Members of the Missouri Public Transit Association (MPTA) help people get where they need to go every day in nearly every county in that state, resulting in more than 60 million rides a year and the employment of thousands in our communities. In addition, Missouri transit is delivering more than $3 billion in economic activity each year. Transit is delivering on its promise to Missouri despite the distinct lack of funding. 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. The MPTA Board of Directors passed its legislative agenda at its November 17 Board meeting for 2022.
The MPTA supported the three federal COVID relief packages since March 2020 which provided more than $30 billion for public transit with $600 million for Missouri providers over the last 20 months through the CARES Act ($248 million); COVID Relief Act ($99.4 million); and American Rescue Plan ($254 million).
In 2021, the MPTA advocated for public transit funding in the new, multi-year Infrastructure bill that just passed including $674 million for Missouri transit.
The federal COVID relief bills delivered a $600 million lifeline for Missouri transit providers. However, Missouri’s investment in transit is even more critical as the impact of the pandemic continues to take its toll on public transit providers across the state. State investment is key to ensure Missouri providers can bring as much federal funding back to the state through matching funds.
According to the 2019 Transit Impact Study, public transit delivers in Missouri. There is a total of 34 transit providers in Missouri. They 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. Public transit is delivering more than $3.6 billion in direct and indirect spending each year.
Support the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission’s request of $8.4 million for Missouri transit. This request would include $6.7 million from General Revenue and $1.7 million from the State Transportation Fund. Currently, state transit funding assistance does not cover the impact of rising maintenance/operating costs of keeping the current systems in good repair. For SFY21, the total core budget was $1,710,875 in State Transportation funds for 34 providers. Funding from General Revenue was zeroed out in 2017.
Support a statewide funding plan for transit access for workforce development. The adoption of such a plan would reflect the importance of public transit to expanding opportunities for job access and growth to all Missourians. Twenty-nine thousand jobs are directly or indirectly supported by public transit, yet thousands more are supported through transit access. A state investment in transit for workforce development would be a game-changer for Missouri employers especially in light of the impact of the pandemic on operator shortages.
Support the request for state COVID relief funds for transit capital projects that will have a lasting impact on the respective community.
Oppose any efforts to allow conceal and carry on transit and advocate for local partnerships for enforcement on transit.
There are many ways for you to be involved with these efforts as MPTA members and transit supporters.
- Please contact your legislators now as we head into 2022 to express your interest in transit funding. There will be many new legislators taking office this session and will need to hear from their constituents that transit makes a difference. In addition, there will be significant discussion on transportation funding.
- Continue reading MPTA’s eblast and blog postings that will keep you updated on where things stand.
- Contact your locally elected officials or weigh in with a letter to the editor about the importance of transit funding. Help build grassroots support in your own community for transit.
- Contact Governor Parson about the need for Missouri to support public transit.
- RIDE TRANSIT, and invite others to get on board with you.