ST. LOUIS – The Bi-State Development Board of Commissioners has decided to let president and CEO Taulby Roach explore options for assuming control of operating the faltering Loop Trolley.
This effort is aimed at avoiding a default on federal transportation grant funding. The board will make a decision on the Loop Trolley operation later.
One of the options is to work with the Federal Transit Administration to re-designate federal funding from capital grants (which normally can’t be used for operational costs) to support the Loop Trolley’s operations and provide capital funds to make sure the trolleys and equipment meet proper operational standards. This preliminary strategy:
- Requires no additional funding from any current transit funding partner for four years
- Requires no additional funding (other than buying Loop Trolley tickets) from regional taxpayers
- Does not affect current funding for Metro Transit services
This option would provide help avoid default on a federal grant, which could hinder the region’s ability to compete for future federal transportation funding. It also would buy time to boost Loop Trolley ridership, develop a financially sustainable model for operation, and enhance its potential as a regional transportation asset.
“The current plan provides an opportunity – at no additional cost to local taxpayers – to see if we can reverse course on the Loop Trolley and turn it into a successful operation,” Roach said.
“A default on a federal grant could affect our region for years to come. Every day we compete with other regions for federal funding. Our job is to stay competitive – this effort supports our competitive reputation.”