Some opposing increase in taxes due to Streetcar expansion

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A judge held a public hearing at the Jackson County Courthouse on Tuesday to allow both sides of the controversial plan to weigh in on phase two of the street car extension, specifically the taxing district. This hearing was just one in a series of hearings.

Starting around 1:30 p.m. and concluding a few hours later, dozens of people packed the courtroom to explain why they think the streetcar expansion is good for Kansas City, while others explained how it will not benefit the city.

Matt Kauffman, a board member with the Missouri Public Transit Association, says better public transportation will attract young professionals and development with Kansas City.

“Street cars have already brought development,” said Kauffman. “There are a number of projects within the line and developers said that was one of the deciding factors why they brought their development to Kansas City.”

Kite Singleton says he can remember using streetcars as a kid to go to ball games. He says if we have a better transportation system, people will use it.

“For the past 50 years, we've been relying on cars. We suck the life and the people out of the central part of the city,” said Singleton.

Sherry DeJames says she's concerned with the inner city too, and believes the one-cent sales tax will hurt people already living on a fixed income.

“We're going to have the majority of people voting on an imposition and burden on the majority of the people,” said DeJames.

DeJames says the proposal to add eight to 10 miles of street car east and south of downtown doesn't meet the city's transportation needs.

She and others who oppose the tax and extension say buses are more viable and economical for the city.

“I think we should just focus on bush transportation and not 50-million in light raid and street car expenses,” said Terrence Nash.

In two weeks the judge will again hear the pros and cons of who supports and opposes the street car expansion.

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