I stumbled across an interesting and revealing exchange on Twitter this morning.
The link that I sent them was to a Kansas City Business Journal story from January saying that the Main Street bridge over I-670 was suddenly too old to bear the weight of the street cars and would need to be replaced. The money is not coming from the new street car taxation district but most rather from the city’s capital improvement budget.
Sean Demory, a spokesman for the Kansas City Public Works Department, said the project is slated to cost $3.6 million, with $200,000 coming from unidentified federal funds and the remainder from the Capital Improvement Program. Demory said no money collected from the Kansas City Downtown Streetcar Transportation Development District will be used.
So $3.4 million city dollars to replace a bridge that Councilman Johnson said would not have to be replaced. Yet the plans for a new bridge were being drawn up almost immediately after the line was approved by voters. So clearly someone knew before ballots were cast. If we knew in advance, why was the expense not part of the original proposal? Why do the funds have to come out of capital improvements funds that are needed elsewhere. Was this omission intentional or simply incompetence?
And some wonder why we are questioning the competency and honesty of the airport proposal.
By the way, if you want to see what an unexpected $3.6 million bridge looks like, click here.