This year, the Missouri General Assembly approved $560,875 in state transportation funds and $500,000 in general revenue for Missouri’s Transit Program. It was a part of the Missouri Department of Transportation appropriation in House Bill 4 and was approved by the Governor this past summer. This is an increase of $500,000 over the previous year’s appropriation. However, this is not nearly enough to take transit where we need to go in Missouri.
In Fiscal Year 2010, the Transit Program appropriation from the state was $4.015 million, which included $3.200 million in general revenue and $815,000 in state transportation funds. The General Assembly then passed a Fiscal Year 2011 budget which included $3.601 million in transit funding. Of this amount, all general revenue was withheld, leaving only $560,875 in state transportation funds. Subsequently, the withhold became a permanent cut in the Fiscal Year 2012 and 2013 budgets. According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, Missouri is 36th with regards to state funding for public transit based FY11 funding levels.
On an annual per capita funding basis, Missouri’s $0.50 would place Missouri at 40th with regards to state funding for public transit.
Transit can get Missouri back on track. For every one dollar invested in transit, there is a $4 return for Missouri. Transit creates jobs, provides access to jobs in urban and rural areas, creates opportunity for development and helps move our elderly and disabled throughout the state. The funding above will be spread over 33 service providers in Missouri.
As we head into 2014 there will be discussions about MoDOT”s long range plan, the proposed one-cent general sales tax for transit and other funding mechanisms. If transit is a priority for MO, then a funding plan must be put in place that allows MO to be competitive for transit.