Jackson County to possibly consider sales tax for streetcar - KCTV5

Jackson County to possibly consider sales tax to support streetcar plan

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Some people are saying Wednesday's yes vote on the downtown streetcar line is a victory. But the following day there was news that Jackson County may consider a sales tax to help support the streetcar plan.

A Jackson County spokesman stressed over the phone Thursday that a countywide sales tax is merely an idea right now, even short of being called a proposal. But he said it could support a transportation system beyond the downtown skyline - it could also support the downtown streetcar system city lawmakers celebrated the progress of a day before.

Many are excited about the two-mile, $100 million downtown streetcar line.

"People are going to want more," said Kansas City Streetcar Authority Chairman Tom Traybon on Wednesday.

Traybon said the two-mile line, paid in part by a 1-cent sales tax increase within the route, can stand on its own, but countywide support would be even better.

"As a responsibility to the constituents in the transportation district there won't be a piggy-backing of sales tax meaning, if county has a tax, it will replace our tax," he said.

A Jackson County spokesman said the idea is to possibly have one sales tax countywide for a bigger transportation system involving buses, rails and trails and some of that money would go back to the city to support the streetcar.

"If this is put up to a countywide vote, it's not going to pass," Sue Burke, owner of Kansas City Air Filter in the Rivermarket, said.

Burke is a longtime opponent of the rail transportation system, but she agrees with a possible county voting process and said leaving the vote to all taxpayers is the right thing to do.

"It is a fair process, it's totally a fair process, even if the streetcar thing was put to everyone in Kansas City," she said.

Even with the hypothetical countywide plan, Burke said she's still looking to move her business away from the streetcar and the taxes that come with it.

While Jackson County officials said the countywide transportation plan is merely a conversation right now, they assure residents inside the downtown transportation development district, they will not be taxed twice for any future projects.

Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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