Nearly $20 million of which can go toward Public Safety improvements on Metro Transit system
A bond refinancing completed on September 26, 2019, by Bi-State Development will generate $49.1 million in debt service savings (in 2019 dollars) over the life of the bonds. Nearly 20 million ($19.1 million) of these savings will be immediately available to fund public safety infrastructure improvements to make the Metro Transit system safer for riders.
While the specific safety and security projects to be funded from the savings are still being determined, several enhancements are under consideration. They include upgrades to security cameras so they can be monitored by police and public safety personnel in real time from remote locations. Another potential use of the money saved would go toward the physical configuration of MetroLink stations to limit points of customer access, which would facilitate better monitoring of passengers and enforcement of fare violations by police and Metro Transit public safety officers. These enhancements are among the recommendations proposed by WSP USA, a consulting firm hired by East-West Gateway Council of Governments which is working with Metro Transit and its police partners to identify specific steps to improve rider safety.
The Bi-State Development Board of Directors, as well as the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County all had to approve the bond refinancing as part of a Fifth Amendment to the existing Memorandum of Agreement between the three entities initially related to Bi-State Development’s construction of the Cross County (MetroLink) Extension. The approvals enabled Bi-State Development to take advantage of the lower interest rates in the current market, which presented the ability to replace $196.8 million of bonds carrying interest rates of 4.5% – 5.0% with bonds having an effective cost of funds, below 3%, resulting in the significant debt service savings.