May 15, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The Jackson County Court has approved. Next, residents get to vote.
On Thursday, Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Marco Roldan ruled that the new transportation development district is legal. He also ruled the funding for the TDD is “neither illegal or unconstitutional.”
Chris Hernandez, deputy director of the city’s communications office, said the city welcomes the judge’s ruling. He added the city can now move ahead to the next step, “which is putting this decision about the future of Kansas City’s streetcar system in the hands of the voters.”
“It will now be a neighborhood decision, in which the people who live in the neighborhoods most directly affected by the streetcar expansion can decide for themselves,” Hernandez said. The first election will take place on August 5, 2014. The first election will ask voters if they approve the formation of the TDD. If the voters say approve, then in November, voters will be asked to vote on the approval of the funding streams.
“It’s a two step process,” Hernandez said.
The expansion includes additional service lines along Independence Avenue from downtown to Benton Boulevard, Linwood Boulevard East to Prospect Avenue and South on Main Street to the campus of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The cost estimate for the expansion is around $500 million. Funding for phase two of the streetcar system will be similar to the downtown system – a combination of a sales tax in the district, a special assessment on property within one-third mile of the rail lines and federal or state matching funds.
“The purpose of having the election now is because the strongest federal funding goes to communities that have already shown a strong local commitment,” Hernandez said.
To read the full decision, visit https://www.courts.mo.gov/fv/c/1416-CV02152+In+re+KC+Urban+Rail+TDD+Judgment_FINAL.pdf?l=SMPDB0017_CT16&di=5327931. Read more on the decision in next week’s edition of the Northeast News.