Kansas City does not have to put Clay Chastain’s latest light rail proposal before voters, the Missouri Court of Appeals confirmed today.
The appellate court upheld a previous ruling by Jackson County Circuit Judge Sandra Midkiff, which said the Kansas City Council did not have to put Chastain’s 2011 petition initiative on a ballot. Midkiff found Chastain had failed to provide sufficient revenue to cover the required city funds for his proposed project.
Chastain gathered enough petition signatures in 2011 for a city ballot. He sought a 3/8-cent sales tax increase for 25 years to “help pay” the costs of a 22-mile light rail line, a 19-mile commuter-rail line and an 8 and 1/2-mile streetcar line.
But the city council said Chastain’s plan was unworkable and refused to seek voter approval. Midkiff and the appeals court said Chastain’s own information sheet admitted the sales tax would only raise about $1 billion for a $2.5 billion project.
“The trial court correctly declared that the proposed initiative ordinance is a facially unconstitutional appropriation ordinance and, as such, the City was not required to place it before the City’s voters,” the ruling states.
Chastain could not immediately be reached for comment.