For the first time in Missouri’s history, there is a proposed State constitutional amendment which will provide dedicated state funding for public transit. Right now, each year, public transit advocates and providers of transit fight to preserve a little more than $1 million in funding for more than 30 transit providers in the state. Missouri’s transit supporters and riders deserve to have more of their tax revenue used for public transportation.
On August 5, Missouri voters will have the chance to fix this inequality. We can help support Missouri’s transit and transportation needs, including bicycling, walking, bus and rail service. If Amendment 7 passes, three-fourths of a one percent increase in Missouri’s sales tax will be dedicated to improving each region’s transportation projects, including TRANSIT.
Amendment 7 will allow communities to direct their tax-payer funds to local priorities. In many localities, this added revenue will provide increased options such as public transit for Missourians who don’t drive or don’t have access to a car. Here are some of the potential projects that would be funded here in our community:
• New MetroLink station added to current system
• Funding towards the St Louis Streetcar system
• Bus rapid transit from downtown St. Louis to I-270 along West Florissant and Natural Bridge Road
• Bus rapid transit from downtown to Chesterfield via I-64
• Light rail expansion studies – St. Louis City and County
• Infrastructure improvements at bus stops in St. Louis City and County
• MetroLink station upgrades at both the Delmar and Forest Park-DeBaliviere stations
• Enhanced passenger rail service to Kirkwood Amtrak station
Amendment 7’s list of priority projects includes more than $800 million in transit and Amtrak projects over the next ten years when combined with matching funds from regional sources. This is a game changer for transit in Missouri, and many organizations such as the MO Public Transit Association, the St. Louis Regional Chamber, the Regional Business Council, and Civic Progress have all endorsed Amendment 7.
Studies indicate strong support among various age groups for public transit, especially people aged 18-35, older adults, and immigrant populations. In addition, additional transit options increase access for our lower income households and disabled citizens.
Funds dedicated to the projects identified in Amendment 7 cannot be diverted by current or future politicians to non-transportation projects. The St. Louis region’s dedicated revenue will be distributed to the MO Department of Transportation and to Metro for support of identified transit needs. Metro will be responsible for transit projects and MoDOT will provide oversight and ensure that all regional projects are completed within the 10- year timeframe.
Goods including groceries, prescriptions drugs and utilities are exempt from this tax. In addition, this tax would allow Missouri to significantly increase funding to public transit in rural and urban areas, an option that is not allowed under the current Missouri gas tax.
Citizens for Modern Transit endorses Amendment 7 for public transit. It provides a dedicated source of funding for our area’s transit needs, and on August 5, we urge all supporters of public transportation to vote Yes on Amendment 7.
For more information about Citizens for Modern Transit, visitwww.cmt-stl.org or call (314) 231-7272. You can also find them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @cmt_stl.
July 11, 2014
Dear CMT member:
At its June 30 board meeting, the CMT board of directors debated the advantages and disadvantages of Amendment 7, a ¾ percent sales tax increase proposal that will be earmarked for Missouri’s transportation needs, including dedicated funding for public transit. For the first time in Missouri’s history, passage of Amendment 7 will dedicate critical state funding to this region’s public transit system. After a careful, considerable, and thoughtful discussion, the board unanimously endorsed Amendment 7.
Staff and board members of CMT have held several conversations with St. Louis City, Ct. Louis County, and MODOT regarding the list of transit projects which will be funded with proceeds from increased revenue available should Amendment 7 pass. These negotiations have resulted in a priority list for the St. Louis region which increases funding for public transit needs, including the addition of a light rail station as well as studies for future expansion. There is significant commitment on the part of the City of St. Louis to ensure transit receives more than 30 percent of the revenues over the 10 year time period.
Currently, Missouri ranks near the bottom of the list nationally with regards to state funding for transit. Last year, Metro received less than $400,000 in state funds for the operation of a $250 million plus budget.
Here are 7 reasons CMT members should consider supporting Amendment 7 on Aug. 5:
1. Amendment 7 is the first statewide initiative which includes funding for all modes of transportation including public transit. Missouri’s gas tax, by constitutional amendment, can be used only for roads and bridges.
2. The priority list for the St. Louis region includes a wide range of projects including a light rail station in the City of St. Louis, studies for future light rail extensions and/or build outs, streetcars, bus rapid transit and other transit projects. There is significant commitment on the part of the City of St. Louis to ensure transit receives more than 30 percent of the revenues over the 10 year time period.
3. Without a new funding source for transit in Missouri, the St. Louis region is losing its ability to compete for federal dollars for transit.
4. This initiative provides the St. Louis region with approximately $145 million in new revenue dedicated to public transit projects over ten years including a $10 million contribution from MoDOT from other funding sources for BRT in St. Louis City and County.
5. Groups including millennials, older adults and immigrants are heavy users of public transit and support more public transit options. Demands for additional bus and light rail service requires State funding. According to AARP Missouri’s senior population increasingly relies on public transportation resources like city bus services and OATS.
6. Since Amendment 7 is a constitutional amendment, funds cannot be diverted by current or future politicians for non-transportation uses. In addition, necessity goods such as groceries, prescriptions drugs and fuel are exempt from this tax.
7. Both rural and urban areas will receive money for public transit. For the first time, there is a significant funding source for rural transit providers – $80 million over 10 years. Kansas City area has prioritized 30 percent of their funds for transit.
Amendment 7 provides Missouri’s citizens with an important opportunity to increase funding for public transportation projects throughout the State. CMT supports additional revenue to advance this region’s public transit system and encourages its membership to support Amendment 7.
Don C. Musick, III
Chair, CMT Board of Directors
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Thursday, July 17, Kansas City Central Library
Multi-purpose Room, Vault Level
14 W. 10th St., Kansas City, Mo.
(Parking garage at northwest corner of 10th & Baltimore)
Several Metro routes travel near the library, including Main St. MAX, Troost MAX, 47-Broadway, 71-Prospect, 173-Casino Cruiser and many more routes.
5-6:30 p.m., Thursday, July 17, Kansas City Design Center
1018 Baltimore, Kansas City, Mo.
(On-street parking available)
Several Metro routes travel near the Design Center, including Main St. MAX, Troost MAX, 71-Prospect, 173-Casino Cruiser and many more routes.
06/19/2014 05:42 AM
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- You can save some gas by riding Springfield city buses for free today.
It's "Dump The Pump Day" which is part of Communities In Motion Week.
This week is being observed across the U.S. to promote how public transportation benefits the community.
Friday, CU transit drivers will be wearing red to honor our nations' veterans.
06/15/2014 12:53 PM
SPRINGFIELD, Mo.-- City Utilities Transit Services will be participating in Communities in Motion week starting June 15.
Communities in Motion week runs from June 15 through June 21 across the country, public transportation is seeing an increased number of riders.
In 2013, CU Transit Services provided 1.4 million rides and CU buses operated over 89,000 hours driving 1.3 million miles providing transportation services to our community.
Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Communities in Motion Week is observed in communities across the United States to emphasize how communities benefit from public transportation.
Scheduled events during Communities in Motion Week include:
• Tuesday, June 17: Community Blood Center Blood drive 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at 1505 Boonville. Attendees will receive a free cookbook with your donation of blood.
• Wednesday, June 18: Passenger Appreciation Day - Free donuts and coffee courtesy of Krispy Kreme, from 6:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m., or while supplies last, at Park Central Transfer Station.
• Thursday. June 19: “Dump the Pump Day.” Ride the Bus for free.
• Friday, June 20: Salute our Heroes - CU Transit drivers will be wearing red to honor our Nations’ Veterans. Join in by wearing red too!
To plan a ride or for more information about Transit Services, call 831-8782 or visit the Transit section of the City Utilities website.
MoDOT News Release
DAVID A. LIEB, Associated Press
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Opponents launched a campaign Tuesday against Missouri’s proposed transportation sales tax by raising concerns about the way the August ballot measure would raise and spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
The new opposition group, Missourians for Better Transportation Solutions, said the proposed three-quarters cent sales tax would mark a “radical departure from the way roads have been traditionally financed” and could affect lower-income residents more than some of the heaviest users of state highways.
“Using the sales tax to fund roads is really a bad idea,” said Thomas R. Shrout Jr., a St. Louis consultant who is treasurer of the opposition group.
Missouri roads historically have been funded by user fees, such as state and federal motor fuel taxes and state sales taxes charged on vehicle purchases. If approved by voters, proposed Constitutional Amendment 7 would mark the first time that general sales tax revenues have been earmarked for highways.
The proposal is estimated by lawmakers, who referred it to the ballot, to raise $534 million annually for the next 10 years. It’s projected by Gov. Jay Nixon, who announced his opposition to the measure last week, to raise about $575 million in its first full year and $6.1 billion over the next decade. Either way, the tax increase would be the largest in state history.
Shrout said the sales tax would impose a burden on people living on fixed incomes, such as retirees, while requiring virtually nothing from truck operators who carry their cargo through Missouri. He said either a fuel tax increase or toll roads would be fairer.
Without new revenues, the Missouri Department of Transportation has said it soon won’t have enough money to adequately maintain roads and bridges. Over the past five years, Missouri’s construction budget for roads and bridges has fallen from about $1.3 billion annually to $685 million this year. It is projected to dip to $325 million by the 2017 budget.
The department plans to release a proposed list Friday of projects that would be funded by the sales tax revenues.
Shrout said he expects it will be tilted heavily toward roads and bridges, another concern for opponents who want more spent on public transportation.
Supporters have said a sales tax could generate more money than a fuel tax and has proved more popular in public opinion surveys.
“Amendment 7 is the only sustainable solution to fix our roads and bridges and create jobs,” said Bill McKenna, a former state transportation commissioner who is treasurer of the supporting group, Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs.
Supporters had $343,000 in their campaign account as of the end of March and have continued to raise money. On Tuesday alone, the campaign committee reported receiving more than $120,000 of contributions.
McKenna said voters “can expect a full-fledged public education effort” from the coalition supporting the tax proposal.
Shrout said he doesn’t expect opponents to raise enough money to broadcast advertisements. He said they likely will rely on social media and public events.
Ethan Colbert/News Tribune
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Missourians will now have an additional 13 days to review and voice any concerns about the list of projects that has been prioritized by state Transportation officials for the upcoming Aug. 5 ballot.
Voters will decide the fate of a ballot measure that would temporarily raise Missouri’s sales tax by ¾ of a cent for 10 years. Revenues from the sales tax increase would fund transportation improvements across the state.
MoDOT officials will announce the prioritized project list Friday at noon.
At the urging of the Missouri Highways and Transportation commissioners, the public comment forum will open Friday and rin through July 3. Originally, a mere seven days was planned for gathering public comments and concerns.
During a Wednesday conference call meeting involving four commissioners andvarious MoDOT departments heads, Commission Vice Chairman Joe Carmichael, Springfield, said the extra time was necessary for all Missourians to have a voice in the process. He believed the original weeklong time frame was inadequate.
“We have to ensure they have enough time to comment,” Carmichael said. “This extra time ensures that their wants and their needs are heard.”
MoDOT Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger said he believed Missourians and MoDOT officials would see this change as a positive step.
“This is going to be very positively received by our stakeholders, regional partners and MoDOT officials,” Hassinger said.
The commission will hold its regular June 25 meeting for updates regarding the public’s response and to review the list of projects.
Commissioners expect to finalize the projects list at a July 9 meeting in Jefferson City. The bill lawmakers passed placing the proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot required MoDOT to approve and publicize specific projects to accompany the ballot measure.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
MoDOT will have an open house meeting next week in Jefferson City to allow residents to take a look at the local priorities and share their thoughts and insights on a proposed statewide transportation sales tax.
No formal presentations will be made at the meeting, which will be held June 19 from 4-7 p.m. at the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 428 E. Capitol Ave.
On Aug. 5, voters will decide on Constitutional Amendment 7, a ballot measure that transportation officials say would temporarily raise Missouri’s sales tax by ¾ of a cent, to pay for transportation improvements across the state.
The amendment’s provisions include the creation of a project list prior to the election so Missourians can see what their tax dollars would fund. That improvement list, and an online comment form, will be available to the public starting at noon Friday, at www.modot.org/movingforward.
At Wednesday’s Cole County Commission meeting, MoDOT Central District Engineer Dave Silvester told commissioners the project list is based on earlier comments they received from the public, saying they wanted MoDOT to take care of what they had already, increase safety and do projects that provide economic development.
Silvester said, while he didn’t have all the projects in this district that would be on the list, he believes shoulder work on Route B from Meta to Wardsville would be on the list, along with a making I-70 three lanes between Blue Springs, just east of Kansas City, and Wentzville, just west of St. Louis.
“We’re looking at 10-15 percent of the projects dealing with maintenance, and the rest are either new or expansion projects,” Silvester said.
Western District Commissioner Kris Scheperle said: “I’m not in favor of raising taxes, but I think this is needed and I will support it.
“I do think you need to keep in mind the upkeep it will take when we build these new projects.”