Freshly returned from Thursday's ground breaking for phase one of the streetcar system, the Kansas City city council committed $8 million to getting started on phase two.

Two area firms – HDR Engineering and Burns and McDonnell – were chosen to plan southward and eastward extensions of the streetcar line.

Submitted photo / City of Kansas City, Mo.

There will be no gold-plated shovels at Thursday's groundbreaking ceremony for the  streetcar in downtown Kansas City, Mo. – that's a promise.

"We wanted to do something different because the streetcar is a game-changer for Kansas City," says city spokesman Chris Hernandez.

Thursday is set to mark the start of major construction on the downtown starter line, the first phase in the city's multi-year streetcar initiative.

Eight hundred tons of streetcar rail – 50 truckloads – will be delivered to Kansas City next week, marking the end of bargaining and a final negotiated maximum price for the project: $102 million.

City engineering service manager Ralph Davis assured the city council Thursday that they're getting a good deal. Davis said the city has worked through a "value engineering" process to eliminate unnecessary costs, and in doing so saved about $5 million. He said city representatives had also negotiated down the contractors' fees and charges. 

City of Kansas City, Mo.

The Kansas City city council was in an infrastructure-improving mood Thursday — some of its very old infrastructure.  The city council took several steps toward replacing crumbling sewer and water lines.

The full council gave its approval to rehabilitation of sewer lines around 22nd and Paseo. Infrastructure chair Russ Johnson emphasized how old they were.

"That was constructed in 1890," he said. "It's time to rehab it.”

The other council members agreed, and approved spending $1.48 million in existing bond money to do the job.

City of Kansas City, Missouri

Phase two of Kansas City's streetcar system moved ahead again Thursday, but it won't be rolling through Brookside.

The city council approved a streetcar system expansion of about 8 miles – a south extension along main to the UMKC area, east on Independence Avenue to Benton and east on Linwood to Prospect. A proposal for the southward extension to run to Brookside or Waldo was set aside because it was too expensive for projected revenue.

News broke this week of a major development in the ongoing conversation about Kansas City’s plans for extending the planned streetcar line. The committee finalizing the plan announced it will not recommend extending the tracks south of the UMKC campus.

Now the expansion will go south only to UMKC and east along Linwood and Independence Avenues.

City of Kansas City, Missouri

An ambitious expansion of the Kansas City streetcar system has gotten approval from a City Council Committee.

The plan is for a taxing district that covers a wide swath south of downtown.

A variety of possible extensions of the system branch east and south from the starter line.

Supporters are in a hurry to move the system past its current fledgling movement.

Council members were told the tax district would provide local funding as seed for federal grants, necessary for expansion.

brx0 / Flickr--CC

The city of Kansas City, Mo., will commission $100,000 of public art for the first phase of the streetcar line, and has announced a request for proposals. 

In a release Friday, the city said it is looking for professional artists or artist-led teams to create proposals for art projects to be displayed at selected streetcar stops. The release says while all proposals will be considered, the city is looking for ideas that integrate the artwork into the infrastructure of the stops.

ChrisM70 / Flickr -- Creative Commons

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.

The Kansas City, Mo., city council has approved a report that supports adding another eight to 10 miles of streetcar track to its 2.2 mile starter system over the next decade. 

Favored routes are eastward branches along Independence Avenue and the Linwood-31st Street corridor and a southern extension as far as Brookside or Waldo.

Members of the study group say federal grants should fund 50 percent of the cost.

City of Kansas City, Missouri

Construction has already begun on the first leg of Kansas City’s streetcar system. The two mile line will run between the River Market area and Crown Center.

Now officials are looking at potential routes for a second leg and beyond. Where should the second leg go? Is it inevitable that route No. 2 will extend to the Plaza and maybe UMKC?

Streetcar Neighbors / Facebook page

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.

Submitted photo / City of Kansas City, Mo.

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.

City of Kansas City, Missouri

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.

“This is where you're really getting serious about building this project," Johnson told his colleagues. "We're going to go 'box it out' and buy something.”

Kansas City Streetcar Plan Moving Forward

Oct 30, 2013
Portland TriMetro

It will cost about $1 million per mile to lay groundwork for a Kansas City streetcar line, and the city is moving forward on expanding a startup. The original has yet to be built. 

The City Council may decide before the week ends whether to borrow $10 million to start moving on phase-two of the streetcar system.

The city would borrow for engineering work to get what may be a $400 million added streetcar line.

Next week planners should be able to give recommendations on where the eight to 10 mile stretch would go.

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.

Streetcar Contract Heads For Final Vote

Sep 6, 2013

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.

U.S. Senator from Missouri, Claire McCaskill, announced Friday that Kansas City will receive a $20 million TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the streetcar project.

In a release, McCaskill said it is fantastic news for families and businesses in Kansas City.

"This streetcar project will encourage housing, construction and business development in the city — and that will mean more jobs across the region," she said.


It’s not clear by how much expanded Kansas City streetcar lines would  boost property values. A team of city planners and private analysts expects to know by late October. 

The panel is trying to narrow potential streetcar corridors from 7 to 3.

A committee of the City Council heard how blighted areas of Seattle sprung up new growth when a streetcar went in. 

The second phase of Kansas City’s planned streetcar system is being generated, even as phase one is in infancy.  

Kansas City Wins Streetcar Legal Challenge

Aug 7, 2013
Portland TriMetro

A legal hurdle has been removed in the struggle to move ahead on a streetcar system for Kansas City.

A  panel of judges on the  Missouri Court of Appeals has dismissed a challenge to tax financing.

The three judges found a lower court was right and any legal challenge would have to be launched before the city gets underway on a project, such as the $102 million streetcar. 

Two property owners took issue with property and sales taxes to pay for the streetcar taxing district.

KC Streetcar Tax Challenge In Judges' Hands

Jul 16, 2013
HDR Corp.

The Kansas City Court of Appeals has taken testimony to help judges decide factors that will affect timely construction of a new downtown streetcar. 

The case centers on protests of taxes to support building and operating the line.

On one hand, City Hall argues the cutoff date to contest the vote on a taxing district is long past.

On the other, lawyers for two property owners think opponents of the 1 cent sales tax and a property tax increase had proper time to object.  That’s the heart of it.


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.

Council Funds Phase II Streetcar Study

May 31, 2013
HDR / City of Kansas City

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.

Council Moves On Streetcar Expansion, Seat Belts

Apr 19, 2013
HDR / City of Kansas City

Kansas City, Missouri and North Kansas City are exploring extending the forthcoming downtown streetcar line into the Northland. Both city councils have now signed off on the collaboration.

Streetcars Off To Fast Start

Dec 14, 2012
HDR / City of Kansas City

The Kansas City city council got off to a running start on getting a downtown streetcar running Thursday, displaying a unity of spirit on having streetcars running by 2015 as promised.

Vote Assures Streetcars For Kansas City Downtown

Dec 12, 2012
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Passage of a Kansas City downtown tax district and a sales tax is a first major step toward financing a streetcar system.

Downtown Kansas City, Missouri voters approved a special tax to fund a two-mile streetcar route in downtown Kansas City, although fewer than 500 people voted.

One down and one go to: baseball’s 2012 All-Star Game brought national attention to Kansas City, and this Thursday, Google Fiber will tell us how much it will cost to speed up our reputation.

Kansas City will not receive a coveted TIGER grant, a $25 million federal grant that would have helped to fund a $100 million downtown streetcar project.

Portland Tri Metro

More than 3,000 registered voters live in the bounds of the proposed Kansas City streetcar district.  Only a handful of people have requested ballots to vote on forming a streetcar taxing district.