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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kansas City's Request for Streetcar Money Shot Down by Feds

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 9:34 AM

KC may be out of the trolley race, but St. Louis presses on.
  • KC may be out of the trolley race, but St. Louis presses on.
Back in March of this year, DailyRFT proposed a tongue-in-cheek race between St. Louis and Kansas City to determine which city would complete its throwback/modern streetcar project first. The Delmar Loop trolley project already had its $25 million in federal grant money okayed, while Kansas City had only recently applied for a similar amount to help build its $101 million streetcar line. 

KC's chances have perhaps been stricken with a mortal blow, as last week the U.S. Department of Transportation denied KC's Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant request. Bummer, bros. 

No city wants to have its request for government money slapped down, but for KC the timing was particularly unfortunate: the rejection arrived just about the same time ballots were being sent to voters for them to "yea" or "nay" the creation of a special taxing district to help fund the $75 million balance of the proposed streetcar line. 

Mayor Sly James has vowed that "Kansas City is not giving up on this project." He's working to line up more local investors, the distinct lack of which was a factor in the US DoT not awarding them the grant.

Some Kansas Citians are already pitching in. A crowd-sourced funding stream, Neighbor.ly, will launch in July, hoping to raise the $25 million the project didn't receive (or a fraction of it, at least) by offering donors rewards such as seeing their names on a Post-It note-sized section of the streetcar, or on a seat name-plate. 

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