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Latest Light Rail Plan Rejected

Former city councilman Bob Lewellen celebrates the defeat of the light rail proposal.
Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.
Former city councilman Bob Lewellen celebrates the defeat of the light rail proposal.

Kansas City, MO – Kansas City voters weighed in against the most recent proposal for a light rail system yesterday. 56 percent turned the starter route, running from Vivion Road to east 63rd.

The verdict was consistent with seven previous elections in the past 11 year - the majority of Kansas Citians have not been interested in light rail. Two years ago, voters approved a plan for a starter route of 27 miles. But the city council repealed the measure, and crafted a 14-mile proposal for voters.

Light rail opponents celebrated at Lew's Grill and Bar in Waldo. Former city councilman Bob Lewellen said the next proposal should come out of the city's business community.

LEWELLEN: If this is important to them, then they should get all five counties together and see to it that a master plan is worked out.

Mayor Mark Funkhouser lobbied hard for this plan, and says he'll continue working towards a regional transportation system.

FUNKHOUSER: I'm never letting up. I mean, I didn't let up. This is something we'll continue to push for every day.

North Kansas City passed a half-cent sales tax to pay for their portion of the light rail route. But since the Kansas City plan was rejected, they're off the hook for the tax.

Sylvia Maria Gross is storytelling editor at KCUR 89.3. Reach her on Twitter @pubradiosly.
As a health care reporter, I aim to empower my audience to take steps to improve health care and make informed decisions as consumers and voters. I tell human stories augmented with research and data to explain how our health care system works and sometimes fails us. Email me at alexs@kcur.org.
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