During his State of the State address on January 19, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson released his budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2023, which included key investments in public transit. There is still much review that is just getting underway by the House and Senate on the Governor’s Budget recommendations.
MoDOT’s request for SFY2023 was $8.7 million for transit operating assistance. This included $1.7 from the State Transportation Fund and $7 million from General Revenue.
Funding included in the 2023 Governor’s Budget for Transit include:
- Transit Operating Assistance – $1.7 million from the State Transportation Fund;
- MEHTAP – $3 million from General Revenue and the State Transportation Fund;
- ARPA Federal Funds (New item/One time funding) – $12.9 million for rural transit operating assistance;
- Federal Funding programs:
- Section 5310, Elderly and Disabled – $10.6 million federal funds
- Section 5311, Formula Transit Grants for Rural Areas – $92.8 million federal funds (includes CARES ACT funding of $61.8 million)
- Section 5309, National Discretionary Capital Grants – $1 million federal funds
- Section 5303 and 5304, Metropolitan and Statewide Planning Grants – $1 million, federal funds
- Bus and Bus Facility Grants – $9.9 million, federal funds
“We are pleased to see the allocation of ARPA funds to our rural providers in the Governor’s budget. This one-time federal funding will help those providers continue essential service as we navigate through the pandemic. Citizens for Modern Transit (CMT), however, will continue to advocate and work with state legislators to ensure state support for all transit operators in the final budget. This state funding piece, MoDOT’s request of $7 million from General Revenue plus the $1.7 million from State Transportation Fund, is critical to providing matching funds for the new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) which has a 30 percent increase in funding for transit in the first year,” said Kimberly Cella, Citizens for Modern Transit Executive Director.
The five-year, $1.2 trillion IIJA Act passed in 2021 provides $91 billion in federal funding for transit. These dollars could significantly influence Missouri’s ability to provide critical access to jobs, healthcare, and education – however, there is a catch. Non-federal or local match funds are required. Without it, states will be leaving federal funding on the table.
Therein lies the crux of the issue in Missouri. The Show-Me State ranks 45th in the nation with regards to transit investment. For the last four years, Missouri has only allocated $1.7 million in local funding for transit and that total is split between 34 transit providers. Any federal funding support for transit operations requires a 50:50 match, and capital programs need an 80:20 match. Missouri transit providers have worked diligently to identify local funding sources through sales tax, private contracts, and more, but the most significant missing link in the formula is the lack of state funding.
“The state legislature has an opportunity in 2022 to ensure Missouri can draw down federal funds. The Missouri Department of Transportation appropriation request is $8.7 million for transit. This is a local funding level not seen in state investment since 2002. CMT will be encouraging elected representatives to stand in support of this request,” said Cella.