St. Louis County’s Proposition A to Dictate Mass Transit Future for St. Louis Metro Region

St. Louis County residents will vote April 6 on Proposition A, a proposal to levy a %0.5 sales tax in the county to fund Metro, the mass transit authority in the St. Louis region. Why does St. Louis County and its approximately 1.6M residents get to decide whether or not 2.8M people, and the most dense urban parts of our region, have access to transit? You can thank our fractured political system.

Proposition M, basically an identical measure as Proposition A, was defeated in November 2008 by a margin of 48.4% in favor and 51.6% opposed. If St. Louis City had been included in a single vote for or against additional Metro funding, the measure certainly would have passed. And that vote would have reflected the desire of voters.

A 0.25% sales tax was approved by City voters in 1997 at the same time a measure in the County was defeated. The City measure does not take affect until and unless similar support is approved by County voters. Neither our fractured voting or established funding makes sense. By any measure, Metro funding is anemic. Missouri taxpayers contribute just more than $1M annually from the state budget to support mass transit in St. Louis. The State of Illinois and St. Clair County contribute $30M annually.

So does St. Louis want transit. Yes. But will we get it?{jcomments on}