Loop Trolley seeks $1.26 million more in federal aid to fund restart, free service | Politics

Looped in

An empty trolley car sits parked in the Loop Trolley garage next to Delmar Boulevard on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. There are five trolleys parked in the garage, two are ready for service and were in use before being shut down last year, a third is in the process of being certified for service and the other two are in reserve for future use. Photo by Colter Peterson, [email protected]

ST. LOUIS — Backers of the Loop Trolley are trying again for more government money to restart the trouble-plagued enterprise — this time with free service four days a week.

The trolley operation has submitted a request for a $1.26 million grant from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, a regional agency that oversees federal transportation dollars in the metro area.

Jim Wild, Gateway’s executive director, said Monday that the money sought would come from a program aimed at easing traffic congestion and improving air quality.

“We do need the money to bring this back up,” said Joe Edwards, the University City entrepreneur who heads the sales tax district set up to help fund the trolley line, which straddles the U. City-St. Louis border. “The project will succeed if we persevere.”

The money would be in addition to the $51 million already spent — much of it federal dollars — on building the 2.2-mile line connecting the western end of the Delmar Loop in University City to the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park.

Wild said the request would be considered by Gateway along with those for 14 other projects competing for about $20 million available on the Missouri side of the metro area the next two years.

He said Gateway’s staff would review the various proposals and make recommendations to the agency’s board in May or June, with its board making a decision in August. Among the board’s members are key elected officials in St. Louis, St. Louis County and other counties in the region.