The second half of the 2020 Missouri legislative session pivoted to dealing with the impact of COVID-19 including a $700 million budget shortfall. While many areas of the budget saw additional cuts, Missouri’s investment in transit for 2020 continued to remain the same. The Missouri Legislature just wrapped its 2020 session including its work on the FY 2021 budget which includes $1,710,875 in State Transportation funds for transit and $3 million for MEHTAP. Funding from General Revenue for transit was zeroed out in 2017. This $1.7 million will be split among 34 transit providers in the state. This number remains the same as prior year. However, the budget did include the $61 million in federal funding from the CARES Act which will be administered by the Missouri Department of Transportation for rural transit providers through the 5311 program.
The recent release of the 2019 Economic Impact of Transit in Missouri Report commissioned by Citizens for Modern Transit, Missouri Public Transit Association and AARP St. Louis demonstrated transit providers in Missouri are supporting more than 29,000 jobs and providing more than $3.6 billion in economic returns for this investment.
The AASHTO Survey of State Funding for Public Transportation – Final Report 2020 just released, based on FY2018 data, ranks MO 46th with regards to per capita funding for public transit (includes DC). Only 5 states have a lower per capita investment than Missouri’s 28 cents per capita. Four of those states have no state investment for transit: Alabama, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah. Of the remaining states, only Idaho at 18 cents per capita is lower than Missouri’s 28 cents.
Supplemental Federal Funding
While the full impact of COVID-19 on the transit industry is not yet know, ridership declines of more than 90 percent on some systems, diminishing farebox recoveries, and impact to local sales taxes were visible within weeks of the outbreak. On March 26, the Cares Act delivered a $248 million lifeline for Missouri Transit providers. Congress crossed the finish line 26 with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which included $25 billion in transit funding for rural and urban areas across the country.
Funding included in the Act is allocated to transit operators to protect public health and safety while ensuring transportation access to jobs, medical treatment, food, and other essential services remain available during the COVID-19 response.
MO Large Urban areas
- Kansas City $51,271,164
- Missouri $29,592,282
- Kansas $21,678,882
- Louis $142,528,297
- Missouri $133,524,916
- Illinois $9,003,381
- Springfield $7,633,199
Missouri – Small Urban $23,713,661
- Alton, IL-MO $3,216
- Cape Girardeau, MO-IL $3,680,117
- Columbia, MO $6,505,074
- Jefferson City, MO $2,315,861
- Joplin, MO $3,176,485
- Lee’s Summit, MO $3,751,725
- Joseph, MO-KS $4,281,183
- Rural Section 5311 Providers $61,770,760.00
Total to Missouri – $248,601,619.00
Conceal and Carry on Transit
Various bills were introduced in the MO House of Representatives and the MO Senate this session which would allow individuals with conceal/carry permits to carry their firearms on public transit buses, vans, trains, and other spaces owned or operated by a public transit provider. In light of the understanding that allowing firearms on public transit may serve as a detriment to ridership and has not been proven to enhance safety and security of the system, MPTA as well as Citizens for Modern Transit and many MPTA members opposed any legislation which would allow carrying concealed weapons (CCW) on transit. Several Missouri transit providers including Bi-State, KCATA, and City Utilities of Springfield testified along with CMT and MPTA at hearings throughout the session.
With the outbreak, the Conceal and Carry bills lost their steam in final days of session.