Tuesday, January 09, 2018

KC Streetcar expansion plan gets FTA boost

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A KC Streetcar CAF Urbos 3 vehicle in Kansas City, Mo., southbound on Main Street three days before the system opened for service. A KC Streetcar CAF Urbos 3 vehicle in Kansas City, Mo., southbound on Main Street three days before the system opened for service. Jason Doss via Wikipedia

Federal regulators have approved a major step forward for development of a planned expansion of the streetcar system in Kansas City.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), in partnership with the Kansas City Streetcar Authority (KCSA) and the City of Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO), said it received official authorization from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to move the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension project into the “Project Development” phase.

“Project Development” is the phase where project details will be developed including refined capital and operating costs; estimating ridership and other benefits; assessing environmental impacts, and developing a detailed funding plan for the streetcar extension. It includes work being done now by a team of consultants led by HDR, Inc. which is being jointly funded by the KCSA and KCATA.

The fare-free streetcar, utilizing four CAF Urbos 3 Model 100 vehicles and operated by Herzog Transit Services, opened its downtown route in May, 2016, at a projected cost of $102 million. Robust ridership led to an order in 2017 for two additional Urbos streetcars from CAF, for $12 million.

“We are thrilled to work with the KCSA, Kansas City, Missouri, the recently formed Transportation Development District and the community to move this project forward,” said Robbie Makinen, KCATA president and chief executive. “An extension of the KC Streetcar south is an important part of the region’s plan for improved service and we’re looking forward to making it a reality.”

“KC Streetcar’s downtown starter line has proven its worth and this Main Street extension will further strengthen our investment while connecting our most dense neighborhoods and business centers in a new and exciting way,” said Tom Gerend, KCSA executive director. “We thank KCATA for their support.”s

“FTA’s authorization is an important and necessary step if federal funding is ever to be secured for the streetcar extension” said KCATA’s Richard Jarrold, Senior Vice President Strategic Planning and Economic Development. “While it is not a commitment of federal funds, it is the U.S. Department of Transportation’s recognition of the streetcar extension project and it places Kansas City’s streetcar extension on their list of projects that could be considered for future funding.”

In addition to the FTA requirements, this phase of the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension project will focus on:

• Data collection (utilities, current conditions, etc.)

• Refining alignment details (curb-running/center-running)

• Station stop locations and terminus configuration

• Plan for coordinated regional transit service integration

• Updated cost estimates

• Initiation of the federal rating and funding process

The KC Streetcar Main Street Extension project will build upon the downtown streetcar service and will support work required to further develop and advance the southern extension towards the University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC). The primary area for this effort extends from downtown Kansas City and Union Station, south to UMKC in the vicinity of 51st and Brookside Boulevard. The area is generally bounded on the west by Broadway Boulevard and on the east by Gillham Road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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