The St. Louis County Council on Tuesday granted preliminary approval to a $3 million expenditure to allow the cash-strapped Loop Trolley project to move forward.
Supporters of the bill say the funding will allow the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District to secure a $5.4 million matching federal grant for 2.2 miles of track between the Delmar Loop and the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park.
They say the trolley is already spurring plans for development along the track corridor.
If the council as expected grants final passage to the measure next week, the county will draw the $3 million from a voter-approved sales tax to finance transportation projects.
Opponents contend the trolley is not a transit project but, rather, a “two-mile amusement ride.” They note that the trolley in fact will duplicate existing mass transit service, such as buses and MetroLink.
Delmar Boulevard businesses have also objected to the construction on a project they say has hampered Delmar Loop parking and pushed away customers.
The cost, originally estimated to be $43 million, has ballooned to $51.
The county by providing the $3 million will allow the developers of the trolley to continue qualifying for a total of $25 million in federal transportation grants.
St. Louis Post Dispatch © November 2015