Voters approve KC Streetcar Main Street Extension funding structure

Written by Kyra Senese, managing editor
KC streetcar

Missouri residents in the Main Street Rail Transportation Development District (TDD) voted overwhelmingly to approve the local funding structure to support the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension.

The final tally was 75.6 percent votes yes for Question 1, which referred to approval of a sales tax, and 74.7 percent yes for Question 2, which referred to approval of special assessments.

In August 2017, voters approved formation of the Kansas City Main Street Rail TDD with a 70 percent yes vote, and in October 2017, entire group of TDD Board of Directors was elected to oversee the TDD.

Officials noted this was the third election in a series of local elections to solicit local approval for a KC Streetcar Main Street Extension project. The Main Street Rail TDD is a separate entity from the Kansas City Streetcar Authority (KCSA) and the City of Kansas City, Mo.

The most recent election results will allow the TDD Board of Directors to implement the TDD’s revenue sources, which are set to generate local funds to support the KC Streetcar’s Main Street extension.

The TDD’s revenue sources will not be collected until the extension is completely funded, either through federal funding sources or other non-TDD resources. The TDD’s funding sources will replace and expand the existing downtown TDD used to support the starter-line’s construction and operations, officials said.

The TDD boundary extends from the Missouri River on the north to 53rd Street on the south; State Line Road on the west to Campbell Street on the east.

“We are grateful for the voter’s support today and will work closely with the KCSA, the City of Kansas City and the KCATA to ensure this projects’ success. We are also grateful for all the hard work, time and energy put in by the volunteers and transit advocates during this election process,” said Jan Marcason, chair of the TDD.

The funding structure is similar to the current downtown TDD structure in which:

– A sales tax not to exceed 1 percent on retail sales within the TDD boundary

– A special assessment on real estate within the TDD boundary, with maximum annual rates as follows: 48 cents for each $100 of assessed value for commercial property; 70 cents for each $100 of assessed value for residential property; $1.04 for each $100 of assessed value for property owned by the city; 40 cents for each $100 of assessed value for real property exempt from property tax, such as religious, educational, charitable, etc. property, but only on market value more than $300,000 and less than $50 million

– A supplemental special assessment on surface pay parking lots within the TDD boundary (excluding garages and free parking lots)

The maximum rate for the supplemental special assessment on surface pay parking lots will be set at $54.75 per space per year.  This special assessment primarily applies to parcels in the downtown area.

“The completion of our local funding mechanism is a critical step necessary to advance this project for federal funding and bring the project to life,” said Tom Gerend, executive director with KCSA. “This is one step in a long process but the strong support from the public is a great motivator for all of us and reinforces the importance of making this vision a reality.”

The KC Streetcar project team, consisting of the KCSA, the KC Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), the City of Kansas City, Mo. (KCMO), and the consultant team led by HDR, Inc., has continued to progress the project planning phase for the Main Street Extension to UMKC, including work to refine streetcar stop locations, track alignments and coordinated transit connections, officials said.

The KC Streetcar Main Street Extension project is being planned through a data driven process, and the planning group is considering operational efficiency, cost, constructability and public input.

The Main Street extension would run from Union Station to the vicinity of the University of Missouri-Kansas City at approximately 51st and Main Street.

The project team recently held two public meetings to garner  community feedback on station locations and track alignment.

A final recommendation from the project team regarding stop locations and track alignment, as well as predicted cost, will be available to the public this summer, officials said.

The KC Streetcar is owned by the City of Kansas City, Mo., and operated and managed by the KC Streetcar Authority and operator contractor Herzog Transit, Inc., and partners with the KC Area Transportation Authority.

Categories: Commuter/Regional, OFF Track Maintenance, Rapid Transit/Light Rail
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