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Government

Chastain Rail Initiative Clears Signature Count Hurdle

Clay Chastain
Video frame courtesy of TV-9
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Clay Chastain tried a fiery oratorical style as he announced his latest ballot initiatives at Union Station. (Click to enlarge.)

It took just 1,709 valid signatures to qualify for a public vote. And Clay Chastain turned in 47 more than that.

But a place for his latest light rail plan is not assured a place on the ballot yet.

Chastain, who lives in Virginia most of the time, expects resistance from the Kansas City Council to his $2 billion plan.

Stinging from the slap of having a previous proposal blocked from the ballot because city attorneys found court support for their contention that the measure as put forth was illegal, the activist has tried to ward off another refusal.

Chastain says his attorney submitted the latest plan to the city legal department to be vetted before he started gathering signatures.

He says the city attorney expressed several concerns but he and his attorney altered the petition language to address all of them and submitted the revised version.

Chastain says the final version is “as bullet-proof as a petition can be,” but stopped short of saying the city attorney gave him firm assurances that it was fully legal and without flaws.

He did say that he and his attorney received no further notification of concerns about the petition after the final submission.

The plan calls for a light rail transit line from KCI airport to the Cerner campus in south Kansas City.

Chastain says he is hoping to see the plan on the city's November election ballot.

City Council members and the mayor say the initiative is under study to determine if it is “legal and feasible.”

Steve Bell is afternoon newscaster and business news reporter for KCUR.  He may be reached at 816-235-5173 or by e-mail as steveb@kcur.org

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