Streetcar route to connect neighborhoods from Downtown to UMKC
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced this morning that the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension project will receive federal funding as part of the FTA’s New Starts Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program, making this project a reality for Kansas City.
As part of the CIG program, the FTA is allocating $50.8 million in fiscal year 2020 federal funds to the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension project. This federal funding will allow the project team to advance final design and enter into the construction phase for this unprecedented project. The KC Streetcar project team anticipates receiving $174 million in federal funding in order to complete the construction of the project. The New Starts CIG program allocates federal funding to large projects across multiple fiscal years.
“The significance of today’s federal funding announcement for the KC Streetcar cannot be overstated,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the KC Streetcar Authority. “This federal funding will allow our team to advance final design and move into long awaited construction, realizing a transit vision for Kansas City that has been decades in the making. Thanks to amazing support from the Federal Transit Administration, our project partners at RideKC and Kansas City, Missouri, and our extremely supportive congressional delegation, the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension Project is a go. It’s a great day for Kansas City.”
“This significant federal grant award helps ensure this key transit project will be completed on schedule—providing thousands of good jobs to Kansas Citians along the way,” said Mayor Quinton Lucas. “Since becoming mayor, I have met with administration leaders in Washington and Kansas City to advocate for our community’s transportation and infrastructure priorities, and I appreciate Washington’s recognition of our city’s growth and development needs.
“I thank our Congressional delegation, the KC Streetcar Authority, Ride KC, and our taxpayers for their support to increase mobility and transit options for Kansas Citians. Along with Zero-Fare Transit passed in the spring, this shows once again Kansas City’s commitment to mobility for all.”
Earlier this year, the project received official notice from the FTA that the Main Street Extension project was approved to enter the New Starts Engineering phase of the FTA CIG program. This approval allowed the project to move into the final phase of the competitive federal program and positioned it to receive federal grant funds like it did today.
“Today’s news represents a milestone moment for Downtown and the heart of Kansas City, as we look to expand KC Streetcar services south to UMKC.” said Bill Dietrich, president & CEO of the Downtown Council. “Since the KC Streetcar began operations in Downtown in May 2016, it has carried millions of riders from Union Station and Crown Center to the Power & Light District to City Market and back again.
“The Streetcar has made a transformational economic and social impact on greater Downtown, and we envision even brighter days ahead as new economic development opportunities unfold as Kansas City becomes more connected.” Dietrich said.
The CIG program funds transit capital investments including heavy rail, commuter rail, light rail, streetcars and bus rapid transit systems. The KC Streetcar Main Street Extension is estimated to cost $351 million. The project team is seeking $174 million in federal funding to be combined with local funding from the voter-approved Transportation Development District.
“This financial investment by the federal government reflects the credibility of the entire RideKC regional network. The KC Streetcar Main Street Extension will be a catalyst to bringing equity in transit and spurring development, especially in a post-pandemic environment,” said Robbie Makinen, KCATA president and CEO.
“With the overwhelming community support for the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension and the proven economic impact of the project, we were confident that the FTA would provide the necessary funding to make this extension to UMKC a reality,” said Jan Marcason, chair of the Main Street Extension Transportation Development District.
The project’s recent progress is the result of years of work from the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension project partnership, which includes the KC Streetcar Authority, the City of Kansas City, MO, and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority. Work completed to date includes project development, identification of track and station stop locations, coordination of utility relocation, including water and sewer lines, solicitation of proposals for streetcar vehicle procurement, construction general management, and public outreach.
The KC Streetcar Main Street Extension project is currently in the design phase. This fall, the City’s Water Department will start construction on the necessary water and sewer upgrades, completing the much-needed repairs to Kansas City’s aging infrastructure. Updates on water and sewer work may be found on here, www.kcwater.us/upgradesonmain.
Current schedules estimate KC Streetcar construction beginning in late 2021 or early 2022, and the opening of the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension system in 2025. Project information including proposed streetcar stop locations, track alignment, and renderings of streetcars traveling through midtown, may be found on the KC Streetcar website, www.kcstreetcar.org/mainstreet-extension.