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Withdrawal Of Funding From History Museum Shouldn't Affect Loop Trolley

October 10, 2012
One million dollars withdrawn — at least for now — from the $40 million Loop Trolley Project will do nothing to slow construction of the fixed-track trolley system, according to Joe Edwards, the force behind the Loop Trolley for the past 15 years.

The Missouri History Museum in late September announced that it would be withdrawing its $1 million pledge to help fund the trolley project — a 2.2-mile route linking the Delmar Loop with Forest Park. The decision came on the heels of media reports questioning a lack of board oversight in a museum land deal.

"The Missouri History Museum decided to re-consider its pledge to the Loop Trolley Project because of concerns that the museum may not have adequately communicated this non-budgeted item to the commissioners of the Missouri History Museum Subdistrict of the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District," according to a joint statement released by Robert Archibald, who heads both the museum and the non-profit Loop Trolley Co., and Ray Stranghoener, chair of the museum's board of trustees.

"Once we have clarification on how the Subdistrict views our pledge to the Loop Trolley Project, we hope we are in a position to restore it," the statement continued.

Edwards, the Trolley Project's more enthusiastic promoter, said that with or without the $1 million, the project continues to move ahead "at full speed." Private donations, he said, continue to come in.

"At least for now, the museum has withdrawn its $1 million pledge. Of course, we would still like to have it, and hope it does come back when everything is cleared up, but we have enough contingency built into the contract that it will not stop the trolley project. I think everything will be just fine."

In September, the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District accepted a $24,990,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration. Actual construction on the Loop Trolley Project could begin in November.

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