GREAT News For St. Louis Mass Transit Patrons


We've still got a long way to go, but its nice to see some good news about Metro, the St. Louis Public Transit agency.  Check out the last two paragraphs!  This from stltoday.com:


Metro approves budget after Prop A win
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

ST. LOUIS – Metro commissioners today approved a $232.4 million transit
operating budget that reflects the restoration of public transportation service
following the passage of Proposition A.

The spending plan covers the agency’s budget year that begins on July 1.

Robert Baer, Metro’s president and chief executive, said proceeds from the
Proposition A sales tax increase and a separate sales tax increase in St. Louis
city won’t reach the agency’s coffers until late September.

"There’s some misconception about the resources that are going to be available
to Metro," Baer told commissioners this morning. "We’re not rolling in dough."

Baer said sales tax collections already were down $5 million because of the
recession. Passenger revenues also are down because of a recessionary drop in
ridership. Further, Baer said, the state reduced the emergency appropriation it
made to restore some service in August 2009.

Metro also will begin funding non-pension retiree benefits.

Baer said the agency only will fill "mission critical" positions, such as bus
drivers and maintenance workers, this upcoming year.

Still, the agency’s budget reflects growth over last year’s spending level of
$204 million.

St. Louis County voters approved a half-cent sales tax increase. Half of that
will go toward transit operations. In addition, passage of the county
referendum triggered collection of a sales tax approved by city voters in 1997.

Ray Friem, Metro’s chief operating officer for transit, said the agency will
restore service sooner than originally planned as well.

Metro plans to restore service by late August, Friem said.

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

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