Citizens for Modern Transit (CMT), in partnership with the Missouri Public Transit Association (MPTA), hosted its quarterly “Talking Transit” event on Tuesday, Oct 24, via Zoom to address the state of transit in Missouri, specifically when it comes to transit funding.
This has been a historic year for public transit in Missouri. The state saw record level funding for public transit with the passage of HB4, allocating $11.7 million to be split among the 32 transit providers operating in the state. This is the second consecutive year Missouri has invested additional funding for transit. Prior to that, funding remained stagnant for nearly two decades. While it’s a huge win for the state – representing a 580% investment increase over 2021 – challenges remain for the transit providers and transit riders across Missouri. These challenges were highlighted during this quarter’s Talking Transit event.
The Talking Transit panel discussion featured Taulby Roach, President and CEO of Bi-State Development, which operates Metro Transit for the St. Louis region; Frank White, III, President and CEO of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA); and Dorothy Yeager, Executive Director of OATS, the largest rural transit provider in the country. It was moderated by Kimberly Cella, Executive Director of Citizens for Modern Transit and the Missouri Public Transit Association.
Each panelist provided very real and transparent insights on an array of topics, including:
- Respective agencies’ utilization of state funding and the critical role it plays in drawing down federal funds, which require a 50:50 match for transit operations and an 80:20 match for capital programming;
- Status of the labor shortages impacting service and what is being done to address the issue;
- Successes, especially with regards to the work done in Kansas City;
- Plans for the modernization of systems;
- Ridership needs adjustments; and
- The future for each agency.
The entire event is available below.