April 20, 2010

Metro-St. Louis begins restoring services

With a mandate from the 63 percent of voters in St. Louis County who approved Proposition A on April 6, Metro-St. Louis is taking steps to restore transit services that were reduced in 2009 and reviewing routes to determine which should be reconfigured or extended.

Metro President/CEO Robert J. Baer said one of the first steps toward rebuilding the public transit system was to complete the screening, hiring and training of the best candidates for new jobs as operators, mechanics, and others needed to restore and expand service. He said Metro would be hiring about 40 employees each quarter for the remainder of the year for a total of about 120 by the end of 2010.

Metro also immediately began removing the "Temporarily Restored" signs at bus stops where service would have been eliminated if Proposition A had failed. After services were cut last year, a one-time emergency appropriation from the Missouri Legislature enabled Metro to restore service temporarily to some routes. Those funds will be exhausted later this summer.

Voters in nearly all parts of the County voted to approve Proposition A, which set a sales tax of one-half of 1 percent to fund public transit for the region. Prop A's passage in the County also triggered a one-quarter of 1 percent sales tax in the City of St. Louis that voters there approved in 1997.

Metro estimates the revenue from the sales tax in the County should be about $74 million with about $8 million from the City. Those new revenues should begin arriving at Metro in the fall of this year.

Proposition A was only the third sales tax passed for Metro Transit in the Agency's 60-year history, the others coming in 1974 and 1994. The funds provided under Proposition A will finance transit operations and expansions for at least the next 15 years.

 

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