KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Efforts are underway to expand the Kansas City Streetcar north as the transportation service reaches another milestone of more than 3.1 million riders since its inception.

The Kansas City Streetcar Authority, Port KC and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority applied last month for federal funding as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s competitive TIGER grants program, the Kansas City Star reported .

The exiting line runs about 2 miles through downtown, from Union Station to the River Market neighborhood, and is free to ride. The proposed expansion would run from the River Market to Berkley Riverfront Park, along the Missouri River.

The extension would be less than three-fourths of a mile and is estimated to cost $32 million. About $17 million would come from private and public funding, primarily from new riverfront development.

“We’re building a whole new neighborhood on the riverfront,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the streetcar authority.

Construction has started on a mixed-used development near Berkley Riverfront Park that would bring more than 400 luxury apartments next spring, Gerend said.

“We have a great opportunity to connect all of those new individuals to downtown,” Gerend said. Potential riders also include downtown residents and employees who would have more convenient access to the riverfront’s amenities, which include a dog park and retail.

The extension is expected to add between 1,000 and 1,500 riders a day to the streetcar ridership, depending on riverfront development.

The Transportation Department is expected to announce which projects will receive grants early next year. If the project receives a TIGER grant, the involved groups will move into design next year and construction the following year. The streetcar could be running along the expansion in late 2020 or early 2021, Gerend said.

Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com