Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
St. Louis

Curtains for St. Louis’ Delmar Loop Trolley Plans?

3:09 PM EST on November 11, 2014

Will St. Louis' downtown loop trolly survive bad financial news? Image: nextSTL
Will St. Louis' Loop trolley survive bad financial news? Image: nextSTL

For years, St. Louis and adjacent University City have been planning a 2.2-mile streetcar that would connect the thriving Delmar Loop business district to the museums in nearby Forest Park. In 2010, the plan won a competitive $22 million federal "Urban Circulator" grant. That funding, along with a 1 percent sales tax increase approved by area property owners, made the $43 million plan looked like a sure thing.

But since that time, the plan has faltered. First, opponents filed a lawsuit challenging the project in federal court. The suit was ultimately dismissed in April, but it caused years of delays. In 2013, the federal government nearly pulled the grant, citing concerns about slow progress.

And just when it looked like every hurdle had been cleared, the project was delivered another blow. A call for bids this week was met with very bad news: The lowest bid was $11 million more than the anticipated sticker cost of $43 million.

Nobody's sure where the extra money is going to come from, reports Alex Ihnen at nextSTL, and it looks like some of the main partners might be bailing out. The project has already undergone budget cuts, so there might not many costs left to eliminate. Ihnen writes:

nextSTL has learned that other partners are beginning to plan for the financial fallout if the project is never built. Efforts are underway to explore whether the $22M federal grant could be reassigned to another project within the St. Louis region. Meanwhile, supporters of the Loop Trolley are hoping additional federal funds will be made available.

The project, promoted by a group of business owners called the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District, was aimed mostly at spurring development and tourism along Delmar, and would also include dramatic streetscape improvements along the route.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Thursday’s Headlines Are Inside Out

Cars and trucks are getting safer for drivers and passengers, but people outside the vehicles are increasingly in danger.

September 28, 2023

New Federal Committee Will Push for Transportation Equity By Helping DOT Reckon With Its Past

“No one alive today is necessarily responsible for the origins of the [transportation] inequities that we inherited. But everybody who was alive today and in a position of responsibility, is accountable for what we do about it. That's why we're here.” 

September 28, 2023

Report: America’s Historic Bike Boom is Flatlining

"This growth won't continue forever without being facilitated by more infrastructure investment, [and particularly] safety infrastructure."

September 28, 2023

Wednesday’s Headlines Ask How Much a Life Is Worth

There isn't much of a financial penalty for drivers who kill pedestrians — even if those drivers are cops.

September 27, 2023

‘I’m Not Grieving Alone’: New Play Explores a Father’s Journey After Losing Two Children to Traffic Violence

Colin Campbell and his wife Gail Lerner lost both their children in a car crash with impaired driver. A new play explores how to talk about similar tragedies.

September 27, 2023
See all posts