ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — By design, the Loop Trolley is on a fixed path, but its future could really go in any direction at this point.
"It’s a hard 'no,'" St. Louis County Councilman Tim Fitch said of giving county funds to the trolley.
Fitch said, at this point, nothing will change his mind.
It's the same for Council President Ernie Trakas, who told 5 On Your Side earlier this week he won't even introduce the legislation.
"They need to come up with a plan on how they’re going to live on that without returning to government constantly asking for more funds," Fitch said.
But John Meyer, the President of the Board for the Loop Trolley Company, came to the council meeting in hopes of changing that Tuesday night.
"52-million dollars invested, countless hours of effort, time and energy deployed to try to build the system that has not yet had the opportunity to fully prove its worth," Meyer said.
But with so much money already spent, many on the council are hesitant to give even more.
5 On Your Side's Chris Davis asked Meyer if he could promise taxpayers that this would be the last time he asked for bailout money.
"Can I promise that? No, I can’t promise that, but we’ve been honest. The reason we didn’t just ask for $200,000 and leave it at that because we’re being open and transparent. We want the taxpayers — we want this council — to know, we want the city of St. Louis to know that $200,000 is not going to be enough. It’s going to take another $500,000 next year and we hope with that money, we can prove the worth of the trolley," he replied.
County Executive Sam Page seemed uninterested in either option, so he suggested a third path; a re-imagined trolley system.
"And it won’t work without big changes. Changes in how it’s operated, changes in how it's funded, and changes in how it's governed," Page told the Council.
To guess what that looks like, could also go in any direction.
"We’re open to any good idea, any suggestion to make this thing work," Meyer said.
The Loop Trolley has also reached out for help from the City of St. Louis.
Mayor Lyda Krewson says she's considering it.
Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed says he's against it, and wants to see them seek private money first.
In a statement, Reed told 5 On Your Side:
"The project was to be funded by ridership. St. Louis has numerous other demands on its budget including addressing crime issues, critical infrastructure repairs and continued investments in our Rec Centers to keep our youth involved in positive growth activities. The project must be able to stand on its own economically. I recommend they seek private funding before asking the city to divert funding from more critical issues than a Trolley."
So at this point, it seems like unless the Loop Trolley can find a private backer, it will likely close Nov. 15.