KC Streetcar

Slate of Kansas City streetcar expansion supporters wins special election

The board of directors for a new streetcar district in Kansas City is set after a special election Saturday.

The 19 candidates for non-paid positions on the board of the Main Street Rail Transportation Development District included both supporters and opponents of streetcar expansion.

Seven expansion supporters who ran as a slate were the top finishers, led by former Kansas City Council members Jan Marcason, with 1,974 votes, and Cindy Circo, with 1,942.

Joining them on the board will be Ruben Alonso, 1,810 votes; David Johnson, 1,807; Jeff Krum, 1,774; Crissy Dastrup, 1,773; and Leonard Graham, 1,688.

Running as another slate were four expansion opponents: Linda Hart Tabory, Steve McCandless, Greg Allen and Ted Derks. None of them received more than about 700 votes.

Saturday’s election was just for about 35,000 registered voters living within the district, generally from the Missouri River to 53rd Street and from State Line Road to Campbell Street.  

The election was the second in a three-step process to try to build an expanded streetcar system from downtown to 51st Street and Brookside Boulevard, near the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In the first step, a mail-in election that wrapped up in August, residents approved the boundaries of the expanded streetcar district beyond downtown.

In a third election, planned for early next year, voters within the district will be asked to approve specific sales and property taxes needed to help fund expansion.

The directors will oversee the local funding generated from the streetcar district, if the new taxes are approved. But those new taxes wouldn’t be assessed until the rest of the federal funding and other money needed to build the system have been obtained.

Election Board Director Shawn Kieffer said the special election was held under a different state law than most elections, so there was more flexibility to schedule a Saturday election. He said it was a worthwhile experiment and the feedback was positive.

“It’s been a very pleasant experience for the voters,” Keiffer said Saturday morning. However, he still predicted a very light turnout, and he said holding other elections on Saturdays would require a state law change.

Voters could pick up to seven candidates. Just 2,636 residents voted in the election, meaning turnout was 7.45 percent.

One of the seven polling places was the Whole Person offices at 37th and Main streets.

Several people there said Saturday was a more convenient day to vote than the normal Tuesday option. Some said that on Tuesdays they have to vote very early, before going to work.

“It’s more relaxing, that’s for sure,” Mark Kneib said after voting Saturday morning. “You can pick your own time.”

The other candidates on the ballot were Timothy Zook, Tyler Watt, William Farrar, Quinton Shaw, Timothy Jury, Brendan Waters, Jesse Whidden and Dane Mehringer. None of them received as many as 200 votes.  

Lynn Horsley: 816-226-2058, @LynnHorsley