[imc-st.louis] Fwd: Action on Transit funding needed today!
westbywest at gmail.com
Fri Apr 10 14:04:32 PDT 2009
From: estiens at gmail.com
Date: Tue, 7 Apr 2009 22:17:09 -0500
Subject: Action on Transit funding needed today!
Please forward on to others who may be interested. We're trying to
flood Jeff City with emails in advance of the Emergency Appropriations
cliff notes: Public transit cuts bad. State gives very little money to
public transit. State is having a hearing on an emergency
appropriations bill for Metro tomorrow. You can write your legislators
and those on the appropriations committee with one click by going to
Recently, St. Louis has become a poster-child of sorts for the
paradoxical state of mass transit in the United States. Piggybacking
on gas prices from last summer, transit ridership is increasing, yet
due to budget shortfalls, public transit agencies are being forced to
cut services. In fact, we've been on the front page of national news
sources multiple times now detailing just how deep and how drastic the
cuts here are - including CNN and the New York Times
Hopefully we are all on the same page with the importance of mass
transit to our metropolitan areas in the 21st Century. For
environmental reasons, economic reasons, and social justice reasons a
viable public transit system is mandatory for a metropolitan area in
the coming decades.
What you might not know is that Missouri as a state funds public
transit less than most other states - in 2003 for example, they spent
barely one dollar per person on public transit at the state level,
where states like Illinois spent well over $50 per person. In fact 30
of the 50 states spend more money per person than Missouri does.
Tomorrow, Wed April 8th, the State Legislature is set to hear an
emergency appropriations measure that would allow the State to step in
and fund $35 million dollars of Metro's shortfall, allowing much of
the cuts to be reversed. Can you weigh in today - right now - and let
your state legislators and the people on the appropriations committee
that you support public transit in St. Louis?
I've set up an easy web form here with a sample letter - in usual
e-advocacy fashion, all you have to do is fill in your personal
information, customize the letter if you desire, and click send. A
copy will be emailed to each of the MO House Representatives on the
Appropriations Committee that will be meeting tomorrow, as well as the
MO House and Senate reps associated with your address.
The transit cuts have been a disaster so far. Many people, including
myself, have seen our already long commutes turn into a maze of
transfers, overcapacity buses, and long delays. Nearly 94% of public
assistance recipients rely on public transit and it has been estimated
that over 25% of the ridership of St. Louis's transit system is living
on less than $10,000 a year. Meanwhile, the job growth areas of the
exurbs are now entirely cut off to inner-city St. Louis residents.
Public transit isn't just an environmental issue, or an economic
issue, it's a moral issue. We, more than most, know that these cuts
hit the most vulnerable - cutting off their mobility for jobs, medical
appointments, and recreation.
Cutting transit services is a horrible downward spiral. Those who lose
service are less likely to support transit taxes in the future. Those
who are on the line between using transit or owning a car are much
more likely to choose a car. And for those of us who can't or won't
own a car, well we're stuck shivering outside in the rain for another
half hour while we wait for a bus to take us to a train to take us to
another bus which will maybe get us within a mile of where we need to
St. Louis is facing some of the deepest and fastest transit cuts in
the nation. While politicians cry for fiscal responsibility, we are
pouring money into large highway projects and outer-exurb roads.
Meanwhile, our inner-city continues to deteriorate. The arguments
against public transit in this metropolitan area have always been
blatant in their racist and classist overtones. But it need not be
this way, an expanded and viable public transit system helps everyone
in the metropolitan area.
Please take action today and tell the Missouri State Government to use
state funds to plug the current holes in Metro's budget. Meanwhile,
the rest of us will go back to putting that sales tax on the balance
and convincing our neighbors that a half-cent is a small price to pay
for a forward thinking metropolitan area.
Thanks for your time and attention to this matter,
Orgs working for public transit in St. Louis
Gateway Green Alliance - http://www.gateway-greens.org/
Citizens for Modern Transit - http://www.cmt-stl.org/
Missouri Public Transit Assocation - http://www.mptaonline.typepad.com/
westbywest at gmail.com
More information about the Imc-stlouis