The Desire Named Streetcar is alive and kicking taxpayers in the pants.

The AP reports on a press release from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) that touts her role in shoveling millions of dollars on an antiquated and dysfunctional form of transportation (try driving or walking in cities lousy with streetcars).

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded Kansas City a $20 million grant to help build its streetcar route through about two miles of downtown.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill said in a news release Friday announcing the grant that the streetcar project will "encourage housing, construction, and business development in the city." And she said that will mean for jobs for the region.

The project has an estimated cost of about $100 million. And voters previously approved a 1-cent sales tax increase and property tax increases to help pay for the streetcars, which will run from the River Market area to Union Station. Supporters hope it will be the first leg of a more extensive public rail system.

Plans call for streetcars to start running in 2015.

Wow, just $50 million per mile. That's a real bargain - and one that will inevitably cost way, way more if and when the streetcars ever get a-rollin'. 

Hat tip to occasional Reason contributor Philippe Lacoude, who has a pretty interesting back-of-the-envelope calculation that should have been included in McCaskill's press release:

The Congress...spends $3,650 billion dollars or so (rounded up a bit) per year. That’s $100 million per day per senator. So I guess you could spin the story in the following way: “By wasting only $20 million today, Sen. Claire McCaskill saved taxpayers $80 million."