There's more trouble for the much-delayed Loop Trolley project. A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday aims to derail the $43 million dollar project on the grounds that the transportation development district set up to fund it is unconstitutional.
The lawsuit claims that giving nonresident property owners votes based on acreage owned violates the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. Residents were given a single vote.
Construction of the streetcar line between the University City Library and the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park is already more than a year behind schedule and the Federal Transit Administration has warned that the area could lose the $22 million "urban circulator" grant it was awarded in 2010. Developers say that would doom the project.
The suit names the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District, the Loop Trolley Company, the Metro Transit Agency, the cities of St. Louis and University City, St. Louis County and the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.
A bit of history has returned to St. Louis. A small airplane once owned by Charles Lindbergh is now back on display at Lambert Airport.
Officials from the Missouri History Museum spent hours over the weekend installing the 1934 D-127 Monocoupe aircraft, which hangs once again over the C Concourse in Terminal 1.
The museum also installed a new interactive kiosk near the plane that displays the history of Lambert and Lindbergh. The plane was originally installed at Lambert in 1979. It was removed in March 2011 as part of terminal renovations.
Lambert officials say that over the years, the plane accumulated dust and other airborne pollutants so a conservation effort was necessary to make sure the plane was preserved.
As the nation commemorates the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King,Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, the Missouri History Museum is highlighting the struggle for equality here in St. Louis. From this evening through Friday, the Museum is highlighting the 1963 protests at the Jefferson Bank, one of the most important chapters in St. Louis civil rights history. Tonight's programs examine banking practices in St. Louis, then and now. There will also be an assembly discussing issues surrounding the Trayvon Martin case. Thursday afternoon there is Civil Disobedience Training and Friday night is a look back at the Jefferson Bank protests. All the programs are free. For more information call: 314-533-2635.
Plans call for the streetcars to run down Delmar to DeBalivier, then south to the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park.
The project is expected to cost around $40 million, with $25 million coming from a federal grant.
The trolley should be up and running by late summer of 2014.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the appraisal was released Tuesday.
The museum purchased the land from former Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. in 2006, paying Bosley and a business partner $875,000. The appraisal determined the land's value at about $260,000 at the time, and about $215,000 now.
The land was also contaminated, requiring up to $300,000 for environmental cleanup.
Robert Archibald resigned as museum president in December, though both he and Bosley denied that personal or political connections played a role in the deal.