Clay Chastain’s latest light rail plan appears headed to November ballot

Once again, a proposed light rail plan from Clay Chastain is headed to the Kansas City election.

Chastain, a transportation activist known for collecting signatures in support of light rail in Kansas City, gathered more than the 1,709 valid petition signatures needed to place a measure on a Kansas City ballot. His plan seeks three sales taxes totaling three-quarter cents for 25 years each to help construct a light rail and electric bus system from Kansas City International Airport to the Cerner campus in south Kansas City and from Union Station to the Truman Sports Complex.

Three-eighths of the sales taxes in the ballot proposal would be a citywide tax increase beginning in 2017, and three-eighths would be diverted from the city’s bus system beginning in 2024, depriving the bus system of about $26 million per year.

City Attorney Bill Geary said Chastain’s latest proposal could well be illegal but is not “unconstitutional on its face,” so under the city charter it should be put to voters Nov. 8.

“Put this on the November ballot and see what happens,” Geary told the City Council’s Finance and Government Committee on Wednesday. The full council votes on the ballot language July 28.

Read more: Kansas City Star

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