The Missouri Public Transit Association (MPTA) provider members provide more than 67 million rides a year almost everywhere for everybody almost every day in Missouri, and they employ thousands in our communities. Public transit serves customers in every county – rural and urban – and is critical to meeting the transportation needs of Missouri’s citizens. Good public transit infrastructure improves access to jobs, healthcare and educational opportunities; brings greater economic development; and promotes reinvestment in underserved parts of our community while binding our communities together.
MPTA supported the passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act which was passed into law in December 2015. This was the first long-term federal transportation bill since 2005. There were no cuts to overall funding levels from the prior bill, MAP-21, including funding for public transportation. The bill authorizes $230 billion for highways, $61 billion for public transportation, $10 billion for passenger rail and $5 billion for highway safety programs.
While there is now a long-term transportation bill in place, this makes MPTA’s state agenda more critical for possible matching funds for transit operations and capital investment.
In the short term, MPTA supports policies and increased funding for operations of transit providers that promote effective and sustainable system operations and enables a favorable return on investment.
Missouri currently spends $0.09 cents per capita for public transit funding. Illinois spends more than $60 per capita on transit. Currently, the State of Missouri ranks 44th out of 50 states with regards to funding of public transit.
For SFY16, the total core budget for MO State Transit Assistance was $500,000 in general revenue and $560,875 in State Transportation Funds as those are defined in the “Missouri Code of State Regulations”. This was distributed to 32 service providers in the state.
For SFY17, in addition to its core spending request noted above, MoDOT requested a new expenditure in the amount of $3 million in general revenue and $1.15 million in State Transportation Funds. The Governor has also recommended the inclusion of the additional $1.15 million in State Transportation Funds.
MPTA supports a statewide funding plan for transit which includes funding for capital and operating expenses. Adoption of such a plan would reflect the importance of public transit to expanding opportunities for all Missourians. This would include improving access to jobs, education and healthcare; opportunities for economic development; and investment in disadvantaged areas of the state.
Unique opportunity with the release of Forward through Ferguson report commissioned by Governor Nixon.
- The report notes a state funding plan is essential because “State funded transit development matches are required to compete for necessary federal funding and such a plan will make Missouri eligible for federal matching funds for transportation infrastructure. Federal funds, as part of a broader funding plan, are critical to the long-term success of transportation development.” Education at the state level:
- Partner with other organizations like regional chambers, labor, healthcare, and Transit Alliance organizations to spread the message to broader audience about transit
- Impact of transit on the state’s economy
- Localize economic impact by linking legislators with MPTA member stories in their areas
- Provide a transit story for both rural and urban legislators on impacts to state’s economyLOCAL
- Educate elected officials about the importance of public transit with meetings with MPTA members in their districts
- Advocate for and support creative funding mechanisms or packages for transit funding at the local levels
- Develop materials for MPTA members to reach out to constituents in their areas