KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas was in attendance when President Joe Biden signed the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package into law at the White House on Monday.
The package will invest in everything from roads and bridges to greater internet access and also create 1.5 million jobs a year for the next decade, the Biden administration said.
The bipartisan legislation is the largest investment the country has made in infrastructure in decades.
The legislations dedicates $110 billion to repair crumbling roads and bridges, $39 billion for public transit and $66 billion for rail. Tens of billions of dollars are also dedicated to expanding broadband internet access and replacing lead-leaching water pipes around the nation.
As mayor of Missouri’s largest city, Lucas said he wants to see money come directly to Kansas City without having to be allocated through the state first.
“We know that there will probably be a formulaic set of expenditures that go to individual states,” Lucas said. “Our push in Kansas City is to make sure that it goes directly to the city, rather than stopping in Jefferson City — or for our Kansas allies, Topeka — and getting those direct expenditures. That has made a world of difference in the American Rescue Plan.”
Lucas outlined a number of spending priorities once money comes to Kansas City.
“What we had mentioned to the administration when we’ve had the chance is solar panels at KCI, certainly bridge repairs throughout the city and then the east-west streetcar expansion that would connect the east side of Kansas City with the Kansas state line,” Lucas said.
Kansas City hopes thousands of acres of city-owned land near Kansas City International Airport could soon be put to use for a solar farm.
“It would probably be one of the largest solar arrays in the country,” City Manager Brian Platt previously told FOX4.
Right now, they’re thinking the solar farm could sit on about 2,000 acres, generating up to 300 megawatts of power.
They’re still in the very beginning stages. A feasibility study should be done in a few months, but it’s possible they could start building in 2022. The new terminal at KCI is set to open in 2023.
Speaking of feasibility studies, the Kansas City transportation leaders plan to study the possibility of a major east-west streetcar expansion.
Discussions on where the east-west expansion would go are just starting, but early conversations are looking at a new line along 39th Street from the University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, Kansas, with an eastern extension along Linwood Boulevard.
KCATA President and CEO Robbie Makinen also hinted that they could look at connecting more public transit to the Truman Sports Complex.