Opponents of expanding Kansas City’s streetcar line have mounted an unusual effort that comes before voters Tuesday.
Question 1 on the ballot essentially would muzzle elected and city officials from working on the expansion in any way prior to it gaining citywide approval.
It’s not a measure that we can support because it would completely undercut City Hall’s essential role in studying and properly planning for proposed development.
Voters should reject the proposal.
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The question is on the ballot because backers, including a group called Smart KC, believe streetcars are too expensive, and they want the issue to be voted on by the entire city.
Both are topics that deserve further discussion.
But the measure also imposes a fine of $1,000 per day on city officials who do any work on the proposed streetcar expansion. That aspect of Question 1 would penalize city workers for performing their jobs: laying the groundwork for city-sponsored efforts. It’s not a rational approach.
This ballot question should not be confused with the process that allows voters within certain geographic boundaries to vote to expand the streetcar line. In a vote that was certified Friday, those voters decided to allow the creation of a transportation development district to fund the expansion.
Those same voters will decide later whether to approve funding the project, which would take the line now running from the River Market to Union Station further south to the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
If Question 1 passes, that process will grind to a halt and possibly immerse the city in a legal battle.
Vote no on Question 1 to avert that bad outcome.