Clay Chastain promised this fall that if his November ballot measure failed with Kansas City voters, he was done with his light-rail schemes.
He also said prior to the November election that streetcars were a poor substitute for light rail.
But now that voters resoundingly rejected his November ballot measure, he’s already back pushing for another Kansas City election, this time for streetcar expansion.
On Tuesday, a volunteer working with Chastain, who declined to give his name, turned in close to 1,800 signatures to the city clerk’s office. Election authorities must verify if the petitions have the 1,708 valid signatures required. Then the City Council will have to determine if it should go on a future city ballot.
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Chastain, who lives nearly full time in Bedford, Va., said in an email Tuesday that he was seeking a 3/8 -cent citywide sales tax increase for 25 years to help fund a $1 billion, 26-mile streetcar system, building on the city’s 2.2-mile streetcar starter route. This would be his 10th Kansas City ballot measure in 20 years.
This latest plan is less expensive than Chastain’s $2 billion, 40-mile light rail plan, which Kansas City rejected Nov. 8 — 60 percent against to 40 percent in favor.
But it is considerably more expensive than a pending $227 million proposal put forth by a grass-roots group of transit activists in Kansas City. That proposal seeks to extend the downtown streetcar a few more miles south to the University of Missouri-Kansas City. A mail-in election is already scheduled between May and July next year within a proposed Main Street Corridor transportation development district to determine if that streetcar plan can move forward.