Government & Politics

Freedom Inc. opposes $800 million Kansas City infrastructure bond proposal

Freedom Inc. has come out against Kansas City’s infrastructure bond proposal for streets, sidewalks, flood control, bridges and buildings.
Freedom Inc. has come out against Kansas City’s infrastructure bond proposal for streets, sidewalks, flood control, bridges and buildings. File photo

Freedom Inc., an African-American political club, has voted to oppose Kansas City’s $800 million infrastructure bond proposal on the April 4 ballot.

The group took a position against each of three questions that the city is posing on the April ballot: a $600 million bond request for streets, sidewalks and bridges; $150 million for flood control; and $50 million for a new animal shelter and other building improvements.

The city says these are crucial infrastructure projects, but it would require a modest property tax to pay for these bonds. The city says if the ballot measures fail, infrastructure problems will only get worse.

Freedom’s position is a blow to the campaign that needs 57.1 percent voter approval for the three ballot questions to pass.

“We voted not to support any of the questions,” said Gayle Holliday, spokeswoman for Freedom. “First, it’s a property tax and ongoing. It increases each year up to 20 years, and we think this is not a good time to ask people to raise that particular tax.”

Holliday noted that Freedom is backing a different question on the ballot, which seeks a citywide one-eighth-cent sales tax increase for 10 years, for economic development from Ninth Street to Gregory Boulevard and from the Paseo to Indiana Avenue. That proposal, Question 4 on the ballot, resulted from a citizens petition initiative.

Steve Glorioso, campaign director for the infrastructure bond proposal, said it still has strong grassroots support across the city, from the far north to the far south. It has been endorsed by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and Civic Council, various labor groups, Northland Neighborhoods Inc., the South Kansas City Alliance, and the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council. More campaign information is at progresskc.com.

“We’re in good shape,” Glorioso said.

Lynn Horsley: 816-226-2058, @LynnHorsley

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