I recently was able to spend some time in Salt Lake City where I attended CNU21 thanks to Streetsblog.net. Somehow Salt Lake has managed to become home to the fastest growing multi-modal transit network in the nation. I made use of the streetcar and bike share while visiting, and together they made exploring the city cheap, easy and enjoyable. As the Streetsfilm above highlights, the Beehive State is quite "red", in modern parlance, politically Conservative (President Obama lost Utah by 48% in 2012). So how'd they do it? They started with a transit plan, funded it and then implemented the plan. While not meaning to shortchange the Metro transit agency in St. Louis, we voted for funding, then started planning and now face uncertain implementation (a large portion of funding generated by an increased sales tax here went to restoring service cut due to debt tied to the Blue Line extension).
Caveats (galore): Salt Lake City isn't St. Louis. The city hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. While several orders of magnitude smaller than the Summer Games, serving as a host city forced Salt Lake to do some transportation planning. The city also benefits from the lack of legacy problems that older and heavily industrial cities such as St. Louis can't avoid. Utah's population has doubled since 1980. The state's population is 80% white and 1% black. While a more Conservative city, the more homogeneous nature of city-state politics makes planning and funding easier. Salt Lake has sprawl, but the natural barriers of the Great Salt Lake and mountains to the east constrain development instead of dividing it as the rivers around St. Louis do. Lastly, a warning that the demonym "Utahns" may make you think of a tauntaun, as it did for me.
All of that considered, how has Salt Lake City and Utahns managed to plan, fund and implement such a robust transit system? What will it take for St. Louis to achieve something similar?