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Kansas City Voters Reject Streetcar Expansion Proposal

Elle Moxley

Kansas City, Mo., voters south of the river said no Tuesday to a plan that would have created a new taxing district to expand the city's streetcar line.

Only 40 percent of voters supported a plan that would have laid eight more miles of track to the east of the downtown starter line and added new bus service along Prospect.

"I think the public has spoken fairly distinctly," Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James told streetcar supporters Tuesday evening. "The loss tonight stings a little bit, but then again, this isn't the first time rail has lost in this city."

Supporters of streetcar expansion say building out the line is key to spurring economic development. But opponents say that hasn't happened in other cities that have built streetcars. Voters agreed, even though opponents were outspent 2-to-1.

James says he's not sure what's next for Kansas City's streetcar, since city officials have put so much time into this proposal. But he added that the 2-mile downtown line will still be completed as scheduled.

A statewide sales tax to fund various transportation projects also failed at the ballot Tuesday.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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