Transit providers and advocates from across Missouri descended on the Missouri State Capitol on Feb. 7 to talk transit and funding for Missouri Transit providers. At the same time, Senate and House Budget Committees were looking at the Governor’s proposed budget for 2018 which includes removal of all operating assistance for transit from General Revenue ($500,000). This will leave a remaining $1.7 million from the State Transportation Fund for 32 transit providers in MO in 2018. This comes after last month’s withhold of $121,500 of General Revenue for FY17.
Transit advocates met with the chair of the Senate and House Transportation Committee, Budget committee members and others to talk about the direct impact transit was having in their communities including jobs, access to jobs and healthcare and economic development spurred by transit. The discussions included the need for MO to consider possible new funding sources for transit in order to draw down federal funds for programs.
“We have a long road ahead of us in MO with regards to transit funding. Right now, MO is getting a great deal for little more than $2 million this year and next year $1.7 million including 67 million rides annually, thousands of jobs and millions in development around some of our systems. However, as we move forward, it is becoming more and more difficult for our providers to deliver without that state support. In addition, our providers are missing opportunities for federal funding without the ability to raise the local match. It is time for MO to consider a total transportation program with transit as a critical component. We need to prioritize transit to deliver directly to Missouri’s bottom line,” said Kim Cella, MPTA Executive Director.
As a part of the day’s events, MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna provided a snapshot on transit and transportation in M0:
- State TRansit Assistance (matched by locals) $1.7 million from the State Transportation Fund for 2018
- Federal Transit Program (matched by locals) $59.5 million
- Missouri Elderly and Handicapped Transportation Assistance Program (matched by locals) $2.469 million (50 percent General Revenue and 50 percent State Transportation Fund)
- Federal State Safety Oversight for Light Rail $630,000 (80% federal, 20% State Transportation Fund)
MoDOT also recommended restoration of the Missouri Moves Costshare Program, however, the recommendation was not moved forward. “The MO Costshare Program documented the need in our communities for transit projects. We received requests totaling more than $100 million and representing projects totaling more than $320 million in our communities. It also demonstrated that transit is not a rural versus urban issue,” said McKenna.
There are many ways for you to be involved with these efforts.
1. Please contact your legislators now to express your interest in transit funding. There are many new legislators taking office this session and will need to hear from their constituents that transit makes a difference.
2. Continue reading MPTA’s eblast and blog postings that will keep you updated on where things stand.
3. Call, visit or email your state legislators about the need for a state funding plan for transit.
4. Contact Governor Elect Greitens about the need for Missouri to support public transit.
5. RIDE TRANSIT, and invite others to get on board with you.
Thank you in advance for all you do to make Missouri a better place to be with Transit!