No expansion…for now

Posted August 5, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Joe Jarosz
Northeast News
Aug. 5, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — On Tuesday, voters finally got to voice their opinion on whether or not they want the streetcar project to extend into three additional lines, including along Independence Avenue in the Historic Northeast.

After the votes were counted, Northeast residents, and registered voters in the proposed Transportation Development Districts, said they did not want a streetcar in their area. Polls in Missouri closed at 7 p.m. and by 9:30 p.m., Mayor Sly James conceded the contest to the streetcar opposition.

On the ballot, question A asked for voters’ approval to create a taxing district to help pay for expanding the streetcar system beyond downtown. With 14,259 votes, the measure failed 61 percent to 39 percent.  If the measure had passed, voters would have faced a similar question in November to decide specific sales and property tax increases to fund the streetcar route expansion.

At a watch party at the Main Street and Linwood Boulevard Gates Bar B.Q., James thanked those who supported Phase II of the streetcar and congratulated those who opposed the additional light rail. However, the mayor added the measure isn’t over “by any stretch of the imagination.”

“The public has spoken very distinctly,” James said. “The loss tonight stings a little but this isn’t the first time that rail has lost in this city. The good thing is we succeeded with the first part.”

James believed there was a lot more “election noise” in the air than the city anticipated, noting the state amendments were not on the ballot when the city announced the TDD Phase II measure.

“I think we got lost in the noise on an issues that’s rather complex,” James said. “