One big piece of news emanating out of St. Louis is Metro's funding crunch.
The mass transit system provides bus and train service to St. Louis City, St. Louis County and portions of Illinois. With cuts to the service taking effect, lawmakers are looking at ways to help the system. That's the topic of my latest article for the St. Louis Beacon:
State Rep. Rachel Storch, D-St. Louis, argues the state needs to take immediate action; she proposes an emergency spending bill to ease a nearly $45 million deficit.
While lawmakers, such as state Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, and state Rep. Steve Hobbs, R-Mexico, fear the consequences of using state funding to help municipal transit systems, they are considering legislation to make the program self-sufficient.
House Budget Chair Allen Icet, R-Wildwood, proposes something of a third option: a one-time infusion of cash contingent on Metro's convincing voters to pass a tax increase for operating expenses. That option, however, could take months to implement.
If anything, the debate over Metro illustrates the political and structural complications of wrangling state aid for local transit systems. The General Assembly usually declines to help pay for mass transit, and a decision otherwise could set a new precedent.
Read the rest here.