KC Streetcar extension to UMKC gets federal approval, opening projected for 2025

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Officials from the Federal Transit Administration gave the green light to the city and local transportation members to begin the next step in the Main Street extension, ending at UMKC.

The project is now approved to enter the New Starts Engineering phase of the FTA Capital Investment Grants (CIG) program, which is the final phase of this competitive federal program.

KC Streetcar Main Street Extension image
Picture from KC Streetcar.

“This approval is a critical step towards designing the backbone of a comprehensive regional transit system,” Robbie Makinen, CEO of the Kansas City Area Travel Authority, said in a statement.

While the approval does not yet secure federal funding, it’s a significant milestone in obtaining the $174 million in federal funding needed to begin construction. Voters within the streetcar’s district already approved a tax increase in order to raise $250 million in local funding.

This new phase authorizes the execution of engineering and construction contracts. According to a statement, the City already authorized these earlier this year.

Officials hope to secure the government funding after this phase by early 2021. Construction would then begin later that year or early 2022, with a hopeful completion and opening in 2025.

The KC Streetcar currently runs from the River Market at 3rd Street to Union Station at Pershing Road. The project would extend the line to UMKC at 51st Street and add eight new stops, including Westport and The Plaza.

“The extension of the streetcar represents the next step in our vision to make transportation free and available to all, and will provide good jobs to Kansas Citians as it is being built,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said. “I thank our Congressional delegation for their advocacy for this approval and other important transportation priorities to increase mobility for Kansas Citians, and am pleased we’ve moved into the engineering phase.”

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