Track construction begins on Kansas City Streetcar’s Main Street Extension

April 7, 2022
Track construction on the streetcar extension is expected to take 2.5 years with service projected to begin in 2025.

Federal, municipal and transit officials joined to celebrate the start of track construction on the 3.5-mile KC Streetcar Main Street Extension on April 6. The $351-million project will connect the current southern terminus at Union Station to the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC).

“Investing in public transportation is investing in mobility and opportunity for Kansas Citians—creating thousands of good-paying jobs along the way—and the extension of the KC Streetcar represents the next step in our vision to make all Kansas City public transportation free and available to all,” said Kansas City (Missouri) Mayor Quinton Lucas.

The project is overseen by a joint partnership of the city of Kansas City, Mo., the KC Streetcar Authority and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority. Stakeholders said the project is a “game-changer” for Kansas City public transit with KC Streetcar Authority Executive Director Tom Gerend explaining the extension elevates the streetcar line from a downtown circulator to a regional system spine.

“Transportation infrastructure has shaped Kansas City’s landscape for the [p]ast 100 years and this transit strategy is a generational investment that puts a stake in ground that says that Kansas City is the place for people, jobs and economic opportunities,” Gerend continued.

As part of the ceremony, dignitaries and guests signed a commemorative piece of rail to mark the start of track construction.

Nearly 700 tons of rail the streetcar extension will operate on was delivered for the project in January 2022. Crews have welded the segments into 400-foot sections for installation.

The extension is being built by KC Streetcar Constructions, a joint venture between Herzog Contracting Corp. and Stacy and Witbeck with support by Burns & McDonnell and JE Dunn Construction. Final design of the Main Street Extension was led by HDR Engineering with support from local companies HNTB, Trekk Design Group, Hg Consult, Parson + Associates, Custom Engineering and Lynchpin Ideas.

In addition to the infrastructure for the streetcar to operate on, the project will renovate the existing Singleton Yard Maintenance Facility to accommodate the larger streetcar fleet and related operational and maintenance needs.

In January 2021, the Main Street Extension executed a $174.1-million Full Funding Grant Agreement with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) through the Capital Investment Grants program as a New Starts project. The FFGA represents roughly 49 percent of the cost of the project with local sources covering the remainder.

“Together, we are creating a positive impact on the everyday lives of people in this community by creating more mobility, reducing congestion and charting a course toward a cleaner future, with better air quality and healthier neighborhoods,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “These benefits are real, and they align with the Biden-Harris Administration’s values and priorities as we move toward energy independence.”

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.