December 17, 2012

As Expected, Kansas City’s Mail-In Streetcar Vote Wins

We knew this was going to happen, but let’s put this in perspective. About 550 people voted by mail on a measure to raise taxes by at least $100 million in Kansas City’s newly created streetcar district. Of those 550 people, about 350 voted for the taxes. The vote means that each “yes” vote essentially imposed about $300,000 in new taxes on property owners and shoppers along the streetcar’s route over the next couple decades, and that is a low estimate.

So, “Merry Christmas,” shop owners. You will be paying for a giant boondoggle of a toy train for the foreseeable future.

Downtown Kansas City voters gave an “all aboard” OK to streetcars in election results announced Wednesday.

Voters approved, 351 to 198, a 1-cent sales tax increase, and 344 to 206 property tax increases to help pay for a $100 million, two-mile streetcar system. It will run from River Market to Union Station, primarily on Main Street.

The tax increases, authorized for 25 years, will apply only within the defined boundaries of a downtown streetcar district. That covers roughly River Market, the Central Business District, the Crossroads and Crown Center.

Show-Me Institute Chairman Crosby Kemper was interviewed on Fox 4 last week, and his concerns about the manner of the vote and the potential for cost overruns are very much warranted here.

The outcome of the vote is an unfortunate, but expected, result. Regardless, there is reason to believe this story is not over quite yet. Stay tuned.

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