Federal-city partnership supports billions in financing for infrastructure projects to create sustainable solutions and reconnect communities
KANSAS CITY, MO – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today established a strategic partnership to enhance innovative delivery and finance infrastructure improvements in Kansas City, Missouri. The Emerging Projects Agreement (agreement) focuses on Kansas City’s more than $15 billion network of projects designed to improve mobility, connectivity, safety and equity throughout the region. The partnership will help spur work for an east-west Streetcar extension to connect underserved communities with healthcare, jobs, and the heart of Kansas City.
“This Department is always ready to partner with cities to help realize their unique visions for safer, cleaner, more modern transportation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “I’ve had the chance to see firsthand the great strides Kansas City is taking to modernize their infrastructure, and this agreement will help advance that work for years to come.”
“My administration is proud to have a strong partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation to help us improve the lives of Kansas Citians and I am thrilled about our collaboration to bring billions of dollars to our community to make improvements, including reconnecting communities once torn apart by highway construction, creating a rapid transit system from the airport to the urban core, and making critical repairs to our bridges, ultimately creating a safer, more interconnected Kansas City for generations,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas. “I am proud our federal partnerships continue to allow us to make transformational, positive impacts in our community, and I thank the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Build America Bureau for helping us find long-term solutions to ensure Kansas Citians are able to travel to all areas of our community safely, efficiently, and equitably.”
Under the agreement, the Build America Bureau (Bureau) and Kansas City will explore opportunities for innovative project planning, procurement, financing, and delivery that could include using low-interest rate financing such as the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans, Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF), Private Activity Bonds (PABs), and technical assistance grants.
“This agreement formalizes our collaborative effort to explore innovative approaches and best practices with Kansas City’s officials. We have formed a strong partnership to deliver this program effectively and efficiently,” said Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian. “Together, we will advance these critical projects in innovative and sustainable ways so we can ensure the continued mobility and economic health of this thriving community.”
Some of the projects that could benefit from this partnership include:
- A fixed, 21-mile rail line from the airport to connect travelers, visitors, and employees to downtown Kansas City and the core of the city’s transportation systems ($10.5 billion).
- Bi-State Streetcar Expansion, an East-West Streetcar extension connecting underserved communities with healthcare, jobs, and to the heart of the city ($1.5 billion).
- Reconnecting The Eastside, a study of the Highway 71 corridor to address the scars and displacement this corridor has left on historic Black neighborhoods ($1.6 billion).
- Reconnecting The Westside, a study of the I-35 corridor to address the disruption caused by the viaduct and connect Kansas City’s historic Hispanic communities to the downtown Central Business District ($1.5 billion).
- Construction of an urban park at Interstate 670 to add green space and remove the divide created by the construction of the highway ($314 million).
- Bridge critical repairs or replacement city-wide ($147 million).
- Blue River Watershed safety and connectivity improvements, including economic and workforce development and neighborhood reinvestment programs. ($123 million).
- Vision Zero city-wide safety and connectivity improvements for all modes of transportation and every user ($75 million).
Build America Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas signed the agreement at a ceremony at the Barkley Building in downtown Kansas City, which was formerly the Trans World Airlines (TWA) headquarters until 1964. The Barkley Building is located next to the Kansas City Streetcar line.
The Bureau and Kansas City held a workshop with stakeholders in August to review infrastructure needs and help identify potential innovative solutions. DOT and Kansas City consider infrastructure projects on their public benefits and in a manner that promotes equity and environmental justice.
The Build America Bureau advances investment in transportation infrastructure by lending Federal funds to qualified borrowers, clearing roadblocks for credit worthy projects, and encouraging best practices in project planning, financing, delivery, and operations. The Bureau draws on expertise across DOT to serve as the point of coordination for states, municipalities, private partners, and other project sponsors seeking Federal financing.