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St. Louis County councilman calls for federal audit of Loop Trolley

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the Loop Trolley Company a $25 million Urban Circulator Grant in 2011.

ST. LOUIS — A member of the St. Louis County Council is asking for the Loop Trolley to be audited by the federal government to see if federal grant money was misused.

After asking for money from both St. Louis and St. Louis County, 7th District County Councilman Mark Harder is calling for the federal government to take a closer look at the Loop Trolley Company. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the Loop Trolley Company a $25 million Urban Circulator Grant in 2011, which made up most of the $33.9 million of federal funding used for the project.

In the 11 months since the Tolley opened, it severely underperformed ridership projections. It collected just $32,456 in fares, nearly $400,000 shy of the projections set in 2017.

In the days after that news was reported, it was reported the Loop Trolley Company requested $700,000 from St. Louis County just to keep its lights on through 2020.

$200,000 would go towards operating costs in 2019, $500,000 would fund operations through 2020.

Members of the County Council shot that idea down, and Council President Ernie Trakas said he did not intend to bring the request up because there were far too many other monetary requests facing the council.

The request "calls on Senators Blunt and Hawley, Congresswoman Wagner, and Congressman Clay to formally request that the U.S. Department of Transportation conduct an audit of the Urban Circulator Grant awarded to the Loop Trolley Company to determine exactly how that public grant funding all of the public money expended on the project has been spent."

RELATED: Loop Trolley Board president can't promise this will be the last request for taxpayer money

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RELATED: Sources: Loop Trolley company may still close even if it gets funding requested to stay open through 2020

RELATED: Loop Trolley will stop operations next month unless it receives $200K

RELATED: Loop Tolley generates just $32,456 in fares in 11 months