Kansas City Reportedly Spent $25,000 In Taxpayer Money On Barbie-Themed Streetcar

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Kansas City, Missouri, has introduced a Barbie-themed “Dream Streetcar,” costing local taxpayers nearly $25,000, according to a local report.

The production and installation of the exterior and interior wraps cost $15,990, with local company Whiskey Design creating the art for $8,563, KCUR reported Sept. 19. While many social media users first assumed the ad was sponsored by Mattel or Warner Bros., the funding for it came from Kansas City Streetcar Authority’s marketing budget — primarily supported by taxes — the Streetcar Authority’s director of communications and marketing, Donna Mandelbaum, told the outlet.

Despite not featuring the word “Barbie” or any characters, the Dream Streetcar has references to the movie and Ken, with phrases like “I Am Kenough” and “Kensas City,” KCUR reported. (RELATED: Kuwait, Lebanon Move To Ban ‘Barbie’ Movie, Citing ‘Homosexuality And Sexual Transformation)

The streetcar line is primarily funded through sales, property and parking taxes from the downtown Transportation Development District, along with sponsorships. The Streetcar Authority usually charges organizations thousands for vehicle decorations, according to KCUR. The initiative was aimed to “increase streetcar ridership, promote the Ride KC Streetcar brand … and showcase that public transit can be both essential and fun,” Mandelbaum told Reason.

Although the project set an uptick in ridership as its goal, the streetcar is free for everyone to ride, according to Reason.

The initiative has sparked debates as to its purpose compared with other streetcar wraps featuring local art. The Dream Streetcar is set to stay until mid-October, KCUR reported.