Once declared "touristy frou-frou" by then-Kansas City Mayor Emanuel Cleaver, streetcars may be coming to Kansas City...more than 55 years after the last streetcar ran on the Country Club Line.
Now U.S. Rep. Cleaver is a supporter of a similar concept and is helping to secure federal funding for a starter line that would stretch from Kansas City's River Market area south to Crown Center. The streetcar plan is far less expensive than light rail, but it still can't happen without federal dollars and approval of a tax on residents and businesses that live and operate within the boundaries of a proposed streetcar district, which includes the River Market, the downtown loop, the Crossroads Arts District and Crown Center/Union Station. If the $100 million project is approved, construction is expected to begin mid- to late-2013, with an anticipated opening in mid-2015. (The special election is by mail-in ballot; click here for more information on the tax and how to receive a ballot)
Wednesday on Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with streetcar plan proponent, Kansas City 2nd District Councilman Russ Johnson, who chairs the Council's transportation and infrastructure committee, streetcar advocate David Johnson, who blogs at kclightrail.com and opponent Sue Burke, president and owner of Kansas City Air Filter, whose facility stands near the north end of the streetcar route.
View Proposed Downtown Streetcar line in a larger map
What do YOU think? Should Kansas City try to build a streetcar line, and do you think it will spur development along the line? Or - will the line be nothing more than "touristy frou-frou" that will yield few users and turn out to be a white elephant project? Post your thoughts here, or visit KCUR's Facebook page, Tweet us @KCURUptoDate, email us: email@example.com, or call 816 235 2888 during the program.
HEAR MORE: The City of Kansas City, Missouri hosted its first community forum on its downtown streetcar plan on Tuesday evening. It will host two additional meetings: Wednesday, May 16, from 4-7 p.m. at the Steamboat Arabia Museum, 400 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64106 and Thursday, May 17, 4-7 p.m. at Union Station - Arthur Stilwell Room (on C-level near the new Grand Gallery), 30 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108