The Kansas City Council has followed the North Kansas City Council this week in agreeing to jointly fund a study into the feasibility of taking streetcars north of the Missouri River.
The agreement was expected a few weeks ago, but then the North Kansas City Council delayed its vote to allow for more citizen input. On Tuesday, the North Kansas City Council voted 8-0 in favor of the study after hearing generally positive comments from residents about the potential long-term benefits, said North Kansas City Administrator Matt Shatto.
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“I think the city is very excited about what it will bring to the community,” Shatto said. “We have a long way to go, but this is a great first step.”
On Thursday, the Kansas City Council also approved the agreement. Each city will provide up to $250,000 for a study that is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
The study follows Kansas City’s decision to build a downtown streetcar system along a two-mile route from River Market to near Union Station.
The new study, to be done in partnership with the Mid-America Regional Council, will look at whether running streetcars over the river is feasible, how much it would cost, where it would be located, how many riders might use the system and the economic development impact.
The city also is studying other possible extensions south of the river, including from Union Station south to the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Kansas City Councilman Jim Glover said Thursday’s vote sets the stage for a historic project, just as development of the Hannibal Bridge over the river in the 1860s helped establish Kansas City as a major city and rail center.
“It can’t be a citywide system unless we go north of the river,” Glover said of the planned streetcar extensions.