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. This translates into more than 47 million rides a year, the employment of thousands of Missourians, and $3.6 billion in economic activity each year. Transit is delivering on its promise to Missouri, but the impact could be even bigger, better and more profound. Currently, Missouri ranks in the lower half with regards to transit funding across the country. And this is on the heels of Missouri making its largest transit investment in two decades. Another increase in investment by the state could exponentially change the game in terms of economic return.
MPTA supported the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in November 2021, which provided a five-year, $91 billion transit authorization as part of the $1.2 trillion measure. MPTA will continue to advocate for the use of these available federal funds in the following ways.
- 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. MPTA supports raising the federal gas tax as it has not been raised since 1993 and/or other funding mechanisms to ensure the fund remains solvent.
- 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.
Support the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission request of $11.7 million for transit in the state of Missouri, which includes $10 million from General Revenue and $1.7 million from the State Transportation Fund to be divided among the state’s 32 transit providers. Currently, state transit funding assistance does not cover the impact of rising maintenance/operating costs of keeping the current systems in good repair. This funding is imperative and starts to put Missouri in line with some of its peer states as it relates to transit investment.
Support a statewide apprentice program for transit operators in Missouri. The adoption of such a plan would reflect the importance of public transit to expanding opportunities for job access and growth to all Missourians. 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 service demands.
Oppose any efforts to allow conceal and carry on transit and advocate for local law enforcement partnerships on transit. 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. As such, MPTA and many Missouri transit providers have and will continue to oppose 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 2024 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.