ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Citing budget shortfalls and lack of funding, the Loop Trolley may be forced to halt operations in November.
In a statement, officials with the Loop Trolley said they have not received funding from the St. Louis County Transit Fund to keep the trolley operating through the remainder of 2019 and 2020. The company said they requested $200,000 for 2019 and an additional $500,000 to keep the cars going into 2020.
"I think it is a boondoggle. This has been a boondoggle from day one," said St. Louis County Councilman Tim Fitch. "This is money that we keep throwing, good money after bad money."
Councilman Ernie Trakas says the council will not vote to provide the funds, saying there are several more pressing issues the county should direct money to.
Resident Benu Ru said the Loop Trolley only moves so far to the point it seems impractical.
"I think it's pointless," Ru said. "It didn't work for me."
The statement said if the Loop Trolley Company does not receive funding help, it will be forced to stop as soon as November 15. The company will begin to reduce service starting next week to make up for the budget shortfalls.
"We need to let it fail, sell the assets and hopefully St. Louis County can recover the three million dollars that we already gave the Loop Trolley back in 2015," Fitch said.
Fitch told News 4 the money that could potentially go to the trolley could be instead used for road construction.
The company's board president John S. Meyer Jr. released the following statement:
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.