Kansas City streetcars making comeback after 6-decade hiatus

A city that once had one of the nation’s largest streetcar networks is preparing to launch a smaller, modern version that supporters say will shape development for years to come.

Kansas City is celebrating the opening of its 2.2-mile streetcar line on Friday with street parties, speeches and fireworks. The starter line runs from Union Station near Crown Center to the River Market, a few blocks from the Missouri River.

Advocates say the $102 million project will draw people to the city’s downtown and boost development. City officials plan to add three extensions if they can find a way to fund them.

At its height in the 1920s, Kansas City’s streetcar network featured more than 700 registered streetcars traveling on 300 miles of track. Its last streetcar quit running in 1957.

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