The Uncertain Future of the St. Louis Loop Trolley

St. Louis faces losing federal funds if the Loop Trolley remains defunct. But is the 2.2-mile line worth it?

2 minute read

January 5, 2022, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Delmar Loop

Paul Sableman / Flickr

According to Tony Nipert, "the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) warned St. Louis that it needed to forge a plan to jumpstart the Loop Trolley by June 1st or pay back the federal grant money allocated to the project." The 2.2-mile trolley line, which opened in November 2018, garnered criticism during its tenure and was shut down in December 2019.

As Nipert writes, the city has three options. One is to remove the trolley line altogether, an option supported by many who see it as a sunk cost but that others argue would harm future potential funding. The second choice would be to expand the trolley's reach to serve more tourist locations in Forest Park. While the line may never become a robust part of the city's transit network, it could at least become a more useful and well-used tourism asset. 

The third option, according to Nipert, is to operate the trolley long enough to receive the federal grant funding, then reassess. This approach, supported by St. Louis mayor Tishaura Jones, could afford the trolley "a chance to build a reputation based on its service and utility to patrons" and buy time for the line to potentially become financially self-sustaining.

While the trolley could still fail to meet residents' needs, Nipert argues that reopening it for the duration of the grant could give it a chance to thrive.

Monday, January 3, 2022 in nextSTL

Aerial view of homes on beach in Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii Passes First Legislation Regulating Short-Term Rentals Statewide

The new law will give counties the power to limit number or short-term rentals and convert existing short-term rental units back into long-term residential housing.

May 13, 2024 - USA Today

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Aerial view of Oceanwide Plaza skyscrapers covered with graffiti tags.

LA’s Abandoned Towers Loom as a “$1.2 Billion Ruin of Global Capital”

Oceanwide Plaza, shuttered mid-construction after its developer filed for bankruptcy, has stood vacant on prime Los Angeles real estate since 2019.

6 hours ago - The Architect's Newspaper

Aerial view of Oceanwide Plaza skyscrapers covered with graffiti tags.

LA’s Abandoned Towers Loom as a “$1.2 Billion Ruin of Global Capital”

Oceanwide Plaza, shuttered mid-construction after its developer filed for bankruptcy, has stood vacant on prime Los Angeles real estate since 2019.

6 hours ago - The Architect's Newspaper

Close-up of back windshield of Waymo autonomous car.

NHTSA Launches Investigations Into Two More Self-Driving Automakers

The federal agency is responding to reports of crashes and erratic behavior from Waymo and Zoox vehicles.

7 hours ago - Smart Cities Dive

Texas Townhomes

Austin Reduces Minimum Lot Size

Smaller lot sizes for single-family homes can make construction more affordable and homeownership available to more households.

May 21 - The Texas Tribune

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.