Today, Citizens for Modern Transit (CMT) announced its support for Amendment 7, a three-fourths of one percent increase in Missouri’s sales tax dedicated to the improvement of priority transportation projects in Missouri.
“Passage of HJR 68 to move Amendment 7 to the ballot this August was a monumental task in and of itself,” said Kim Cella, executive director of Citizens for Modern Transit. “The MO General Assembly is to be commended for passing legislation that allows Missouri voters to support making transportation a top priority. If passed, this initiative will provide flexibility for total transportation projects, local input on priorities for each region and a much-needed source of revenue for transit projects across the state.”
The CMT Board of Directors weighed the options very carefully when considering the priority list for the St. Louis region. After many discussions with St. Louis City, St. Louis County and MoDOT, the list moved closer to creating a vision for the future of transit, including the addition of a light rail station and studies for future expansion and funding. There is significant commitment on the part of the City of St. Louis to ensure transit receives more than 30 percent of the revenues over the 10 year time period.
Currently, Missouri ranks near the bottom of the list nationally with regard to transit funding. In the current year, Metro has received less than $400,000 in state funds for transit operations; Metro’s annual budget is in excess of $250 million. Without additional state funding, the St. Louis region cannot continue to compete for federal funding for public transit projects.
This referendum affords the St. Louis region the opportunity to move transit forward. According to the American Public Transit Association, every dollar invested in transit returns four dollars to the region. Millennials, older adults and immigrants are demanding more public transit options. These demands cannot be met without the help of the state. According to AARP, older Missourians increasingly rely on public transportation resources like city bus services and OATS. Nationally, more than 8 million adults aged 65 and older do not drive. Public transportation is seen as a “lifeline” for older adults.
Amendment 7 provides statewide funding for multiple transportation modes and allows regions to direct their funds to local priorities. In many Missouri communities, Amendment 7 will provide new public transportation funding to increase access and options for Missourians who don’t drive or don’t have access to a car. In the St. Louis region this equates to more than $145 million in public transit projects over 10 years including a new light rail station in the City of St. Louis, studies for future light rail extensions/incremental build-outs, streetcars, bus rapid transit and other transit improvements.
Funds cannot be diverted by current or future politicians to non-transportation spending because Amendment 7 is a constitutional amendment, and necessity goods such as groceries, prescriptions drugs and fuel are exempt from this tax.
The measure passed through the Missouri General Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan support. Amendment 7 has also been endorsed by business, labor, agriculture and community groups throughout the state. CMT is pleased to join with others in support of this initiative.
THE LIST OF ST. LOUIS CITY AND ST. LOUIS COUNTY TRANSIT PROJECTS TO BE FUNDED BY THE PROPOSED TAX INCLUDES:
- Full Phase 1 St. Louis Streetcar, with streetscape improvements, as outlined in 2013 feasibility study
- Funding for Bus Rapid Transit from Downtown St. Louis to I-270 along West Florissant and Natural Bridge Road
- Future Light Rail Station
- Improve sidewalks at Bus stops in County
- Improve sidewalks at Bus stops in City of St. Louis
- Light Rail Expansion Plan including Studies (City and County)
- Delmar/ Forest Park-DeBaliviere MetroLink Station Area improvements.
– Bike, pedestrian, transit station, and vehicular improvements.
– Widen sidewalks, construct ADA ramps, & improve lighting along Hodiamont from Delmar to Skinker.
– Narrow Hodiamont & install multi-use path alongside.
– Road diet on Delmar from Hodiamont to Goodfellow with parking lanes (coincides with Loop Trolley design).
– Enhance DeGiverville & Des Peres as pedestrian gateways linking Stations
– Re-establish vehicular connections between Hodiamont and Enright, Clemens, Cates, and Maple.
– Pedestrian bridge over MetroLink tracks to connect west side of Pershing to existing Metro parking lot.
– Connect Ackert Walkway to Delmar Station.
– Connect Ruth Porter Trail to Forest Park Station and Forest Park, per TOD Plan done by H3 Studio with Bernardin Lochmueller & Associates and M3 Engineering (2013).
- Improve passenger Rail Service to Kirkwood Amtrak Station
- Bus Rapid Transit – Downtown to Chesterfield line via I-64.
Citizens for Modern Transit is a not-for-profit organization in St. Louis whose mission is to expand the light rail system in order to build more sustainable, accessible communities in the region.