Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kansas City streetcar proposal receives funding, FTA environmental approval

Rendering of a streetcar operating southbound on Main Street at 19th Street. Rendering of a streetcar operating southbound on Main Street at 19th Street. Image created by HDR, Inc.

The Kansas City streetcar proposal has received funds from the Mid-America Regional Council's (MARC) Board of Directors totaling $ 17.7 million.

The money comes from a total of $81.7 million in federal funding for 77 projects that will help improve air quality and public transportation; enhance roads and rehabilitate bridges and support focused development in the Kansas City region over the coming years.

The largest amount of funds was apportioned to the Kansas City, Mo., downtown streetcar project. It will receive $16 million through the Surface Transportation Program to purchase vehicles and $1.7 million from the Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality Program to build streetcar stations between River Market and Union Station/Crown Center.

The project received an additional boost from the Federal Transit Administration, which issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) to the city's Public Works Department environmental assessment submission.

"The City appreciates this positive response from the FTA," said Second District Councilman Russ Johnson. "This finding will allow us to immediately move forward on implementing the starter line once the voter-approved funding is in place."

Staff is currently planning on issuing requests for proposals for final design by mid-November 2012. The planned $100-million starter streetcar line will run from the River Market to Crown Center. Future proposed development may extend east, south, west and north of the starter line, to such places as North Kansas City, Southwest Boulevard, the Plaza and 18th and Vine.

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