Amendment 7 is the only proposition before us now to provide additional resources for public transit. Currently, Missouri ranks near the bottom of the list nationally with regards to state funding for transit. Last year , Metro received less than $400,000 in state funds for the operation of a $250 million plus budget. Citizens for Modern Transit endorses Amendment 7, a three-fourths of 1 percent increase in Missouri’s general sales tax to be spent on the improvement of priority transportation projects in Missouri, for public transit.
Here are 7 reasons to get on board with public transit and Amendment 7 on August 5:
1. This sales tax for the first time gives flexibility to the funding for all modes of transportation including public transit. No other funding source has provided for all modes in Missouri. The gas tax, by constitutional amendment, can only be used for roads and bridges.
2. The priority list for the St. Louis region includes a wide range of projects including a light rail station in the City of St. Louis, studies for future light rail extensions and/or build outs, streetcars, bus rapid transit and other transit projects. There is significant commitment on the part of the City of St. Louis to ensure transit receives more than 30 percent of the revenues over the 10 year time period.
3. Without a new funding source for transit in Missouri, the St. Louis region will begin to lose its ability to compete for federal dollars for transit.
4. This tax will provide the St. Louis region approximately $145 million for public transit projects over ten years.
5. Millennials, older adults and immigrants are demanding more public transit options. These demands cannot be met without the help of the state. According to AARP, older Missourians increasingly rely on public transportation resources like city bus services and OATS.
6. Funds cannot be diverted by current or future politicians to non-transportation spending because Amendment 7 is a constitutional amendment. In addition, necessity goods such as groceries, prescriptions drugs and fuel are exempt from this tax.
7. Both rural and urban areas will receive money for public transit. For the first time, there is a significant funding source for rural transit providers – $80 million over 10 years. Kansas City area has prioritized 30 percent of their funds for transit.
Amendment 7 is an opportunity for more funding for public transit in MO. Missouri does not have the luxury of passing up any funding options for transit.