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Loop Trolley Loses $1 Million from History Museum

Trustees for the Missouri History Museum have withdrawn a pledge for a $1million donation to the trolley.

The Loop Trolley needs $1 million more to reach its fundraising goal after the Missouri History Museum withdrew a $1 million pledge late last week to help fund the line.

The Loop Trolley received $25 million in federal funding in September to construct the trolley line from the Delmar Loop to Forest Park. Construction on the project was slated to begin later this year.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the History Museum trustees initially approved the donation even though the museum and the nonprofit Loop Trolley Co. are both headed by Robert Archibald.

A joint statement issued by Archibald and Ray Stranghoener, chair of the museum's board of trustees on Friday read, in part, that the "museum decided to re-consider its pledge because it hadn't adequately communicated the move to a separate, 10-member board of commissioners," the Post reported.

The decision may be reversed at a later date. 

"Once we have clarification on how the (board of commissioners) views our pledge to the Loop Trolley Project, we hope we are in a position to restore it," the Post reported.

On Sept. 10, the City of University City City Council approved a letter of support for the Loop Trolley project. 

To read the entire letter, addressed to TDD Chairman Joe Edwards, click here. 

The Loop Trolley Transportation Development District (TDD) accepted a $24,990,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on Sept. 5.

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 University City Public Library. 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.

The double track line through University City goes to single track at Kingsland and will stub in front of the library.

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, University City 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.

Read our previous coverage of the Loop Trolley:

  • Loop Trolley Receives $25 Million Federal Grant
  • Loop Trolley Hearing Allows Citizens to Comment
  • Lindell Residents Upset with Loop Trolley Plans
  • Residents Voice Concerns With Changes to Loop Trolley Plans
  • Packed House Turns Out for Loop Trolley Information
  • An Update on the Loop Trolley From the Mayor
  • City Council to Weigh Loop Trolley Action
  • City Releases Loop Trolley Q and A
  • Part 2: Loop Trolley Q and A
  • Part 3: Loop Trolley Q and A
  • Part 4: Loop Trolley Q and A
John Ridenhower October 01, 2012 at 03:55 PM
25 million in federal funds for a trolley to nowhere when the national debt is already 17 trillion dollars. At least the board of governers at the history museum have a little common sense. After all tourists are not exactally flocking to St Louis to visit The History Museum.
Joe shlabotnik October 02, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Nowhere, John? Just for laughs, I'd like to hear where you think "somewhere" is.
Billy Frank Thornton October 02, 2012 at 08:05 PM
History Museum are North American Indigenous Liar's.

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