St. Louis Loop Trolley Project

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St. Louis Loop Trolley Project
Loop trolley.jpg
AgencyAmerican Public Transportation Association
Amount of Spending$25 million
Additional IssuesMany believe the new system to be an overlap in public transportation

Visualizing Questionable Spending

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The St Louis Loop Trolley is a federally-funded project and a partnership between two municipalities and private enterprises. The East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWGCOG) is the project sponsor and grantee for 100 percent of the design phase of the project. Many St. Louis residents question the value of the proposed streetcar project.[1]

The Transportation Development District (TDD) will act as the grantee of the project and will mange under the construction phase. TDD will also act as the operator of the system once construction is complete. The project is supposed to be completed in 2013 and to begin generating revenue in 2014.[2]


Trolley Project

The St. Louis Trolley Project will consist of a 2.2-mile running trolley system that will operate in 20 minute intervals. The tracks will run past the famous Lion Gates University City and west along the Delmar streets. The project will run along the old Delmar streetcar route and will run south until the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park. The trolley system will be aligned like a loop and will bring residents and tourists in between two light rail stations and multiple cultural, entertainment, visitor and retail oriented activities. The project is also intended to reinvest and help promote economic development in a depressed area of St. Louis. [3]

According to the Loop Trolley website, "The Loop Trolley Company is raising private funds to match $25 million in federal funds that will help build the project." The project completed its design phase in the end of 2011; construction began in 2012. [4]

The total cost of the project is close to $44 million, with more than half coming from federal funds. On July 8, 2012, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that nearly $25 million in federal funds would be allocated to the trolley project through a Urban Circulator Grant. The Urban Circulator program is a $400 million program that is a part of President Barack Obama's "Livability Index."[5]

The remaining funds come from private investments and city funds. The breakdown of spending is as follows:

  • $25,000,000: Urban Circulator Grant (Federal)
  • $7,000,000: Private Funds
  • $6,000,000: Regional STP Funds (Local)
  • $3,500,000: New Market Tax Credit[6]

Congressional Response

In his 2012 Wastebook, the Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) pointed out that some people in the community are not pleased with the project. Sen. Coburn notes that many people in the town believe the new trolley system is an overlap in public transportation. Tom Sullivan, a resident of University City said, "It’s duplicating public transit. I can’t see what type of benefit that would bring." Another resident, former City Council member Elsie Glickert called the project "The Streetcar Named No Desire to Nowhere" and "Folly Trolley." When asked about what happens if the trolleys do not make enough money to cover expenses, the administration said the remaining difference could be made up by increasing taxes. [7]

Additional References


  1. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK). Wastebook 2012. 2013.
  2. St. Louis Loop Trolley Project. Accessed June 20, 2013.
  3. St. Louis Loop Trolley Project. Accessed June 20, 2013.
  4. The Loop Trolley. Homepage. Accessed June 20, 2013.
  5. The Loop Trolley. Loop Trolley News. Accessed June 20, 2013.
  6. St. Louis Loop Trolley Project. Accessed June 20, 2013.
  7. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK). Wastebook 2012. 2013.