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Big Wins for Public Transit This Year

Letter to the Editor, Columbia Missourian, May 29, 2024

The Missouri legislative session ended with two key wins for public transit as the state continues to better understand the economics behind transit accessibility.

For the first time, Governor Parson recommended transit investment as part of his budget recommendations, and a total of $11.7 million has been approved. It includes $10 million in General Revenue plus $1.7 million from the State Transportation Fund for transit operations. This was a retention of funding levels from 2023, which marked a 34% increase over 2022 levels and a more than 580 percent increase since 2021. Additionally, the Missouri Elderly and Handicapped Transportation Assistance Program (MEHTAP) received $5 million and another $6 million was allocated to non-profit providers to enable them to draw down federal capital funds for vehicles. The funding approved this session is crucial as it helps provide the local match money required for transit providers to secure federal funding.

Numerous bills were also introduced to enable conceal and carry weapons on transit this session, yet none moved forward. Much like Amtrak and airplanes – where guns are not allowed – the risk is unthinkable should there be a discharge in the confinement of closed spaces found on transit vehicles.

As we wait for Governor Parson to sign the approved bills into law, local transit providers will continue to collectively serve every county in Missouri, contributing to the $4.05 billion overall economic impact transit has to Missouri’s bottom line.

Kimberly Cella, executive director of the Missouri Public Transit Association and Citizens for Modern Transit


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