Members of the Missouri Public Transit Association (MPTA) help people get where they need to go every day in nearly every county in the state, resulting in more than 47 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 and in 2022, there was historic investment on the part of the state at $8.7 million in operating assistance. 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 29 Board meeting for 2023.
MPTA supported the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) which was passed into law in November 2021. The five-year $91 billion transit authorization is only one small part of this $1.2 trillion measure. MPTA advocated for public transit funding in the bill including these priorities:
- Multi-year transportation reauthorization legislation to provide consistency for planning
- Growth in the Highway Trust Fund’s Mass Transit Account through increased transportation investment funding. The Highway Trust Fund, which supports federal grant programs for transit, is near insolvency. CMT supports raising the federal gas tax which has not been raised since 1993 and/or other funding mechanisms to ensure the fund remains solvent and the federal program continues to play a part in funding transportation infrastructure at the national level
- Key transit formula programs (Sections 5307, 5310, 5311 and 5339) funded fully out of the Highway Trust Fund’s Mass Transit Account
- Predictable, steady growth in key formula programs (Sections 5307, 5310, 5311 and 5339) throughout the reauthorization
Missouri saw historic funding for public transit with the passage of HB 3004 in 2022. For the first time in two decades, Missouri invested $8.7 million in transit – a sum split amongst the 34 transit providers operating in the state. This included $1,710,875 million in State Transportation Funds with an additional $7 million from General Revenue.
This funding will help provide the non-federal or local match required to enable transit providers to draw down some of the $91 billion in federal funds earmarked for transit as part of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Federal funding support requires a 50:50 match for transit operations and an 80:20 match for capital programming.
Support the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission request of $17,160,875 for Missouri transit. This request would include $15.45 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 SFY22, the total core budget was $1,710,875 in State Transportation funds and $7 million in General Revenue for 34 providers. According to the 2022 Statewide Transit Needs Assessment Study this $17 million would put Missouri in line with some of its peer states with regards to transit investment.
Support a statewide apprentice program for transit operators. 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. In addition, the shortage of operators is one of the biggest challenges right now to the transit industry. Creation of a statewide apprentice program would standardize training across Missouri helping both rural and urban agencies meet the service demands. Currently, many Missouri providers are faced with cutting service due to the operator shortage.
Oppose any efforts to allow conceal and carry on transit and advocate for local law enforcement partnerships on transit. 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, many Missouri transit providers have opposed any legislation which would allow carrying concealed weapons (CCW) 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 2023 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.