Opponents of streetcar line say tax to pay for it is unfair - KCTV5

Opponents of streetcar line say tax to pay for it is unfair

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Utility work for the downtown streetcar line is set to begin along Main Street near Union Station later this month, but a new lawsuit is challenging whether the funding for the streetcar is legal.

"The lawsuit is about these funding mechanisms and about whether it's legal, it's right, it's fair for these types of mechanisms to be placed on taxpayers and property owners in Kansas City in this way. That's what we hope to get a favorable legal conclusion about," attorney for the plaintiffs Mark Bredemeier said.

Bredemeier represents Sue Anne Burke and Jeffrey Rumaner - both business owners in the Downtown Streetcar Transportation Development District or TDD. Bredemeier said their rights as property owners were violated because they weren't allowed to vote in this fall's election that allowed a one-cent sales tax and a property tax increase.

"You had several hundred people vote by mail, most of whom we believe have no direct financial interest in property assessments, and those are the people who determined the outcome in this," Bredemeier said. "The way it was structured, the election process that took place for the funding mechanism this past fall did not give property owners those rights."

He said the lawsuit is purely about the funding.

"It's not an attack on mass transit, it's not even an attack on this particular streetcar proposal," Bredemeier said.

He also questions the legality of stacking the streetcar one-percent sales tax on top of the existing power and light district one-cent sales tax.

"We believe there is a legal problem with that. We want a court decision on that," he said.

KCTV5's Justin Schmidt spoke with several members of the streetcar authority, which will run the streetcar. They said it's too early to tell what, if any, affect the lawsuit will have on the construction of the line.

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