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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Could Loop Trolley Finally Be Rolling Toward Reality?

Posted By on Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 3:12 PM

click to enlarge A streetcar named "Loop Trolley" - PHOTO: JENNIFER SILVERBERG
  • Photo: Jennifer Silverberg
  • A streetcar named "Loop Trolley"
It's still a long way off, but Joe Edwards decade-long dream to install a trolley from the University City Loop to Forest Park moved one tiny step closer to fruition yesterday.

At its meeting Wednesday, the area's chief planning organization -- East-West Gateway Council of Governments -- gave approval for the route and design of the trolley. As proposed, the streetcar line would run along Debaliviere and Delmar boulevards from University City Hall to the History Museum Forest Park.

Approval from East-West Gateway, however, is one of the easiest hurdles the trolley project faces. Much more difficult is raising $50 million to build the 2.1-mile track and purchase the street cars. Operating the trolley will cost another $4 million a year.

Yesterday Terry Freedland, who led the project for East-West Gateway, told KWMU: "At this point, we don't know where that funding's going to come from."

Beginning last year, businesses along the route began paying a 1 percent sales tax to fund the trolley. But the tax only collects between $300,000 and $400,000 annually.

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