Loop Trolley will resemble old St. Louis streetcar system
BY MARGARET GILLERMAN
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Wednesday, April 4, 2012 1:00 am
Looking east on Delmar Boulevard from University City.
• The Loop Trolley
project, having amassed almost all the $43 million it needs, is ready to move into high gear.
Construction is expected to begin late this year, with the trolleys in operation about a year later.
When completed, the 2.2-mile system connecting the Delmar Loop to Forest Park will look a lot like the system that ran on St. Louis streets a half-century ago.
In a big change of plans, old, renovated streetcars will be used instead of pricier electric/battery cars. And the system will be powered by overhead electric lines running above Delmar Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue, like St. Louis' old streetcar system.
"It really is back to the future, and an opportunity for the future," says Joe Edwards, the Loop entrepreneur who conceived the idea for streetcars in 1997, then helped to execute it. "St. Louis will be one of the leaders."
Two of the streetcars that will be used are on display — one on Delmar in the Loop and another outside the Missouri History Museum on Lindell Boulevard in Forest Park. Together, they cost about $600,000. Officials say hybrid battery/electric cars are about three times more expensive than renovated cars.
Except for some continued private fundraising over the next several weeks, the largely federally funded project has the money it needsfor the design and construction of the system, and purchase and renovation of the streetcars.
The funding includes a $25 million federal Urban Circulator grant earmarked for projects like this; $6 million from other federal sources; $3.5 million in tax-increment financing from St. Louis; $3.5 million in federal New Markets tax credits; and up to $5 million in private donations.
Aerial of East (Delmar) Loop area