Regional transportation board rejects Loop Trolley grant


Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

ST. LOUIS – The organization responsible for distributing federal funds for transportation projects in the St. Louis metro area has rejected a proposal to revive the defunct Delmar Loop Trolley.

Loop Trolley managers had requested a $1.26 million federal grant from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.

In a letter sent to the board on Tuesday, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said the 2.2-mile trolley line was constructed without consideration of the effects on the surrounding neighborhoods, thus contributing to its disappointing performance.

Jones and Page said they would endorse giving the Loop Trolley the funds under the following conditions: dissolving the Loop Trolley Company, ensuring no additional city and county dollars will be used to fund the Loop Trolley, and turning over full control of the trolley to the Bi-State Development Agency.

Bi-State, which runs MetroLink and the Metro bus system in the St. Louis region, previously rejected an offer to run the Loop Trolley in Jan. 2020.

“Defaulting on the federal grant, even though Bi-State Development is not a part of it, is a bad idea for the St. Louis region. Bi-State Development competes for federal transportation funding on a regular basis to support Metro Transit infrastructure improvements and transit operations. Having a default with the Federal Transit Administration is a discernible black mark on the performance of the responsible management of federal funds. Any request by regional leadership for Bi-State Development to operate the Loop Trolley would have to be brought to our Board of Commissioners for its approval,” states Taulby Roach, Bi-State Development President & CEO.

In its 11 months of operation, the Loop Trolley netted just $32,486. It cost local taxpayers $51 million to build the trolley system connecting the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park to the west end of the Delmar Loop in University City.

The trolley has sat dormant for nearly two years.

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