Today’s Quad City Times front page (January 13, 2010) has a story entitled “Downtown Districts Will Be in the Loop.” The article  touts a fleet of low-emission diesel buses slated to take tourists to all the Quad City downtown districts. The service, using “spiffy, low-floor, low-emission diesel buses” was to be unveiled on Thursday, January 14, at the Quad Cities’ Transportation Advocacy Group’s public forum.

Joe Taylor, President of the Quad Cities’ Convention & Visitors Bureau is quoted as saying, “The Loop will allow the Quad Cities to function as a unit.” That sounds good until the route is released and it specifically excludes downtown East Moline, which is struggling, to be sure, but will not be helped by a bus service that totally bypasses it.

According to the article, the circulator will run between the downtowns of Bettendorf, Davenport, Moline and Rock Island. The Village of East Davenport also will be on the route, says the article, and 2 buses will run in one direction while 2 run the other for a fare of $1 per ride or $3 for an all-day pass.

Becky Passman, Iowa Quad City transit coordinator with the Bi-State Regional Commission of Rock Island is quoted this way: “We really think it is going to be a hit with visitors. If you are from out of town, you don’t need to know anything about how to get there. Just hop on The Loop.”

I applaud the idea, in theory. I simply feel that it is a low blow to exclude East Moline’s downtown area, and I wonder why East Moline’s leadership (Mayor, City Council) have not lobbied harder to make East Moline part of The Loop.  I also wonder(ed) why diesel vehicles were selected,  at a cost of $836,808 received through grant moneys. Why not hybrids, which would seem more progressive in eliminating emissions?