The Loop Trolley Transportation Development District (TDD) has accepted a $24,990,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Joe Edwards, chairman of the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District, signed the paperwork Wednesday.
This grant is part of the FTA’s Section 5309 funds for exempt discretionary grants for Urban Circulator Systems that support the Department of Transportation Livability Initiative.
Through the Urban Circulator Program grants, the FTA invests in a limited number of projects, such as streetcars and trolley lines, that provide a transportation option that connects urban destinations and fosters the redevelopment of urban spaces into walkable mixed use, high-density environments.
This grant was initially approved for the Loop Trolley in July 2010. However, only the funding for design work was released at that time.
This final approval gives the Loop Trolley TDD access to the balance of funds in order to initiate construction.
“A fixed-track vintage trolley system built in a first-class manner can add to quality of life, increase tourism and spur economic development,” said TDD chairman Edwards. “The heritage trolley can be an environmentally positive attraction as well as a prototype for connecting other areas in St. Louis through clean electric transit. It will be a source of pride for the metropolitan area.”
The Loop Trolley will be a 2.2-mile fixed track trolley line from the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park to the . Since its inception, the ultimate goal of the Loop Trolley project is economic development and improved livability along Delmar east of Skinker and along DeBaliviere.
Citizens for Modern Transit and Edwards formed the private, nonprofit Loop Trolley Co. in 2001 to raise funds to meet these goals.
“The Loop Trolley project has been planned as a convenient means of local travel that is friendly to our community and its visitors and to the environment,” said Robert Archibald, president of the Loop Trolley Co. “The trolley looks back at the ways our ancestors moved through the city and at the same time offers a vision of the potential of innovative public transportation. Its service will be both a pleasure and a portent for future development.”
Voters in University City and St. Louis approved the creation of the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District (TDD) in 2007. The TDD is responsible for building the loop trolley system and setting up operations. Businesses in a defined geographic area along the route pay 1 percent sales tax to support the TDD.
The TDD Board consists of St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, Mayor Shelley Welsch, entrepreneur and Loop business owner Joe Edwards, and Metro President & CEO John Nations.
Annual operating costs are estimated to be about $1.3 million. The system will be revenue supported with $600,000 from fares, $500,000 from the TDD, and $200,000 from advertising and institutional subsidies.
The Loop Trolley is scheduled to open in mid-2014.
See our previous coverage of the Loop Trolley project: