A Kansas City group has gathered sufficient petition signatures to seek a citywide vote before any streetcar expansion can occur, City Clerk Marilyn Sanders said Tuesday.
Sanders said election authorities counted more than the 1,708 valid signatures required for a Kansas City election ballot.
But the city attorney’s office is still reviewing the petition initiative to see if it’s legal and passes constitutional muster.
The petitions seek to “enact restrictions on requesting, implementing, advancing, furthering, funding or fostering any plan or study to construct any fixed rail transit system or to expand the existing fixed rail transit system” without first putting the matter to a citywide vote.
The Kansas City Council is unlikely to act on this petition by Jan. 19, which is the deadline to approve measures for the April 4 ballot. So even if it does eventually go on a Kansas City ballot, the earliest would likely be August.
The petition appears to be aimed at stymieing a streetcar expansion election plan already authorized by the Jackson County Circuit Court. That proposal seeks to expand the existing downtown streetcar route 3.75 miles south on Main Street from Union Station to 51st and Brookside Boulevard, near the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Streetcar expansion advocates want to establish a streetcar taxing district in the vicinity of Main Street, and the first election, by mail, is scheduled to take place between May and July. That court-authorized election would not be a citywide vote and would only involve registered voters within the proposed streetcar district boundaries.