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ST. LOUIS — Bi-State President and CEO Taulby Roach said he stands by his agency’s decision to take over operations of the failed Delmar Loop Trolley.

In an interview on Monday, Roach said Bi-State was able to carry out both missions of running the Trolley and keeping passengers safe on the MetroLink and MetroBus transit systems.

Some weren’t so sure about that.

Bi-State Commissioner Derrick Keith Cox told FOX 2’s Elliott Davis: “We’ve got to stay focused on what matters. We have nothing unless we have a safe and secure system on MetroLink on MetroBus. I don’t want to see another penny wasted on fancy advertising on paint schemes or on the Delmar Loop Trolley.”

Roach doesn’t see things that way. Elliott asked if Sunday’s deadly shooting on a MetroLink train points to Bi-State having made a mistake in taking on the Delmar Loop Trolley, considering they haven’t gotten a handle on the security problems with MetroLink.

“I see these as two different issues,” Roach responded. “One is simply an operational issue. We’ve been asked not until this summer to operate the Loop Trolley. That’s different than operating the huge transit system, which we’re working on.  But we’re going to keep working on this. We’re going to keep working on safety and security. It’s improving it’s doing well.”

This is not the first killing on the train or platform. A MetroLink guard was killed in 2021. Then, in 2019, an 18-year-old was gunned down at the MetroLink on State Street in East St. Louis.

Cox said Bi-State needs to stay focused.

“What I’m trying to say is we’ve taken our focus off of the ball, and what we need, and we must do for the community that has told us what they want,” Cox said.

When asked if Bi-State had lost focus, Roach answered: “We absolutely are not going to lose our focus. Our priority is protecting our customers and working in our transit community.”

Bi-State hopes to have the Trolley up and running by June. But the killing could have a bearing on the $1.2 million federal grant money it’s trying to get from East-West Gateway.

Elliott talked to that agency’s executive director, Jim Wild, who said: ‘I’m not sure if it will or it won’t. Some people — some of my directors in the past, my board members — used security on MetroLink as a reason for not funding it the last time it came through. But I’m not sure what their calculus for making a decision is going to be this round.”