Transportation activist Clay Chastain and his supporters have turned in more than enough signatures to qualify for an election on a streetcar expansion plan.
The Kansas City clerk’s office was notified by election officials Tuesday that the petition effort garnered 1,835 valid signatures. The number required under the city charter was 1,708.
The next step is to notify the mayor and City Council. The next legislative meeting is Jan. 12. Elected officials must decide, with advice from the city attorney, whether to place the streetcar proposal on a ballot for a public vote.
The council doesn’t have to act on petitions for 60 days, so it could wait until after the Jan. 19 deadline to place items on the April ballot. City officials want to focus on an $800 million infrastructure bond package on that ballot.
Chastain said Tuesday by phone from his home in Virginia that the council would be acting in bad faith if they did not place his petition on the April ballot.
The streetcar plan would ask voters to approve a 3/8 -cent citywide sales tax 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 Chastain’s 10th Kansas City ballot measure in 20 years.
The Chastain plan is separate from a pending $227 million proposal put forth by a group of transit advocates 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 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.