UNIVERSITY CITY, MO - There are new developments in the long-anticipated and long-delayed Loop Trolley project.
Trolley officials were not able to speak on camera.
But the founder of the Loop Trolley, Joe Edwards, tells us a start date is 'really, really close.'
That is substantial given that a start date for the $51-million project has repeatedly been delayed.
Loop Trolley officials tell us that while a specific start date hasn`t been set the trolleys will be up and running before the end of this year.
“Every day I have people coming in and saying when`s that trolley going to start running”' said Lexi Muehlbauer, an optician at Copper Hinge, an eyewear store in the Loop.
She says the trolleys will have a positive impact on the area.
“I think it`s great. I mean people have been waiting forever for it...I think it`s a good thing, I think it`s a great thing and I think it`s going to be beneficial,” said Muehlbauer.
Joe Schmidt, the owner of Salt + Smoke BBQ, Bourbon and Beer, and a member of the Loop Trolley Company Board, added, “The impact is going to be great in terms of driving just more families and more people to the loop every single day.”
Trolley officials say the testing is done and the system certification from MoDOT and the Federal Transit Administration or FTA is in the final stages.
An FTA spokesperson tells us the certification process is 'close to complete.'
Questions have been raised about whether the trolley is a major waste of money with all of the delays.
Project officials say no and believe those criticisms will be put to rest when the trolleys are finally up and running.
“I think all of that negativity is going to flip pretty soon as soon as people start riding these things and see how great they are,” said Schmidt.
University City Mayor Terry Crow says a ribbon cutting is set for Thursday of next week.
The trolleys are slated to run on 2.2 miles of track basically between the U-City library on Delmar and the History Museum in Forest Park.
We`re told a third trolley car is still being renovated in Iowa and should be delivered soon.