Clunk, Clunk, Clunk Goes the Trolley
After 13 months of operation, the Loop Trolley will be shutting down on December 29 due to a lack of money. Trolley advocates hope it can re-open next year under new management, but this could mark the end of the line for a project beset by problems from the very beginning.
The Loop Trolley Company treasurer admitted to the St. Louis Post Dispatch that the Trolley’s “capability to continue on with funding through sales tax and fares … does not look any better and is not going to look any better.”
As Show-Me Institute analysts noted for years, the trolley was a bad idea, despite the vocal support of a few backers. If there was a market for a trolley, private investors should have been the ones to fund it. Instead, the Delmar Loop visitors who don’t seem very interested in riding the trolley were forced to pay extra taxes.
So is this the end of the line for the Trolley? The Bi-State Development Agency, or Metro in common parlance, met Tuesday and is considering taking over the trolley to avoid jeopardizing future federal transportation grants.
The overall failure here is staggering. Twenty years. Fifty-one million dollars. Nine delays. Closed businesses. Dismal ridership. Broken promises.
If this is the legacy of the Loop Trolley, perhaps at the very least it can serve as a warning. Forcing a project on people that do not want it, no matter how much taxpayer money you can get, is simply not a good idea.