CMT Executive Director testifies before Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation

CMT Executive Director Kim Cella testified before the Blue Ribbon Commmisson on Missouri’s Transportation Needs on Monday, May 14, 2012. Below is here testimony:

Good afternoon, my name is Kim Cella and I am the Executive Director of Citizens for Modern Transit. Thank you for your time this afternoon. I am happy to be here today to talk about the importance of planning for the future of transit in Missouri because even though only some Missourians ride it, Missouri needs transit!

Investing in transit will improve Missouri’ s economy.  

Transit creates and sustains jobs, it provides access to work, it creates economic development opportunities, it creates livable and sustainable communities, it puts money back in Missourians pockets  – Missouri needs transit. 

For every dollar that Missouri invests in public transit, there is a $4 return to the state. Since MetroLink opened, we have tracked billions in development around the light rail infrastructure.  In this economy, there are very few investments that are demonstrating that return for our dollar.

The current level of state support for public transit is inadequate.  IN 2007, MoDOT’s Long Range Transportation Plan identified the need for an additional $200 million annually to address Missouri’s unmet public transit funding needs.  In 2011, Missouri’s transit funding was $560,000 for 33 service providers across the state – that ranks us 45th across the country in transit funding. 

This funding has been on the decline for more than a decade- In 2000, state funding was about $8.4 million. Today, state support after it is divided up does little to help Missouri gain jobs, improve access and build economic development opportunities for our residents through public transit.  Moving forward any transportation plan in Missouri must look at a total transportation package.  Equitable funding must be provided to transit. It is key to moving Missouri forward.

In St. Louis each day, more than 100,000 individuals board a Metrobus, train or van amounting to more than 53 million rides a year.  Metro’s Call-A-Ride service provides more than 2400 trips each day to people with disabilities and the elderly. 

People use public transit in Missouri to get to jobs.  97 percent of all jobs in St. Louis City and St. Louis County can be reached by riding Metro transit. 

Giving Missourians options with public transit is key to increasing our residents’ income.  I hope you will consider this when prioritizing the transportation needs of this state. Missouri needs transit and a TOTAL transportation package!