New plan proposes to extend KC Streetcar line from Union Station to UMKC campus

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A group of private citizens announced their plan to expand the Kansas City Streetcar line Thursday morning.

The group, which was organized by the Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance, released details about the expansion plan at 9 a.m.

The announcement took place at 51st Street and Brookside Boulevard, near the UMKC Volker campus.

Supporters of the streetcar have been talking about expanding the route for years and now that it's up and running, they are moving forward with plans to extend the line from Union Station all the way south past the Plaza to UMKC. If this ends up happening, it would lengthen the streetcar line from 2.2 miles to 6-miles total. And they would add eight more streetcars to handle the extra distance and all the people who would use it.

"Seeing the benefit and trying to extend it to the core of the city just brings that same vibrancy and gusto all the way to UMKC," said Jay Tomlinson with Helix and Design Architect.

A local civic group filed a motion in court Wednesday to create a new Transportation Development District that would replace the current one - it would start in the River Market and extend down Main Street all the way to 53rd Street.

New Streetcar Route Proposal
New Streetcar Route Proposal

If approved by voters, businesses and property owners along Main would levy a one-percent sales tax and pay higher property taxes to finance the project.

Right now, the estimated cost is $227-million. Besides money collected from the taxes in this special district, the group would find federal dollars to help pay for it and they add the city would not finance this extension in any way.

It's going to take time to build the expansion if everything goes according to plan, the earliest the new line would be built and ready to go would be 2022.

An average of 6,400 people rode the streetcar the first three weeks - more people on the weekends than during the week. Currently, it runs from River Market to Union Station.


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