Kansas City Approves One Man's Light Rail Plan

<p>Kansas City voters approved a light rail plan that was opposed by the regional transit agency -- who called it a fantasy and ungrounded in reality.</p>
November 9, 2006, 2pm PST | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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A former resident, now living in Virginia, placed his seventh petition initiative before voters on Kansas City, Missouri, ballots during the recent November 7th election.

Voters approved his plan in a surprise win despite serious doubts about the plan's viability. His proposal extends a 3/8-cent sales tax that was passed in 2003 to stave off severe bus service cuts. Instead of going toward that existing bus service, the sales tax would, beginning in 2009, be used for "a 27-mile light-rail line, electric shuttle buses and a gondola tram."

"The measure was opposed by Kansas City's entire political establishment, along with the Area Transportation Authority and the Regional Transit Alliance, which said Chastain had grossly underestimated the costs of his plan and overestimated the chances for federal matching money. Opponents also said that diverting the sales tax to light rail would cripple the local bus system, which currently receives that tax money."

Thanks to Heidi Schallberg

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Published on Wednesday, November 8, 2006 in The Kansas City Star
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