Loop Trolley Clears One Deadline Only To Get Slapped With Federal Lawsuit

Categories: News

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Will lawsuit derail Loop Trolley?
Supporters of the Loop Trolley project mailed final plans this week to the Federal Transit Administration. If the federal regulators approve the proposals, bids for construction of the 2.2-mile trolley connecting the Delmar Loop to Forest Park could go out as soon as mid-November.

"I'm more optimistic now than I have been in a while," Joe Edwards, chairman of the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District, told Daily RFT on Tuesday. "It's been a long time coming. This is something I've been working on since 1997."

Those comments, though, came just prior to the filing of a federal lawsuit also on Tuesday that aims to derail the trolley before it ever hits the tracks.

The four plaintiffs (University City residents Elsie Glickert and Jen Jensen and two others) seek a permanent injunction to stop construction of the trolley. Among their many claims, the plaintiffs contend that non-resident property owners got more say than residents in the formation of the Loop Trolley Development Transportation District. For example, Washington University and Joe Edwards (who owns Blueberry Hill, the Pageant, Pin-Up Bowl and other destinations along the trolley route) allegedly controlled 26 percent of the vote. The district later set up a one-cent sales tax for businesses along the route of the trolley. The plaintiffs also argue that the trolley exceeds its approved boundaries in University City and St. Louis.

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See also: Will the Loop Trolley Really Spur Development? Transit Blogger Says No; Joe Edwards Bristles

The lawsuit is only the latest challenge for the Loop Trolley, which is already months behind schedule. This spring the Federal Transit Administration threatened to withhold $22 million in grants due to "insufficient progress" on the trolley project. But earlier this week Edwards was confident that issue had been resolved. "I think the concern was that we didn't have enough contingencies in place," said Edwards. "Our goal has been to get everything on their checklist."

Should the transit agency approve the final plans for the trolley and the lawsuit not impact the time table, the next hurdle in the project could come once bids come back for the project. "The biggest unknown is the real costs [of construction]," said Edwards, who anticipates the project's total price tag at around $40 million.

Federal money is expected to pay for $25 million in planning and construction. The remaining $15 million would come from various local taxes and other fundraising. Provided that the project comes in within cost, Edwards predicted construction could begin as early as this coming March. That is, if that pesky lawsuit doesn't get in the way. Edwards could not be reached immediately for reaction to the court filing.

E-mail the author at chad.garrison@riverfronttimes.com or follow on Twitter @chadgarrison.

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23 comments
James Wright
James Wright

For some reason stl and any surrounding county's really do not like mass transit.

Kayleigh Vogelgesang
Kayleigh Vogelgesang

Fuuuck. This trolley sounds awesome! What's the big deal? Why try to stop something this cool?

Angela Weakley Hill
Angela Weakley Hill

Clang clang clang goes the trolley, ring ring ring goes the bell... Great, now that's stuck in my head for the rest of the entire day.

Zach Denney
Zach Denney

Seems like Stl needs to boost their overall public transit.

Matt Gonzales
Matt Gonzales

The Government always creates problems, it doesn't solve them.

Daniel Bramley
Daniel Bramley

He pays taxes no differently than anyone else. The more anyone owns the more they pay in taxes that's just how things work. That's doesn't mean he now has more say and there's a serious flaw in your logic here. He might pay a ton of taxes, but he also charge 12 bucks for an ounce of alcohol that cost less than a dollar. He makes to most money off the area and he will make the most money after this is finished and people come to the loop more often with the help of this trolly right? SO he should decide for everyone else to pay all their tax money on something that will raise their taxes and not make them a dime? I'm not trying to argue at all I'm just trying to see where you are coming from.

Rick Kohn
Rick Kohn

Joe OWNS the loop,I don't have a problem with that because he's done more for that area then the city ever could.

Daniel Bramley
Daniel Bramley

Oh and after reading my original comment I feel bad because that sounded rude as hell. I wasn't trying to sound like that. Hahaha. Man tone might be hard to convey on here but that sounds shitty no matter how I read it and I do apologize. I didn't even have a bad day to blame it on hahaha.

Daniel Bramley
Daniel Bramley

I reread the article and it didn't say that he wasn't a resident, but it did mention many nonresident business owners. Sorry my mistake, but that's still not worth acting like you parents failed to raise you kid. These people still have this right and I never said I was against it. I don't think its a no brainer though seeing the amount of money being spent and what this project is, but really I couldn't care less now seeing how silly are acting Bill. Some people just have no class I guess.

Daniel Bramley
Daniel Bramley

Sarcasm hahaha more like crying. What grade are you in kid? So what about meetings they still have the right to take their concerns to the court so you sound like a little bitch. Grow up kid. Try talking like an adult and having an intelligent conversation. I'm not saying anything but that its their right to be heard and you are actin like I'm the god damn devil. Whats wrong did you forget to take you medication today freak? What the fuck is wrong with you kid? Grow the fuck up damn. Do you go around reading everyone comment while screaming or something? Hahahaha you psycho.

Daniel Bramley
Daniel Bramley

Wow, Bill grow up kid seriously act like an adult for once in your life. I'm going by the article so shut up and stop acting like Ive said anything that has gone too far you drama queen. What a child you are.

Bill Courtney
Bill Courtney

Mr. Bramley!!!! Your ignorance has gone too far! "I;'m (sic) saying that one person who doesn't live there shouldn't have 26% of the vote." Mr. Joe Edwards is a proud resident of University City. Either start getting your facts right, or keep your ignorance to yourself.

LarryTheVomitor
LarryTheVomitor

For $40,000,000 a whole lot of rickshaws could be bought. Provided to the poor on the North Side, and thus gainful "open air" healthy self sufficient sustainable employment would result........... Wait ---- this is in the Socialist City Of University? Oh well, then a $40,000,000 underused, short track, funny trolley for hipsters and migrating muggers makes perfect sense. 

Pay up suckers.

Carrie Henderson Nenonen
Carrie Henderson Nenonen

He bought and owns half of the buildings in the Loop?! His personal businesses support the bulk of the commercial tax base!! Hence, he pays an obscene amount of taxes to UCity.

Daniel Bramley
Daniel Bramley

I'm not saying it would or wouldn't benefit the city. I;'m saying that one person who doesn't live there shouldn't have 26% of the vote. There are people who do live there that deserve their say too that's all I'm saying. Calling any project of this size a "no brainer" makes no sense at all really considering the huge amount of time and effort and discussion something like this would take especially since this started in 1997 I believe the article said. i will have to reread it to make sure but I think that's when it started. I don't imagine anything that takes that long and cost as much as it is supposed to would be a "no brainer" and I don't even know what the hell that means. I'm not at all against it I'm just saying that people who live there and pay taxes there deserve a say in what happens there despite what you think or what your opinion is.

tgarre6
tgarre6

A lawsuit to stop a trolley from the loop to Forest Park? Only a real ass would do this.

Carrie Henderson Nenonen
Carrie Henderson Nenonen

May I also note that while I do not know the minute details of this case OR Joe Edwards, I greatly respect what he has single-handedly done for the Loop area. His vision and dedication to that stretch of Delmar has greatly benefitted the residents of UCity and surrounding areas!

Carrie Henderson Nenonen
Carrie Henderson Nenonen

All due respect Daniel- I did read the article. I was merely referring to the fact that this project has hit bump after bump since its fruition- including the MO History Museum pulling funding not too long ago. If you note- I did not comment on the article particulars including eminent domain issues or business owners "bulldozing resident"s. Looking at the big picture-in my opinion (and yes I am entitled to one whether you find it "ignorant" or not)- linking the Loop to Forest Park with a Trolley System similar to those that ran through St. Louis for decades would greatly benefit the city.

Chris Ferguson
Chris Ferguson

oh i'm sure they will keep this construction within budget. Just like they did with Metrolink...

Daniel Bramley
Daniel Bramley

"No brainer?" Try reading the article. People who actually live there would like an equal say in the matter rather than having business owners who don't live there making changes in their neighborhood for them. Its called reading jut try it once. If you read the article it tells whats going on so that you can better form an opinion on the subject and not just making comments based only on your ignorance.

Tim Johnson
Tim Johnson

$40 Million for 2.2 miles of trolley service doesn't sound like the best usage of funds in my opinion.

Kevin Hizer
Kevin Hizer

Come on St. Louis time to take a leap in progress!

Carrie Henderson Nenonen
Carrie Henderson Nenonen

SO many bumps in the road- it is sad. I would think that this project would be a no-brainer?!

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