St. Louis Leaders Weigh In on MetroLink as Near 25th Anniversary

anmeeting_artMetroLink’s 25th Anniversary is right around the corner on July 31.  From the moment MetroLink hit the rails in 1993, ridership far exceeded forecasted expectations.  Today, St. Louis has 46 miles, 37 stations and one more to open very shortly in Midtown in the heart of the Cortex Innovation Community with an interconnected MetroBus system.

Voters have also done their part. Those living in St. Louis City rallied behind transit in 1997, as did those in St. Louis County in 2010, making national headlines for passing a sales tax by 63 percent to fund transit, despite a bleak economy.

The benefits have not stopped there.  Since MetroLink’s opening, more than $16 billion in new development  has been tracked within a ½ mile radius of the system.

As a part of the celebration, CMT reached out to local leaders from MO and IL about the importance of MetroLink to this community.  Here are some of their remarks:

A thriving community has many components with high quality public transportation among them.  For 25 years, Citizens for Modern Transit has been a strong voice and leader in lifting up the importance of access to public transit for all members of our region.  As a member of the Board of Directors, I get to see firsthand the passion, commitment and innovation that the organization brings to living out its mission for the benefit of our region.  June McAllister Fowler, Chair, CMT Board of Directors

After 25 years, MetroLink is part of the fabric of the St. Louis region.  It is a key transit resource that many area residents rely on as an important component of their everyday lives.  While celebrating MetroLink’s 25th  anniversary, we need to look ahead with a focus on how to continuously improve the system to best meet the needs of residents now and in the future. St.  Louis County Executive Steve Stenger 

The RBC congratulates MetroLink on 25 years of connecting people and places in the St. Louis region. Since its opening, MetroLink has played a major role in the economic growth and expansion of our community, particularly in the areas surrounding stations. Public transportation enriches the quality of life for residents and connects all of us to places where we live, work and play. We salute Metro and Citizens for Modern Transit for their remarkable service. Kathy Osborn, President & CEO,  Regional Business Council  

MetroLink has been providing a good public transit option to St. Louisans and visitors for 25 years. Looking forward to future improvement and expansion!  Mayor Lyda Krewson, City of St. Louis

The MetroLink light rail system connects St. Louis’s businesses, employment centers, cultural and educational institutions.  It is an integral part of our transportation infrastructure, and it helps link Washington University students, faculty and staff to the community’s many exciting, interesting venues.   Mark S. Wrighton, Chancellor, Washington University

The MetroLink system provides a key service to all St. Louisans. Through a robust public transit system, medically underserved community members can gain access to comprehensive healthcare services to improve their health and wellbeing. Responsive Public Transit promotes the region’s health.   Bethany Johnson-Javois, CEO, St. Louis Integrated Health Network

Congratulations on 25 years of Metrolink in the Region!  I use it, but two years ago I really needed it.  I broke my leg and was unable to drive for 6 weeks.  I used my late husband, Max J Starkloff’s wheelchair, rode it to the Metrolink stop and got to work every day on light rail!  I thank Max and CMT for this great transit option and wish you many more years and more lines in the future!  Colleen Kelly Starkloff, Starkloff Disability Institute

MetroLink has proven to be an effective method for helping St. Louisans move readily to all St. Louis has to offer.  As it has grown, so has St. Louis.  Leonard Toenjes, President, Associated General Contractors of Missouri   

Transit plays a critical role in the lives of many residents in St. Louis. MetroLink provides access to thousands of our members to jobs, education and healthcare.   As we celebrate 25 years, we need to look to the future to determine how we can improve this access to reach thousands more. Nancy Cross, SEIU Local 1

MetroLink is turning 25 years old, and I like to refer to it as a cornerstone of successful regional development, but this anniversary reminds us to be cognizant of what our investments are and how do we use them to enhance the future for our citizens’ health and freedom.  MetroLink is a key element of this greater future, but we need to continue our investment in its success.  Mark Kern, St. Clair County Board Chairman 

Millions of people have relied on Metrolink for their transportation needs over the past 25 years.  I congratulate Metrolink on reaching this important milestone and look forward to its continued efforts to provide commuters, tourists, and families a reliable transit system.  U.S. Senator Roy Blunt

The best example of what our region can do when its residents and leaders cooperate, and persist, is the MetroLink. We navigated difficult challenges when building the system, but we now have a permanent public transit asset that ties the region together.  MetroLink reflects a facet of our transportation infrastructure that will help address the region’s future transportation needs.  Jim Wild, East West Gateway Council of Governments

BJC is proud to acknowledge the important work undertaken by Citizens for Modern Transit.  With the majority of our hospitals accessible via rail or bus lines, public transportation serves as a vital link to connecting our team members with their places of employment.  Access to jobs strengthens the economic fabric of our community and as a major employer in the St. Louis region, we applaud CMT for 25 years of advocating for public transit.  Richard Liekweg, President and CEO, BJC HealthCare