Letter to the Editor, Columbia Missourian, May 24, 2023
The 2023 Missouri Legislative session wrapped up in mid-May with a historic move in support of public transportation. The legislature approved HB4, which includes $10 million in General Revenue and another $1.7 million from the State Transportation Fund, totaling $11.7 million in transit funding from the state. It is now up to Governor Parson to sign the bill into law.
This will be the second consecutive year Missouri has increased its transit funding. In 2022, the state invested $8.7 million in transit, marking the first substantive investment in transit in more than two decades. The 2023 investment represents a 34% increase over 2022, and a more than 580% increase since 2021.
This critical funding will help provide the local match required to enable transit providers to secure 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. Missouri providers have been working diligently to identify local funding sources through sales tax, private contracts and more, but the most significant missing link up to this point has been the lack of state funding.
This is a huge win for every county in the state. Thank you to the state of Missouri for making transit funding a priority and helping to maintain and expand transit accessibility.
Kimberly Cella is the executive director of Citizens for Modern Transit and the Missouri Public Transit Association