Kansas City, Mo., is well on its way to building a downtown streetcar line. In the works is a two-mile project from River Market to Union Station, and it's likely there will be more miles of track extending further into the city.
Kansas City once had more than 300 miles of streetcar track, one of the largest systems in America, but the city tore up the tracks or, in some cases, paved over it.
Kansas City, Mo. resident David Johnson on Tuesday posted a video that he believes is the first weld of the city's new streetcar tracks. The video was taken just north of 16th and Main streets in the Crossroads.
The streetcar will eventually run down Main Street from Union Station to the River Market when it is completed, which is expected by mid-2015.
Plans for Phase II of a streetcar system roll on. And though where the second stretch of track will be laid is not decided yet, the choices are narrowing.
The report the city council heard Thursday recommends one or more extensions of streetcar line, with the highest scores for routes south on Main to 51st Street, east on Linwood or 31st Street for several miles and/or east on Independence Avenue to Benton. Those selections rated highest on a combination of factors including potential economic development.
The Kansas City councilman who has steered the city's streetcar project from its start says Thursday was probably the most significant mile post in the process. The city is ready to sign the contract for four streetcars.
Councilman Russ Johnson says the council's approval of the $17.9 million contract was the true “point of no return,” the day that the plan changed from a dream to a project underway.
To the disappointment of some contractors' and labor organizations, two out-of-town firms will manage the construction of Kansas City's downtown streetcar line. The battle was over the process.
It wasn't the usual process of lowest price for the most product. Construction management was awarded on a point system with heavy weighting for experience with similar work. And when the two out-of-town companies won, outcries began.
The controversy over what contractors will supervise the construction of Kansas City's downtown streetcar line isn't over yet, but the city council has moved one step closer to choosing two out-of-town companies.
Plans to sign a construction management contract with two out-of-town firms have been on hold for several weeks after local contractors and building trades unions expressed concern that there wouldn't be enough Kansas City companies and workers on the job.
A city council committee continues to delve into how to finance the Area Transit Authority yesterday.
Most of this week's ATA funding committee meeting was spent speculating on the size of the funding shortfall as a streetcar system and other expenses bite into transit tax revenues that may or may not increase.
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.
A plan to build a streetcar system in Kansas City kept rolling yesterday and passed a new mile post.
A week after the Kansas City city council endorsed a plan to fund a downtown streetcar system, it has approved appropriating a million dollars for advance work on the system, including a contract for some preliminary engineering studies.
Kansas City, Missouri has taken another step toward a formal bid for federal help to establish a downtown streetcar line.
The city council approved a pair of resolutions that would let voters in a proposed Transportation Development District weigh in on whether to make the district a quasi-governmental entity and whether to increase sales and property taxes in it to pay for the streetcar plan.
Councilman Russ Johnson said it's time for the city to show that it has a plan that would qualify it for a federal TIGER grant.