2024 Legislative Session Wraps with Retention of State Investment in Transit Operations

The 2024 Missouri Legislative session wrapped on Friday, May 17 with a third year of increased investment in transit. HB 2004 which was approved includes $10 million in General Revenue plus $1.7 million from the State Transportation Fund for transit operations, a retention of the funding levels from 2023 which marks a 34 percent increase over 2022 levels, and more than 580 percent increase since 2021.

This was the first year the Governor recommended the higher investment level of $11.7 million for transit, and it marks a significant move for this funding to a part of the core budget. In 2022, Missouri invested $8.7 million in transit, an increase of $7 million over 2021. This investment was the first substantive investment in transit in more than 2 decades. Last year, the legislature moved this funding to $10 million from General Revenue and $1.7 million from the state transportation fund. This increase is critically needed – considering Missouri ranked near the bottom with regards to transit investment for decades.

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. Missouri transit 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 had been the lack of state funding.

MEHTAP funding held at $5 million. In addition,HB20 included $6 million at the state level as the twenty percent matching funds for $24 million from the federal 5310 capital program for non-profits for vehicles.

The budget now goes to the Governor to sign it into law.  It is imperative that transit supporters reach out to the Governor for his support of transit.

Conceal and Carry on Transit

Various bills were introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives and the Missouri 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, Citizens for Modern Transit, as well as many MPTA members opposed any legislation which would allow carrying concealed weapons (CCW) on transit. HB 1708, conceal carry on transit, remained on the Informal Calendar with no activity during session.  Likewise, there was no activity in the Senate on the companion bill SB 1166.

The MPTA released the “Transit is a Lifeline” legislative piece outlining the impact of transit on actual riders, employers and businesses in both rural and urban areas.  The piece is available online to download.

Thanks to all those who reached out on the impact of these bills during this session.