- Associated Press - Thursday, January 5, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Kansas City group is pushing to require a citywide referendum before any expansion of the city’s streetcar system can happen.

The group filed petition signatures with the city clerk’s office Tuesday. The city attorney’s office will review the petition to make sure it’s legal, the Kansas City Star reported (https://bit.ly/2hVx9yK ).

Election authorities will see if the group meets the threshold of 1,708 valid signatures of registered voters to place a measure on a Kansas City ballot.

The petitions look to “enact restrictions on requesting, implementing, advancing, furthering, funding or fostering any plan or study to construct any fixed rail transit system or to expand the existing fixed rail transit system” without first going to a citywide vote.

City Attorney Cecilia Abbott said former City Attorney Bill Geary reviewed a preliminary petition last summer and made suggestions about its wording. She said she doesn’t know if all those suggestions were incorporated, so she’ll review the petition language to see if it’s constitutional. The city attorney’s office has cautioned in the past against language interfering with transit plans.

The newspaper couldn’t reach Sherry DeJanes, an attorney and member of the group of petitioners, for comment.

The petition appears to be aimed at a streetcar expansion proposal authorized by Jackson County Circuit Court seeking to expand the existing streetcar route 3.75 miles south on Main Street. Streetcar expansion supporters want to create a streetcar taxing district around Main Street, but the vote scheduled for the first election this summer would only involve voters within the proposed district boundaries instead of the entire city.

David Johnson, a spokesman for those who favor expansion, said Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the latest petition to get very far.


Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com

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