UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. - Going off track. Plans to roll out the new loop trolley have slowed down. Backers of the $51 million project anticipate the trolley may start running mid-November.
Financial supporters had hoped the trolley would be up and running in fall of this year, but they said it's just basic paperwork delaying the project. Meanwhile, those who oppose the project continue to call it a big waste of taxpayer money.
"Every time the contractor finds a utility that was unexpected, like a water line even those companies didn't know they were there, that stops everything for a couple of weeks. You have to relocate those," said Joe Edwards, Loop Trolley project chairman.
This isn't the first time the project has stalled.
Edward said he was first anticipating the launch back in the spring. Then a third car for the system needed a custom part, which was expected to arrive this month. Once it arrived in St. Louis, it still needed to be tested before it's put into service.
“Young people, retirees, they do want to live in livable, walkable communities and not have to pay for car insurance, tire wear, the price of the car, gas prices, and this is something all cities will start going towards more and more," Edwards said.
Delay or no delay, Tom Sullivan, who lives just a few blocks from The Loop, believes the trolley is a waste of his tax dollars, adding that he doesn't believe the trolley would be beneficial to economic development.
"Just the construction alone has forced many businesses to close,” Sullivan said. “It has created traffic problems…and there's no security plan for it, and they'll be going through some very dangerous neighborhoods with no security at all."
Edwards is also seeking more money from the St. Louis County Council as the project nears completion. Initially, Edwards asked for $4 million. The country granted $3 million. However, Edwards plans on asking the council for $500,000 more to serve as a buffer and safety net.