ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–Planners of the tourist trolley that would run from Forest Park to the Delmar Loop can almost hear the clang, clang, clang.
“We’re confident about it,” said Maggie Hales, Deputy Executive Director of the East-West Gateway Coordinating Council.
After last fall’s awarding of an almost $3 million federal grant for design work, Hales expects to get another $23 million federal grant in September, even in these hard times.
“Things are uncertain in Congress right now, that’s true,” Hales said, “but I have a lot, a lot of confidence that that money will not be rescinded.”
The total cost of the project is estimated at $40 to $43 million.
The balance of the funding would come from $6 million in regional transportation funding, $3.5 million in new market tax credits, another $3.5 million in TIF supported bonds, and $2 to $5 million in philanthropic donations.
Hales says all of the funding is “falling into place,” and she expects the trolley to be rumbling down the tracks by the summer of 2014.
To pay for operating expenses estimated at $1.3 million annually, Hales says the system would rely on fares, advertising, sales tax from the trolley corridor, and ongoing charitable support from institutions.
A high speed fiber network they hope to place along the rail line is also under discussion in recent weeks. Hales says every business along the route would have access to the service and it could spur economic development in the trolley corridor.
“This is much faster than any internet access that exists today in the St. Louis area,” Hales said.