KC Streetcar extension receives positive federal rating

The KC Streetcar Authority is working to expand streetcar service from the Downtown area to UMKC campus at 51st and Main.

The KC Streetcar project team recently received a positive rating from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for the Main Street Extension to the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), marking a crucial step in moving the streetcar extension project towards construction.

With the release of the FTA’s annual New Starts report, the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension project received a Medium-High rating, which will position this project to compete favorably with projects from across the country for federal funding. Though this is an important prerequisite to a future federal grant agreement, it is not a formal commitment of federal funding.

“This is the rating our team had hoped and worked for,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the KC Streetcar Authority. “The rating reinforces the success of our Downtown starter line and positions our Main Street extension amongst the most deserving projects in the entire country.”

 

The summary report from FTA is available online. The list of current Capital Investment Grant projects is also online.

“The FTA is keeping their eye on the innovative things happening in Kansas City,” said Robbie Makinen, KCATA President & CEO. “This positive rating is an important step to moving forward with streetcar expansion and better integrating our regional RideKC system.”

“This is good news,” said Joe Reardon, President & CEO of the Greater Kansas City Chamber. “The KC Streetcar has been an unqualified success, and the FTA rating bodes well for plans to extend the line to UMKC.  We know the extension will lead to further economic development and provide critical mass transit connections for our workforce.”

In Fall 2018, the KC Streetcar project team, consisting of the KC Streetcar Authority (KCSA), the KC Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), and the City of Kansas City, MO (KCMO), submitted the formal application to the FTA for the New Starts Capital Investment Grants Program, seeking $151 million dollars in federal funding and inclusion in the federal 2020-year budget to support the estimated $316 million-dollar project.

The New Starts grant program funds transit capital investments including heavy rail, commuter rail, light rail, streetcars and bus rapid transit systems. Both federal and local funding are needed to move this project into design and construction. Local funding was approved by the voters in the establishment of the Main Street Rail Transportation Development District (TDD). The KC Streetcar project team is seeking $151 million in federal funding to be combined with $164 million in local funding from the voter-approved TDD, reflecting a 48% federal funding and 52% local funding match.

Since application submittal, the KC Streetcar project team has continued to work on overall project development activities, station stop location and track alignments, NEPA/environmental documentation and development of a detailed financial plan in order to apply for federal funding.  Additionally, the KC Streetcar project team recently issued a Request for Qualifications/Proposals for professional Engineering and Architectural Services for the Main Street Extension Project. The work includes Project Management, Engineering and Architectural designs, drawings, calculations, reports, schedules and cost estimates.

The deadline to submit proposals is 2 p.m. April 25, 2019. The direct link to the RFQ/P can be found on the City’s website here: Project Number: 89022014-001.

A full report about the analysis and design work for the proposed streetcar stop locations and track alignment, including renderings of streetcars traveling through midtown, are located on the KC Streetcar website, www.kcstreetcar.org/mainstreet-extension. The project narrative for the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension New Starts application is also located on the KC Streetcar website, www.kcstreetcar.org/mainstreet-extension.