1,900,000 price tag is a bargain for such a thorough study. Johnson joked, "It's not the 'Happy Meal'. It's 4 or 5 'Quarter Pounders'," which prompted chuckles from his colleagues.
Johnson says the study could have cost as much as $4 million if it had been at the same cost per mile as the original alternatives analysis for phase one of the project.
Among routes vying for consideration are runs to the stadium complex, the Plaza, the jazz district and routes to the West Bottoms and the East Side.
The city is awaiting an appeals court's decision on a lawsuit over the way phase one is funded. An attempt to send that litigation directly to the state Supreme Court was denied, causing a delay Johnson says may have already ruins the chances of a federal grant of up to $20 million.
The council also finalized a new city ethics code and approved financing for a 10-field youth soccer complex at Swope Park.
Lynn Horsley with the Kansas City Star has been covering this story for the paper. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross spoke with her at length about the issue, including the pending lawsuits, for KC Currents. You can listen to the interview here: