Frequently Asked Questions

What is being proposed?

A:

The vote on August 5 establishes a district to expand Kansas City’s transportation system. This includes an upgrade of the Prospect bus service to MAX, extending the modern streetcar line on Main Street from Union Station to UMKC, as well as adding streetcar lines on Linwood Boulevard and Independence Avenue. This will  all to be funded and constructed as a single project. Click here for more information.

How will it be paid for?

A:

If the Transportation Development District (TDD) is approved on August 5, there will be a second vote to authorize the city’s taxation on November 4.

The TDD on August 5 will detail the city’s maximum taxing authority. It creates an equitable system so that those who benefit most from the increase in property values and economic development support the system with a special assessment. You can find if your property falls in the special assessment zone by clicking here.

In addition, there will be a 1 cent sales tax levied within the areas defined as the TDD. The sales tax is paid by all those who shop within the TDD.  

Why a sales tax?

A:

The Transportation Development District (TDD) is created by state statue and allows for limited taxing options. Kansas City chose a balanced approach with the prospect of creating more transportation options for those who most need it, while having the federal government pay for at least 50 percent.

More transit options means families drive less, have to buy less gas, and potentially can forgo the costs of owning a car or a second car. Furthermore, the special assessment has been created to ensure that only those who directly benefit from the addition of the streetcar line are paying their fair share. We have seen in the downtown corridor, and from other points around the country, that properties adjacent to these lines jump up in value.

Is it worth it?

A:

Other cities have shown that enhanced transit spurs economic development of all kinds.  We have already seen significant development in downtown. (http://nextrailkc.com/downtown-kansas-city-economic-development-impact/).

With federal dollars available now that won’t always be around, how can we afford not to make an investment that will bring more good-paying jobs and additional private investment to more parts of Kansas City?

Furthermore, the city cannot collect any revenues or proceed without an approximately 50 percent match of federal funds. It’s the right time for Kansas City to create the largest single urban investment in the East Side of Kansas City as well as properly connecting River Market, Downtown, Crown Center, the Plaza, and UMKC while replacing the downtown streetcar TDD.  

Will this tax add to the existing tax in Downtown?

A:

No. The Downtown Streetcar TDD will become part of this larger TDD. Downtown voters will be able to vote on August 5 and will not experience any change to their current taxes.  If the larger TDD is approved then the Downtown TDD will be terminated.

Will this tax add to the proposed three quarter cent state-wide sales tax also on the August ballot?

A:

The State of Missouri has placed a sales taxes to fund transportation efforts on the August ballot. The city has negotiated with MODOT so that a significant portion of the statewide tax will support the transportation expansion within the TDD without sales taxes within the TDD exceeding the proposed one cent increase. Voting yes on both the TDD and the statewide sales tax ensures that millions in state funding helps to support Kansas City’s transportation growth. 

Why are streetcars part of a modern transit system?

A:

A modern streetcar functions as an urban circulator with more frequent stops and simpler stop design than light rail, which typically serves more regional destinations. Streetcars have smaller vehicle size and typically operate with mixed traffic. Modern streetcar systems are simpler to construct compared to light rail, requiring less infrastructure and time. Construction of streetcar lines is usually confined to the trackway and stop locations, and has a limited impact on surrounding sidewalks or streetscape character. A modern streetcar is different from historic trolleys as modern streetcar systems employ state of the art vehicles and amenities for a quiet, clean, and efficient ride.  Click here for an example modern streetcar.

A wide range of studies and experience in other cities demonstrate that fixed rail investments like a streetcar spur new investment and development along the route in a way that bus transit does not. Fixed rail transit also attracts a broader pool of potential riders than buses. At the same time, modern streetcars are much less expensive that light rail, and create far fewer impacts from construction and operation. (www.rtd-fastracks.com/media/uploads/nm/impacts_of_rail_transif_on_property_values.pdf)

Why don’t we spend the money on more buses?

A:

This plan will enhance Kansas City’s existing bus service, create a new bus rapid transit (MAX) line on Prospect, and extend streetcar lines, making for a more connected Kansas City.

Providing more transit options gets more people using buses and streetcars. Studies show that for every 1% jump in transit usage, our economy will get a $3 million annual boost and 226 new, permanent jobs. According to the Federal Transit Administration model, Kansas City’s plan will increase transit usage by 19 percent, and it could be as high as 36 percent. That means at least $64 million annually and between 4,300 to 8,000 new, permanent jobs. The real question is - Why wouldn't we want that?

What happens if we don’t get the full federal match?

A:

The purpose of this vote is to extend streetcar service to Main Street, Linwood Boulevard, and Independence Avenue; and upgrade Prospect bus service to MAX, all to be funded and constructed as a single project.

It will create the largest single urban investment in the East Side of Kansas City as well as properly connecting River Market, Downtown, Crown Center, the Plaza, and UMKC while replacing the downtown streetcar TDD.

Kansas City is committed to unlocking millions of dollars of federal funds and the federal funds cannot be pursued unless the local funding commitments are in place. However, the city cannot collect any revenues or proceed without an approximately 50 percent match of federal funds. 

What are the boundaries of the Expansion TDD?

A:

The Expansion TDD would run from State Line Road on the west to I-435 on the east, with the Missouri River as the northern boundary. From State Line Road & 46th street, the southern boundary zig-zags east to 53rd & The Paseo, following precinct lines. It then goes south primarily on Paseo, then east on Gregory Boulevard to I-435.