Loop Trolley: A Piece of Cake

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RFT photo
Loop impresario Joe Edwards held a press conference this morning outside his Blueberry Hill restaurant to celebrate yesterday's awarding of a $24-million federal grant for his latest dream: a trolley connecting Delmar Avenue to Forest Park.

On hand today for the ceremony were Congressmen Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley. More impressive, though, than the politicians there to pat themselves on the back was the cake made to look just like a streetcar. That there is a hell'uva confection.

Edwards tells Daily RFT that his pastry chef at the Eclipse Restaurant, Claire, whipped up the cake on a moment's notice. "And it was darn good, too" he says.

Even sweeter, though, was news of the federal grant. Edwards notes that St. Louis was one of just five cities chosen for the Urban Circulator Funds through the U.S. Department of Transportation.

RFT photo
Joe Edwards
The nearly $25 million from the federal government will pay for more than half the projected start-up costs of the $44-million trolley system. Last year voters living along the trolley route of Delmar and DeBaliviere passed a one-cent sales tax that generates about $400,000 to $500,000 a year for the trolley.

Edwards tells Daily RFT that he doesn't believe St. Louis would've received the federal grant without the sales-tax initiative.

"Ninety-seven percent of voters supported the tax, and that went a long way to proving our case to the Department of Transportation," says Edwards.

Construction on the trolley is planned to begin late in 2011 and could finish within six to eight months.

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Lacy Clay speaks at this morning's press conference.

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