December 23, 2013

Kansas City’s Ghost Of Streetcars Yet To Come

Just as with the airport, another ghost of Christmas Future is visiting Kansas City, this time regarding streetcars. According to The Wall Street Journal:

A Cincinnati streetcar project, embroiled in controversy in recent years over cost overruns and management, faces an uncertain future after Tuesday’s election ushered in a new mayor who vowed to halt the project that has tied up $148 million of city funds.

Mayor-elect John Cranley, a Democrat who ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility that included stopping the project, won about 58% of the votes tallied, according to unofficial results from the Hamilton County Board of Elections. He beat out current Vice-Mayor Roxanne Qualls, also a Democrat, who supported the project.

Since then, things have become more, well, political. The Associated Press reports that the outgoing city council is trying to erect roadblocks to keep the new council from exercising its power to stop the project.

How long will it be before Kansas City, awash with cost overruns and mismanagement, regrets forcing the streetcar on taxpayers in “the single-most undemocratic election in Kansas City since the Pendergast era?” When Ebeneezer Scrooge looked upon the headstone that the third ghost showed to him, he proclaimed:

“Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead. But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me.”

Let’s hope Kansas City’s leaders depart from the current course, lest we find ourselves in Cincinnati’s position.

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