The KC Streetcar Authority has secured full funding for its 3.5-mile Main Street Extension Project with the announcement of a $174 million award from the U.S. Department of Transportation through its New Starts Capital Investment Grants Program for the project.
The award, accounts for over half of the streetcar’s total cost, is the third federal grant the extension project has received this year. In August, the Streetcar Authority received $50.8 million in federal funding for the project from the Department of Transportation Federal Transit Authority. Just a month later, the streetcar also secured a $14.2 million federal grant for a northbound extension to the Berkley Riverfront.
“[The Streetcar] is at a very attractive part of the project,” KC Streetcar Authority Communications Director Donna Mandelbaum says. “We have a great existing downtown streetcar, and its success plus the future economic development slated for Midtown and Main Street has definitely helped our application.”
The north and southbound extensions are “building the spine” of a regional transit system that will connect to the city’s RideKC bus system, Mandelbaum says.
Streetcar Authority Executive Director Tom Gerend has also said an east and west expansion of the streetcar could be possible once the north-south line is completed.
The Streetcar Authority hopes to begin construction of the Main Street Extension in early 2022 and open in late 2024 to early 2025.
The current 2.2.-mile downtown lines run along Main Street between the River Market and Union Station and opened in May of 2016. In 2019, 2.2. million riders used the streetcar, a 5.5% increase from 2018.