Construction on the streetcar expansion route has finally begun.
Last week, the Kansas City Streetcar Authority broke ground on the $351 million project that will add 3.5 miles of track to the existing system and add eight more streetcars. Upon completion, it’s expected to see about 12,000 riders each day.
The streetcar system, which currently starts at 3rd and Grand Boulevard in the River Market and runs south to Pershing Road and Main Street at Union Station, will extend along Main Street to 51st and Brookside Boulevard at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Volker Campus.
“The extension of the Kansas City Streetcar to our doorstep will take things to another level entirely,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal said at the streetcar extension groundbreaking event. “As the new southern destination for this ultra-modern system of free public transportation, UMKC sees endless possibilities for the university, and the community it serves.”
Officials expect the project will be ready for operation in 2025 and will continue to have free fare for riders.
During construction, an estimated 340 jobs will be created and once operational, there will be nearly 100 jobs in transit operations, safety and maintenance.
“Investing in public transportation is investing in mobility and opportunity for Kansas Citians – creating thousands of good-paying jobs along the way – and the extension of the KC Streetcar represents the next step in our vision to make all Kansas City public transportation free and available to all,” said Mayor Quinton Lucas.
Last year, the city received a $174.1 million federal transportation grant, which will help pay for a portion of the extension expenses. The city will also use revenue from a sales tax that was approved by voters in 2018, which adds a 1% sales tax on items sold in the Main Street Rail Transportation Development District.
“Together, we are creating a positive impact on the everyday lives of people in this community by creating more mobility, reducing congestion and charting a course toward a cleaner future, with better air quality and healthier neighborhoods,” said Federal Transit Administration Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “These benefits are real, and they align with the Biden-Harris Administration’s values and priorities as we move toward energy independence.”