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Opinion: Transit funding could finally be back on track

  

The Missouri legislative session adjourned with a historic move in support of public transportation. For the first time in two decades, Missouri is set to invest $8.7 million in transit — a sum that would be split among the 34 transit providers operating in the state.

Kimberly Cella

This increase is critically needed — considering Missouri is ranked No. 45 in the nation for transit investment and had allocated only $1.7 million each of the last four consecutive years — but it will go so much further when considering federal matches.

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. This would be the case no more.

Missouri could finally be back on track. Funding would help expand transit accessibility and continue allowing transit providers to deliver millions of rides annually so Missourians can gain access to jobs, health care needs, education, goods, and services.

Thank you to those who stood in support of transit. This will be a very big win if Gov. Mike Parson signs it into law.