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Voters approve new taxing district for Kansas City streetcar expansion

BY LYNN HORSLEY lhorsley@kcstar.com

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Voters have approved the creation of a new taxing district that could eventually lead to expansion of the downtown streetcar system to the University of Missouri Kansas City.

The vote was 2,458 in favor of and 1,048 against the formation of an expanded streetcar taxing district past downtown along the Main Street corridor through midtown. The vote came after an unusual mail-in ballot process, and the election results were certified Friday at the Kansas City Election Board offices.

“This was critical, because if this didn’t pass, the whole thing was stopped in its tracks,” said David Johnson, a key proponent of streetcar expansion.

 But this is just the first step in a three-step process to actually build the expanded rail system south from Union Station for 3.75 miles to 51st and Brookside. This vote establishes the transportation development district boundaries to help pay for streetcar expansion. Two more elections are required: to elect a streetcar district board and to approve the specific local sales and property taxes needed to help fund the expansion, which is estimated to cost about $227 million.

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