The City Council approved a letter of support Monday for the Loop Trolley project.
The letter, addressed to TDD Chairman Joe Edwards, reads as follows:
The City of University City endorsed the concept of a fixed-track trolley line on Delmar Boulevard in March 2002 and authorized the City’s participation in the creation of a transportation development district.
The Loop Trolley Transportation District was created in July 2008 and established a 1% retail sales tax and has received funding from the Federal Transit Administration’s Urban Circulator Grant program to fund the entire Loop Trolley project.
The City of University City has reviewed the conceptual layout plans as submitted by the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District and attached to this letter.
The City of University City now expresses its support of the Loop Trolley project.
The letter is signed by City Manager Lehman Walker.
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 . 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 .
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.
Read our previous coverage of the Loop Trolley: