MetroLink’s 20th Anniversary is two weeks from today. From the moment MetroLink hit the rails in 1993, ridership far exceeded forecasted expectations. And, that momentum shows no sign of slowing. Just last year, MetroLink’s ridership increases landed the system among the Top 10 light rail systems across the country.
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. With such support, the original system continued to expand, and today, consists of 37 MetroLink stations along 43 miles of light rail in Missouri and Illinois that connect with MetroBus for an integrated system that drives regional economic development.
The benefits have not stopped there. Since MetroLink’s opening, CMT has tracked more than $16 billion in new development 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:
MetroLink provides a critical connection between the region’s communities. It is a link for job growth, a link for you to become a tourist in your own town, and a link between our neighborhoods. Not only has MetroLink helped the region grow over the past 20 years, but it will continue to do so as more young people become less car-dependent and more focused on sustainable transportation. Francis Slay, Mayor, City of St. Louis
MetroLink is an investment that the St. Louis region can be proud of! The easy and accessible commute provided by MetroLink between our two centers of commerce helps to further connect us. The key to a successful St. Louis region is bridging the political and social barriers in our region, and MetroLink does exactly that!
St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley
MetroLink has helped the people of the St. Louis, Missouri / Illinois region better understand the value of public transportation. The improved public transportation system that came with the implementation of MetroLink provided us with more opportunities for employment, education, recreation and health care than we had before and our citizens realize that now.
Bill Grogan, Managing Director, St. Clair County Transit District
Access to transit in St. Louis connects people and provides a critical network for jobs and economic growth that helps keep our region competitive. Congratulations to Metrolink for 20 years of helping our region grow!
Joe Reagan, President and CEO, St. Louis Regional Chamber
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
MetroLink has proven in its 20 years that it is not just about the ride from Point A to Point B. MetroLink is the opportunity to create livable, walkable, sustainable communities in this region that improves economic development opportunities, creates jobs and improves the overall quality of life. This system has come a long way, and I look forward to working to see it go even farther to improving this region!
Don C. Musick, III, Chair, Citizens for Modern Transit Board of Directors
Metrolink has provided a large segment of the metropolitan population to be able to move around the city and it has been a great economic booster to the region over the last 20 years. Robert A.Soutier, President, Greater St. Louis Labor Council, AFL-CIO
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 St. Louis
MetroLink has been a vital connector for millions of people in both Missouri and Illinois for 20 years now. I congratulate the system on 20 years of service to the city and region and look forward to its continued efforts to assist individuals who depend on the system for their transportation needs. U.S. Senator Roy Blunt
The Saint Louis Building and Construction Trades Council salutes MetroLink for 20 years of making St. Louis a better place to live and work. MetroLink provides the region the opportunity to build more livable, sustainable communities where St. Louisans can live, work and play all in one place. We look forward to seeing more MetroLink in the next 20 years –
Jeffrey Aboussie, Executive Secretary –Treasurer, Building & Construction Trades Council
MetroLink has brought the region together by connecting jobs, residents, and visitors to the wonderful assets of St. Louis. MetroLink’s downtown connections have substantially contributed to its resurgence and helped make it a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood for everyone to enjoy. –
Zack Boyers, Chair, The Partnership for Downtown St. Louis, Chairman & CEO, US Bancorp Community Development Corp.
There is no better reminder, or example, of what this region can do when its residents and leaders cooperate and persist, than MetroLink. In both its origin, and its extension, we navigated difficult issues, but we now have a permanent public transit plus that both ties the region together for work and recreation, and it provides a modern light rail aspect to our transportation infrastructure that will help answer the region’s future transit needs.
Ed Hillhouse, East West Gateway Council of Governments
MetroLink has been a huge success and has been a tremendous asset for the people of our region for the past 20 years. Congratulations to my friends at Metro and Citizens for Modern Transit for all that you do for our region. Former US Congressman Jerry F Costello
For the last 20 years, MetroLink has helped connect residents and visitors to a vibrant network of businesses and communities across the St. Louis region. By providing affordable, efficient transportation and reducing traffic congestion and air pollution, modern mass transit systems like MetroLink are a wise investment in America’s future. Senator Dick Durbin
Metrolink has been connecting our community for two decades. Its continued success is vital for jobs, tourism, economic growth and neighborhood development. Public transit makes our region, stronger, cleaner and more unified. Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay (D) Missouri
The late Max J. Starkloff was instrumental in ensuring that Metrolink was accessible to all people with disabilities. Kudos to Metro for taking heed of his advice and including people with disabilities in the mainstream of life in St. Louis through accessible public transportation. Max and hundreds of thousands of disabled persons have been connected to St. Louis through Metrolink. Colleen Kelly Starkloff, Starkloff Disability Institute
MetroLink has brought an affordable and modern transit alternative that has stimulated growth and connected our communities and major institutions as never before. It has also united our region, an outcome has set the stage for future cooperation and progress as a region. Congressman Bill Enyart
Still time to register for the event at http://staging.cmt-stl.org/2othmetrolinkanniversary/. We hope to see you there!