Kansas City receives $51 million in federal funding for streetcar extension

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KC Streetcar. // Courtesy KC Streetcar

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration would allocate a total of $400 million to four transit infrastructure projects across the country on Wednesday.

Receiving some of that sweet money is Kansas City, as the streetcar extension gets $50.8 million to help extend the route from Union Station to UMKC.

The project is one of four advancing towards readiness to receive a Full Funding Grant Agreement under the FTA’s Capital Investment Grants program. The projects, also including sites in Phoenix, Gary, IN., and Hudson County, NJ, must meet additional requirements in law before a grant can be rewarded.

“This $400 million federal investment will help ensure that critical updates can be made to our country’s public transit systems so they remain safe and operational,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao says in a press release.

“These critical rail transit infrastructure projects will help communities improve transit service as they continue to address the impacts of COVID-19 and recover from this public health emergency,” FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams added.

The extension is currently in the design phase. The timeline has the city’s water department beginning construction on much-needed water and sewer upgrades in the Fall. Following that, the current schedule estimates streetcar construction beginning in late 2021 or early 2022, and the opening of the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension system in 2025.

“The significance of today’s federal funding announcement for the KC Streetcar cannot be overstated,” Tom Gerend, executive director of the KC Streetcar Authority, says. “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.

The streetcar project team anticipates receiving $174 million in federal funding to complete the extension.

What was once a dream project is quickly turning into reality, and we hope to see further expansion as KC develops infrastructure for quickly expanding Metro.

Categories: Politics