Trolley repairs will take longer, require more money than originally thought

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The trolleys may not be back as soon as city officials thought.

The trolleys came off the tracks back in June. MATA originally said a few might be back by the end of the year, but now WREG has learned the city may have over-promised and under-delivered on that.

Kandiss Russell used to ride the trolley almost every day.

“It’s a really big inconvenience for me, but I’m trying to adjust,” she said.

Russell wasn’t shocked when we told her MATA announced it needs more time and more money to fix the tracks and the trolley cars. She said that’s typical Memphis.

“They over-promise on everything. No one knows how long it is going to take, if they come back,” she said.

Wednesday, MATA told WREG they have $200,000 set aside for this project. $20,000 has come from Memphis taxpayers, and the rest are federal funds.

So far, MATA has spent $100,000 reconstructing motors and break lines.

Earlier this year, MATA estimated repair costs somewhere between $6 million and $40 million, but they couldn’t tell us where the money will come from, or when the work will be done.

Mike Sperrows says Main Street looks empty without them.

“You’ve got to put safety first everyone understands that. It will be nice to have them back. They add a character to downtown that we are missing,” he said.

Sperrows says there should be a limit on how much the city decides to spend on the trolleys. He points out the Memphis has other pressing matters it needs to deal with first.

Russell agreed, saying, “They probably should focus their money on other things like the buses that run. They completely messed those up. They should probably leave the trolley as is, even though I miss it.”

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