ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Taxpayers forked over millions but now the Loop Trolley will shut down after only one year of service.
A spokesperson for the Loop Trolley has confirmed to News 4 that it will cease operations on Dec. 29.
The Loop Trolley Board of Directors met Thursday evening. According to their agenda, the group possibly broke off into a closed session. Following the meeting, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the financially strapped trolley would shut down in three weeks.
Following the report, News 4 reached out to Loop Trolley leaders and Mayor Lyda Krewson’s office. Friday morning, a trolley spokesperson confirmed the company would shut down on Dec. 29.
According to City Hall, the trolley's total cost, including improvements, rolls in around $51.5 million.
More than $30 million came from federal grants and another $4 million from the City in the form of tax credits.
St. Louis County taxpayers chipped in $3 million. The balance comes from various sources including University City and Great Rivers Greenway.
"There will be a transitionary period to establish next steps for the system. During which some staff will remain in place," the spokesperson told News 4.
Thursday night, the mayor’s office said St. Louis City, County and Bi-State were still in talks to come up with a solution for the trolley’s financial flops.
News 4 also reached out to a Bi-State spokesperson who sent the following statement:
“The region has turned to Bi-State Development at key times over the last 70 years to provide viable solutions to regional challenges and that is what is happening now. We are evaluating viable operating options aimed at avoiding default on the federal grant money awarded to the Loop Trolley project. A federal grant default could have a negative impact not only for Bi-State Development but the entire region. In fact, a default could hinder efforts to successfully compete for future federal funding for all kinds of transportation projects.
Our Board of Commissioners must give its approval to take on a new project of this magnitude. At this time, I am asking the Board to give me the authority to officially consider possible operating options with the Loop TDD and the Federal Transit Administration. The objective would be to incorporate the Loop Trolley into our system in order to stabilize operations and maximize this asset for the community. However, that policy decision is for the Bi-State Development Board of Commissioners to decide.”
St. Louis County Council members told News 4 they were also unaware of a possible shut down.
Last month, a last-minute loan was issued to keep the Loop Trolley running until the end of the year.
“The easy, politically expedient thing to do right now is to turn our backs on the Loop Trolley and let it fail. But the City of St. Louis and this Administration are not interested in doing what’s easy. We have come entirely too far and invested too much with the Loop Trolley to just walk away. What critics of the project fail to realize is that walking away would put us all at risk of defaulting on federal grants and losing out on future federal transportation funding, which we will undoubtedly need. The Loop Trolley is – and should remain – a regional transit asset. That’s why the City and this Administration are focused on working with our regional partners at Bi-State Development to potentially improve the Loop Trolley and make it a viable transportation option for the future. We look forward to sharing more details when they’re available.”
“I have maintained that for the Loop Trolley to be successful, it must have new leadership, a long term plan and a funding source that is not St. Louis County. The Bi-State plan seems to fulfill my three goals. But I will watch what happens closely to make sure St. Louis County residents aren’t taken advantage of.”