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Government

Case Built For Streetcar Grant

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Assistant City Manager Robert Langenkamp describes changes needed to build a K.C. startup streetcar line.

Kansas City has moved a little closer to a startup streetcar line between downtown and Crown Center. A pair of measures have been approved to help toward a federal grant.A city can’t get a federal grant unless it shows it will help ridership on streetcars. So the Kansas City City Council has approved resolutions to help small businesses and parking along the proposed 4.4 mile round-trip route.

Councilman Jim Glover says a streetcar is more than transportation.  It’s an economic development tool.

Glover says the federal government requires grant applicants show they’ll boost ridership and a diversified small business community will make people want to ride to get there. "We do need to do this to help us be competitive in getting the grant," said Glover. "But it’s something we should do for the streetcar anyway.”

The Council measures will lessen restrictions on the amount of parking for businesses and residential.  It will also ease red tape for business startups. The changes should mean more density, more jobs, more riders.

Today’s alterations by no means guarantee the streetcar line.

Financing the local portion requires a special tax for around 1,600 downtown property owners.  It would combine a property tax and one cent sales tax hike.  And those property owners will have to vote to impose the taxes.

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