St. Louis recently completed a feasibility study for its potential streetcar. The study shows:
- The cost of creating a 7-mile streetcar line would range between $218 million and $271 million, depending on streetscaping.
- The streetcar would cost St. Louis $9.7 million annually in operating costs.
Like Kansas City, St. Louis has competing transit plans – fighting for money and riders. The Loop Trolley is a 2.2-mile route outside the potential streetcar plan. Trolley construction is to begin soon, with completion targeted for early 2016.
And like Kansas City, The Loop Trolley turned to a controversial Transportation Development District for funding. The project was featured in Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-Okla.) “Wastebook” as an example of questionable public spending:
- Many residents feel the trolley overlaps with existing transit.
- The contingency plan if the trolley sees budgetary problems is vague. Supporters suggested, “the difference could be made up by increasing revenues from the sales tax.”
- A former city council member even referred to it as “The Streetcar Named No Desire to Nowhere.”