Testimony for Senate Appropriations Committee on HB 4 Taulby Roach, Bi-State CEO and MPTA member, Missouri Public Transit Association, January 15, 2020
Public transit is delivering on its promise to Missouri despite the distinct lack of state investment. Public transit is promoting equality, job creation, stronger economies and the vibrancy of neighborhoods in communities across the state. But, the impact could be bigger, better and more profound. Any increase in investment by the State of Missouri could exponentially change the game in terms of economic return. AND, while the current ROI is significant, as transit providers face continued lack of state funding in their budgets, these returns are going to diminish quickly as service cuts continue.
The 2019 Economic Impact of Public Transit Services in the State of Missouri study has provided the state with localized numbers tied to rider demographics, economic impacts, transit agency spending and funding sources. And, these numbers are speaking volumes.
- There’s a total of 34 transit providers in Missouri that collectively spend $675 million each year on operations, capital improvements and labor compensation for the 4,500 individuals who are employed at an average salary of $64,200. They also provide an annual average of 60.1 million rides. In conjunction with these trips, transit riders are spending $600 million on goods and services, translating into a direct economic impact of $1.28 billion each year in Missouri.
- The direct transit industry spending triggers another $2.4 billion in statewide economic activity, including $1.03 billion in added household earnings for Missourians. These indirect, or multiplier effects, further support another 24,680 jobs in the state that pay an average of $30,200 per year. The direct and indirect economic output supported by public transit’s annual operations exceeds $3.67 billion in Missouri.
Last year, Missouri allocated $1.75 million per year for public transit, a total that must be divided among all 34 transit providers. Some providers are getting as little as $5,000. This is a record low.
Missouri ranks 47th in the country for state funding. Safe, reliable, affordable, and efficient public transportation systems increase access to employment, education and health care in our region. Access to transit addresses inequities in communities, and public transportation is key to expanding opportunity for all in Missouri. MPTA is asking you to support the $3 million earmarked from General Revenue in MoDOT’s budget for paratransit subsidies, the $1.75 million from the State Transportation Fund for transit operations, and $8 million for a Workforce Development Training Access Fund.
Gov. Parson recently called for bold transportation solutions. Missouri, let’s be bold, let’s fund transit. Thank you.