For Eligible Voters, Time To Apply For A Streetcar Extension Ballot Is Almost Out | KCUR

For Eligible Voters, Time To Apply For A Streetcar Extension Ballot Is Almost Out

Mar 28, 2018

Time is running out for about 30,000 Kansas City, Missouri, voters who are eligible to vote on a southern streetcar extension.

Registered voters who live within the area roughly between the Missouri River and 53rd Street, and State Line Road and Campbell, have until April 3 to apply for a mail-in ballot.

Ballots will be sent to approved voters in May and due back on June 12.

This is the final step in a complicated three-election process that must be completed before any work on an expansion to the University of Missouri-Kansas City can begin.

The first step was a mail-in election last summer. More than 70 percent of voters approved the boundaries of a Transportation Development District, or TDD, a special taxing district that would serve as a major funding mechanism for the streetcar. 

In October, voters in the district elected a board of directors for the TDD. 

The final election asks voters to approve a special property assessment and a 1 percent sales tax within the district to fund the extension.

David Johnson, who is on the board of the Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance, says as of last week, fewer than 2,000 people had applied for a ballot. He's urging people not to wait until Tuesday to submit an application.

"As we've seen with this ballot application process, people wait until the last minute, and that of course, taxes the circuit court," Johnson says. 

Just over 10 percent of eligible voters received ballots for the last mail-in election. Applications for ballots as well as a map of the proposed taxing district are available here

Efforts to extend the streetcar were complicated last year when Kansas City voters narrowly approved a ballot question in August that prohibited the city from taking part in any streetcar extension without a citywide vote. But the City Council amended that ordinance in January, saying that it was not legally sound as it was passed. 

Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and the afternoon newscaster for KCUR 89.3. Follow her on Twitter @larodrig