With Fanfare, Kansas City Streetcar Officially Begins Operation Downtown
More than 300 people gathered downtown Friday to watch officials ranging from the mayor to the acting administrator of the Federal Transit Administration open Kansas City's new streetcar line.
Mayor Sly James acknowledged it had been a long and sometimes difficult process to secure the streetcar.
"This is our moment," the mayor said to the jubilant crowd.
Acting Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration Carolyn Flowers said in an interview that Kansas City used the special Transportation Development District in a new way to its credit.
"I think Kansas City has created a unique model," she said.
Talking about connectivity and economic development (a projected $1 billion), city officials said the five years it's taken to get to this point have not been easy. In addition to sometimes contentious political and public debate, businesses and commuters have suffered massive construction for months.
But Manuel Amaya and Monica Palacio, Kansas City residents, summed up the festive mood of the celebration.
"We're just looking forward to enjoying all the amenities up and down Main Street using the street car line," they said.
It's been almost six decades since streetcars ran in Kansas City.