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Old Posted Jan 17, 2022, 8:03 PM
Emprise du Lion Emprise du Lion is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Saint Louis
Posts: 285
Originally Posted by lrt's friend View Post
Unbelievable! I watched the development of that line in this discussion group. Why do cities invest in these minimal streetcar projects?
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
The Delmar Loop trolley was pitched by a private chamber-of-commerce type group IIRC. It makes sense that the public transit agency wouldn't want it. It serves a limited tourist market linking Forest Park to the businesses on Delmar, but it isn't really useful for commutes or the needs of residents at all.

As for why it was funded, I'm guessing the Obama administration wanted to send stimulus money to as many cities as possible (especially cities and states that voted for him). The streetcar projects were helpful because they were low-cost and the Federal government could basically fund them at 100% with no local commitment. In Cincinnati or KC, the streetcars served a growing downtown population of residents as well as tourists, and it was their first & only rail system... but in St Louis they already have a regional light rail system so the streetcar was built to serve an outlying neighborhood only.
The trolley's biggest proponent was Joe Edwards, a local businessman who owns many of the businesses in the Delmar Loop. It was his vision to have a streetcar line going through the Loop with the faux vintage cars. So many of his business ventures have been such large successes that everyone just sort of went along with it. The system had a total price tag of $51 million, which $37 million came from the Feds. That's what they're threatening to sue us for if the line doesn't get up and running again.

We have until February 1st to tell the FTA how we plan on restarting the thing. A lot of people are against the idea and would prefer that we just pay the FTA back, but that would likely hurt St. Louis' chances of landing any future grants, especially when they finally do want to start building a new MetroLink or BRT line.
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