The Bi-State Development Board of Commissioners voted to authorize President and CEO Taulby Roach to move forward with exploring possible options for assuming control of Loop Trolley operations. This effort is strictly focused on evaluating potential options to avoid a default on federal transportation grant funding. A final decision on Loop Trolley operations will be made by the Board of Commissioners at a later date.
One of the options being considered is to work with the Federal Transit Administration on a special agreement to re-designate federal funding from capital grants (which normally cannot be used for operational costs) to support the cost of Loop Trolley operations and provide possible capital funds to bring trolley vehicles and equipment to proper operational standards. This preliminary strategy:
- Requires no additional funding from any existing transit funding partner to support the Loop Trolley for four years
- Requires no additional funding from regional taxpayers in the bi-state area to support the Loop Trolley (other than purchasing Loop Trolley tickets)
- Does not impact funding for Metro Transit services; funding currently dedicated to transit operations would not be reallocated for the Loop Trolley
This option would provide an opportunity for the region to avoid default on a federal grant, which could hinder the region’s ability to successfully compete for future federal funding for transportation projects. It also would provide time to create a new plan to build ridership on the Loop Trolley, develop a financially sustainable model for its operation, and maximize its potential as a regional transportation asset.
“The current plan provides an opportunity – at no additional cost to local taxpayers – to see if we can reverse course on the Loop Trolley and turn it into a successful operation,” said Taulby Roach, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bi-State Development. “A default on a federal grant could affect our region for years to come. Every day we compete with other regions for federal funding. Our job is to stay competitive – this effort supports our competitive reputation.”