Many cities have found streetcars to be expensive and inefficient. Communities that have implemented streetcar systems report:
- Over-budget construction fees
- Annual budget shortfalls
- Lack of transparency – the public doesn’t always know where the money goes, or even where it’s coming from
Kansas City isn’t learning from other cities. Our leaders are too busy trying to raise taxes before they even have a budget in place.
Streetcars are a dangerous financial gamble. Danish economists studied 258 large transportation projects across Europe and North America. They found 86% of all projects go over budget – and rail projects are the worst offenders. The average rail project cost overrun is 45%.
Kansas City doesn’t even have a final budget in place for its proposed streetcar expansion.
Then, there’s the question of whether streetcars make sense in the first place.
Joshua Schank is president and CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation, a Washington think tank. Schank told the “Cincinnati Enquirer,” “[Streetcar] projects are well-intentioned, but they don’t make a whole lot of sense from a transportation point of view. There’s no real advantage of a streetcar over a bus …”