No decision came Monday morning in a court hearing on a Kansas City transit proposal by Clay Chastain.
Another hearing is scheduled for June 12, which comes after next week’s deadline to get on the August ballot.
Chastain allies said that was fine with them. They said the November election, when voter turnout is higher, might work better for their cause.
While the city gears up for its Aug. 5 streetcar election, Chastain has been trying to get his 2011 initiative petition on a Kansas City ballot.
Chastain proposes a 3/8-cent citywide sales tax for 25 years to pay partial costs of a 22-mile light-rail line, a 19-mile commuter rail line and an 81/2 mile streetcar line. The Kansas City Council had declined to put it on a ballot, arguing that Chastain’s proposal didn't raise enough money to cover the costs and therefore was unconstitutional.
But in February the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that Chastain’s plan was not unconstitutional and it would not require the city to build the project but only to raise money through two taxes.
The high court expressed no opinion on the merits of Chastain’s proposal. Among the remaining issues is the ballot language, if Circuit Court Judge Sandra Midkiff clears the way for placing the issue before the voters.
The city argues that it would be under no obligation to use the money to fund Chastain’s plan, were voters to approve it. But Chastain’s lawyer told Midkiff that defying the voters’ intent would be “a political decision” with consequences.
A previous City County declined to implement the only one of Chastain’s several ballot issues to win voter approval.
That 2006 plan called for no tax increase. Instead, it would have shifted revenue from an existing bus tax. The council killed the plan, in part, because that funding change would have hurt the bus system.