KC officials must keep their streetcar promises
The Kansas City Star
Mayor Sly James and all the other streetcar supporters practically challenged downtown Kansas Citians to approve higher sales and property taxes to build a two-mile system.
Mission accomplished. On Wednesday afternoon James announced that voters had approved both taxes - 63 percent for the 1-cent higher sales tax and 60 percent for the larger property tax.
“We are going to have a streetcar in Kansas City by June of 2015,” James said.
As a supporter of the project - but a critic of the shoddy way the election was set up to exclude about 3,000 of 3,600 downtown area voters - here’s my take:
It’s time for Kansas City officials to keep their promises.
Start construction in June of 2013. Get it rolling in 2015. Make sure it’s free to riders to boost use.
And, above all, keep pressing for new development along the line in the form of new offices and new housing units.
Get people out of their cars. Replace some of the downtown parking lots with - gasp - buildings.
The streetcar vote helps make downtown Kansas City “cool” with a number of people, especially the young entrepreneurs looking for a place to go.
As James pointed out Wednesday, Kansas City must have things like the streetcar to attract talented people from the next generation.
First, though, it must be built, and James, City Council member Russ Johnson and other supporters must keep their pledges to make that happen.