KSHB Channel 41'sChris Hernandez and The Kansas City Star are reporting this afternoon that Kansas City will not receive the $25 million TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation that would pay for much of the proposed downtown streetcar line.
The grant would have funded one-quarter of the estimated $100 million streetcar line that would run along Main Street from River Market to Crown Center. It isn't clear how the loss of the federal money will affect the streetcar's future. Ballots are being mailed today to downtown residents - 555 of roughly 6,000 eligible voters - who will vote on whether to form a special downtown taxing district that would help pay for construction of the 2.2-mile line.
The Star reports that Mayor Sly James hasn't received a final confirmation of the rejection. But he told the paper, "We're not quitting."
Calls to James' office and to Rep. Emanuel Cleaver's communications director were not immediately returned.
Update: Mayor Sly James released a statement this afternoon addressing the grant. "We are obviously disappointed, but not deterred. Kansas City is not giving up on this project. We move forward immediately by applying for an grant under the revised Small Starts program of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and will continue to get our local financing package firmly in place. We may not have gotten this grant, but we will keep working to make this a reality in the very near term," he said.
James also signaled that more local funding could be put toward the street car.
"It is increasingly clear in today's political and economic climate in Washington - if we want something done we will need to do it ourselves. We can and will make this happen," he said.
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