KC Streetcar seeks federal OK to advance extension

News Wire Digest second section: California high speed rail faces challenges over need for subsidy; BNSF to clean up toxic waste at Iowa site
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More Wednesday morning rail news:

Kansas City streetcar extension receives FTA go-ahead
Kansas City, Mo., has received clearance from the Federal Transit Agency to advance to the next phase of the planned KC Streetcar Main Street Extension. The Streetcar Authority announced Tuesday that that FTA approved the project to enter the New Starts Engineering phase of the FTA Capital Investment Grants program. In a press release, the agency said this “does not yet represent a federal funding commitment but is a significant milestone that moves the project into the final phase of the competitive federal program.” The authority and its partners are seeking $174 million from the federal government for the $351 million Main Street Extension, which would add 3.6 miles and 16 stations to the existing 2.2-mile, 16-station line.

Subsidies a new issue for California high speed project
California’s high speed rail project faces a new challenge: political and legal challenges over its need for a subsidy when operation begins. The Los Angeles Times reports that when voters approved a ballot initiative to build the rail system between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the measure promised the high speed service would not require operating subsidies. But the truncated portion under construction in the state’s Central Valley will lose money when it begins operation in 2028, according to consultants, which the state will have to cover. If that is the case, says Quentin Kopp, a former state senator and former chairman of the High Speed Rail Board of Directors, “There will be a lawsuit, and I want to be the lead plaintiff.”

BNSF to clean up toxic glass stored on its land
BNSF Railway has agreed to clean up 2 million pounds of toxic crushed glass stored on its property by a now-closed Sioux City, Iowa, recycling company. The Sioux City Journal reports BNSF bought the land in 2014, and EPA inspectors determined in 2017 that the glass — from crushed cathode ray tubes, contained lead concentrations in excess of federal limits. The waste came from Recycletronics, a firm owned by former Sioux City councilman Aaron Rochester, who never obtained the necessary hazardous-waste permit for its storage. He is scheduled to stand trial in August on hazardous-waste charges.


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