Chastain plans new light rail, charter initiatives

   Clay Chastain says a local petitioners' committee will start collecting signatures soon to force another citywide vote on a light rail plan.

   Chastain's idea:  Raise the city sales tax 3/8ths of a cent for 25 years, providing $1.25 billion for a light rail spine from KCI to Lee's Summit, about 35 miles.

    "You've got to try to go for it," Chastain said.  "The alternative is to give up...I've got to believe we should expect more from ourselves."

    The sales tax would cover less than half the cost of building light rail and the other amenities Chastain proposes, including a 12-mile inner city "street cars," electric buses, and improvements to Penn Valley park.

   So the plan -- which assumes light rail costs of $43 million per mile, which may be low considering the need to cross the river -- includes funding from a variety of other sources over the next 25 years.

read more