Trolley Grant Rejection Summed Up in One Question
The East-West Gateway Council of Governments rejected the Loop Trolley Company’s request for a $1.26 million grant last Wednesday. Trolley backers claimed the federal grant money was needed to get the cash-strapped trolley running again.
While members of the council had different reasons for rejecting the proposal, one question from the head of the council board summarized the objections nicely:
“Why is it always other people’s money?”
Other local officials were fine with the trolley receiving the grant, as long as no taxpayer money from their respective municipalities would be dedicated to the trolley and Bi-State Development assumed its operation. Others objected to the idea of Bi-State operating the trolley, arguing that its responsibility is to provide public transportation, not manage tourism projects.
It’s unknown what comes next for the trolley. Trolley backers could seek out private funding, either from investors or from Loop businesses who see a benefit to having the trolley run. Whatever the trolley’s future, hopefully the next ask will be to private sector investors, not taxpayers.