Two city officials who went to Elmira, New York, to check on progress and attempt to speed up the process, if possible, have returned with better, if not definitely good news. CAF U.S.A., the company custom-building four streetcars for Kansas City's starter line says the first car should be delivered by Oct. 29.
Earlier, CAF had alerted the city to the fact that delivery could be as late as December. Because of DOT testing requirements, that would have made it unlikely Kansas City could have had a streetecar running in time for the Big 12 Tournament in March.
Some city sources have said that it could possibly have the streetcar line in operation if at least one vehicle had completed the testing. But Thursday, streetcar project manager Ralph Davis emphasized that March is a possibility, not a certainty. He told the city council that a factor in the city's favor is that the infrastructure construction will be totally completed by mid-October. But he added it is not a certainty that the city could initiate service with just one vehicle and no backup.
Davis and Streetcar Authority Executive Director Tom Gerend took photos of the new streetcars in their present under-construction state. The photos show the exterior and interior of one of the vehicles at the current stage of their assembly.
Gerend expressed optimism that challenges could be met and the streetcar would debut on time. But he admitted that with state and federal regulators in control of the approval process and delivery dates on three vehicles yet to be negotiated, there are no guaranteed.