Loop Trolley running out of money

St. Louis County Council asked for help

Brian Kelly
October 12, 2019 - 2:47 pm
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Without an infusion of $200,000 the Loop Trolley could be insolvent next month. That's according to a letter St. Louis County Executive Sam Page has sent to County Council members.

The letter, tweeted out by councilman Tim Fitch on Saturday, says the $200,000 would have to be followed by another $500,000 to keep the trolley rolling into next year.

Fitch notes that the county narrowly-approved $3 million for the project in 2015, but rejected another half-million dollar request in 2017.

Fitch says they should also reject it this time, "My Dad has a good line when it comes to these things, 'Why throw good money after bad money?' That's exactly what we'd be doing if we approve this."

KMOX News received a written statement from Loop Trolley Company board president John Meyer Jr. In it he confirms the $200,000 and $500,000 amounts needed. He says Nov. 15 is deadline day.

To make up for budget shortfalls, a reduction in trolley service will begin next week.

Meyer says funding from St. Louis County would give them a chance at adding a third car and seven-day-a-week service.

In his letter County Executive Page says the trolley system's leadership has also approached the city of St. Louis for help, and there's apparently no interest.

The issue is likely to come up at Tuesday's county council meeting.

Full statement from Loop Trolley Board President John Meyer, Jr.:

"In September, the Loop Trolley Company requested $200,000 immediately from the St. Louis County Transit Fund to keep the trolley system operating for the remainder of 2019 and $500,000 for calendar year 2020.  The Loop Trolley Company will be forced to stop as soon as November 15 if it does not receive funding help. To make up for these budget shortfalls, we are beginning to reduce service starting next week. 

This decision was not made lightly. While the idea of the Loop Trolley was ambitious and has not been without its challenges, it is here. The cars are refurbished and the track is ready. St. Louis was one of five cities to win funding for a streetcar.  The Loop Trolley has yet to operate at its full potential as we are still on the waiting to rollout our third car and operate seven days a week.  Funding from St. Louis County was give us that chance. It would allow us to reach our full capacity, and put us on track to deliver the service and achieve the goals we originally planned for. 

On behalf of the Loop Trolley Company’s staff, board of directors and supporters, it has been a true joy seeing streetcars come back to life St. Louis, hearing the stories and seeing the smiles of our passengers.  Thank you for your support, encouragement and enthusiasm for transit in our communities."

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