Public transit goes beyond simply providing transportation services – It serves as a lifeline. For some, it’s the sole means by which they can get to work, school and doctor appointments, as well as gain access to shopping, services and entertainment.
Public transit systems here, and throughout the state, need to be expanded to cover more riders, in more neighborhoods in both urban and rural areas. But, it all comes down to funding.
Other transit systems nationwide receive approximately 40% of funding from their states. This is not the case in Missouri. In 2017, the state legislature slashed transit funding and left $1.7 million to be split among 34 transit providers. This is a sharp contrast to the 2002 state budget, when transit funds topped $8 million. For Metro in St. Louis, these cuts translated into only a little more than $400,000 in funds, which is LESS than 1% of its annual operating budget.
Leaders statewide have been involved in substantial planning to identify key projects that will offer more public transportation options and improve access to opportunity, attract talent and create thousands of jobs. Citizens for Modern Transit stands with the Missouri Public Transit Association in acknowledgment that we must design our communities in MO for everyone – not just cars – to continue to prosper and expand. CMT encourages readers to ask their legislators to support transit funding and to remember that whether they personally take transit or not – St. Louis needs a quality public transit system.
Kimberly Cella, Executive Director of Citizens for Modern Transit and the Missouri Public Transit Association