Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx was in town Friday to celebrate the $20 million federal TIGER grant that Kansas City's planned streetcar line received. And Foxx was full of congratulatory bluster in his remarks about the two-mile line, saying, "The community has its act together in a big way." Thanks, pal! (Just ignore the ongoing drama regarding bidding on the $100 million project.)
But it was Mayor Sly James who said the most curious thing during the rah-rah back-slap fest. According to the Star, James said that new streetcar projects would pop up in other parts of town in the years to come. The paper quotes him as saying that, with streetcar lines in various parts of town, "We will unite this city in a way that it has never been united before."
Uh, did James forget that Kansas City once had a thriving, citywide streetcar system?
See the picture above (super-high-resolution image here). The red lines indicate the streetcar lines in Kansas City in 1920. Something tells me we're never going to reach that level of streetcar connectedness again.