ST. LOUIS — St. Louis officials have less than 40 days to submit a plan to revive the Loop Trolley, or the city may have to pay back millions of dollars in federal grants.
On Monday, the regional administrator of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) sent a letter to St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones explaining that a plan must be submitted by Feb. 1.
Under the plan, there must be at least four days of trolley service per week with three vehicles. Operations must also restart on June 1. If the FTA does not receive a plan by the February deadline, it may exercise its authority to recover the federal funding used to build the Loop Trolley.
The FTA said it awarded the city $37.45 million to help with the 2.2-mile Loop Trolley project on Delmar. The entire project cost a total of $51 million.
The trolley has been shut down since Dec. 2019 due to financial hurdles like low ticket sales.
The Mayor’s Office released the following statement in response to the FTA’s letter:
In the letter the FTA reemphasizes what Mayor Jones and County Executive Page have warned our region about over and over again; failure to fix the Loop Trolley problem will result in a federal clawback of tens of millions of dollars while imperiling our entire region’s ability to receive federal grants in the future – including from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan.
While the mayor did not support the Loop Trolley’s construction, she is committed to fixing this problem to protect our region’s transit dollars and our ability to receive federal support moving forward. We are assessing our next steps and will keep the public informed on the next steps.
We hope our partners recognize the urgency of the situation and are ready to come together to fix this issue that could imperil federal funding for municipalities across our region.