St. Louis Post Dispatch, Friday, November 10, 2023
The St. Louis County Council failed to pass a $128.5 million budget appropriation request from Bi-State Development – a decision that could impact Metro Transit operations if not resolved. The requested funding would help ensure current service levels are maintained, while supporting safety and security measures and efforts to expand the MetroLink system in St. Louis County.
While Bi-State Development has faced post-pandemic challenges – including significant operator shortages and resulting service adjustments and frequencies – plans are underway to continue to move the agency forward. Blocking this needed funding will only compound issues faced and hurt those who rely on transit to meet their everyday needs.
Federal funding support requires a 50:50 match for transit operations and an 80:20 match for capital programming. If the appropriation is not passed, Bi-State Development will also lose out on needed federal funding, making the impact even more significant. If approved by the County Council, the funding would provide the non-federal or local match required for Bi-State Development to secure some of the $91 billion in federal funds earmarked for transit as part of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
As the region’s transit advocacy organization, Citizens for Modern Transit is committed to advocating for a safe, secure, high-quality transit system for current and future riders. This budget appropriation is crucial to guaranteeing transit access for all. We encourage members of the St. Louis County Council to recognize the impacts blocking this funding would have on transit operations and approve the appropriation request.
Kimberly M. Cella
Executive Director of Citizens for Modern Transit and the Missouri Public Transit Association