John Nations, president/CEO of Bi-State Development, has announced his intention to leave the St. Louis-based organization, effective this fall. Photo: Bi-State Development

John Nations, president/CEO of Bi-State Development, has announced his intention to leave the St. Louis-based organization, effective this fall. Photo: Bi-State Development

John Nations, president/CEO of Bi-State Development, has announced his intention to leave the St. Louis-based organization, effective this fall.

Nations, the former mayor of Chesterfield, was first approached to become President & Chief Executive Officer in 2009, and later agreed to lead the successful 2010 Proposition A campaign in St. Louis County to provide funding for public transportation. He accepted the top position at Bi-State Development in October 2010 and has become its longest-serving leader.

When Nations took over, Bi-State Development operated multiple enterprises: St. Louis Downtown Airport, the Gateway Arch Revenue Collections Center and Gateway Arch trams as well as two excursion riverboats on the Mississippi River, and the Metro Transit public transportation system. In 2014, Nations added two new Bi-State Development enterprises: the Bi-State Development Research Institute and the St. Louis Regional Freightway.

In 2015, Nations rebranded and re-established the organization as Bi-State Development to reflect its role as a top economic development driver for the bi-state region. It is now a nationally recognized leader in freight and logistics, tourism, general aviation, and public transportation.

Nations said there are several key projects he wants to move toward completion in his final months. “The new MetroLink station at Cortex will be open this summer, and it is the first transit project that is built partially with private funding,” he said. “A federal grant combined with Cortex and its partners have provided the funding for this critical piece of the system and it can serve as a new model on funding transit in the future.”

Another project Nations looks forward to completing in the next few months is
continuing the work of the Bi-State Development Research Institute, which is helping to change thinking about public transportation. “In a short time, the Bi-State Development Research Institute has attracted grant funding both to bring fresh food options to certain St. Louis County neighborhoods where such a simple thing has proven difficult, and also to bring basic health screenings to transit riders to help them save time and improve their health,” he explained. Nations said both of these pilot programs help improve the quality of life and lower health costs.

After more than 20 years in public life, Nations said he is leaving so he can have more quality time with his family as well as pursue his many interests in legal and civic affairs.

Bi-State Development (BSD) owns and operates St. Louis Downtown Airport and the Gateway Arch Riverboats, as well as operates the Gateway Arch Revenue Collections Center and Gateway Arch trams. BSD is the operator of the Metro public transportation system for the St. Louis region, which includes the 87-vehicle, 46-mile MetroLink light rail system; a MetroBus vehicle fleet of approximately 400 vehicles operating on 83 MetroBus routes; and Metro Call-A-Ride, a paratransit fleet of 120 vans. BSD also operates the Bi-State Development Research Institute and the St. Louis Regional Freightway, the region’s freight district.

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