Local support for streetcar extension may help win federal grant

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The acting administrator of the Federal Transit Administration says city leaders have demonstrated a strong commitment to expanding public transit that may be rewarded with federal grants.

A new downtown transit center at 12th Street and Charlotte Avenue is designed spark development nearby.

The Prospect MAX will upgrade the streets, sidewalks and traffic signals along the route, making the Prospect corridor safer for pedestrians.

The new East Village transit center is designed to be a state-of-the-art mobility hub, using wi-fi and smart kiosks to connect thousands of people moving around between buses, the streetcar, scooters and ride share services.

This is a nearly $56 million project that wouldn't be happening without about $30 million in federal funds.

With Kansas City seeking millions more from Uncle Sam to extend the streetcar line, the acting administrator of the Federal Transit Administration says recent voter approval of a tax for the project may help win another federal grant.

"It’s just like when you’re buying something for yourself, if your children want something they have to pay for it with their own funds or if they want their parents to pay for it, it’s sort of a different experience for them," K. Jane Williams said. "We want to partner with cities across the country. There's simply not enough money for anyone to get 100 percent funding for any project. The local funding local commitment is an important piece of the puzzle."

Williams says Kansas City already has received $75 million in federal money during the last two years for transit projects.

East Village will replace the crowded downtown transit hub at 10th and Main streets, allowing more routes to connect and serving as a catalyst for private investment around it.

In a multi-modal future, the Area Transportation Authority says its goal is to connect the dots to link riders to buses, rail, scooters and driverless cars, all with one pass.

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