Tuesday, April 06, 2010

St. Louis Returns Public Transit To The 20th Century

Thank you, voters of St. Louis County, for passing Proposition A and funding public transit in our region!

After a heated and sometimes ridiculous campaign, it looks like the voters of St. Louis County passed Proposition A, a half cent sales tax that will fund public transit in the St. Louis region.  I for one could not be more happy about this, as my very poor vision prevents me from driving and I rely on public transit to get to and from work, as well as to other business and personal destinations around St. Louis.

Metro tried to get a similar measure passed in November of 2008, but it failed miserably due mostly to the incompetence of a soon to be indicted old school political hack who had no idea how to get the people of St. Louis to understand the importance of mass transit.  That resulted in draconian cuts in service and complete removal of transit service to thousands of people, including me.

By passing this measure, the people of St. Louis County have begun to see the importance of public transit, not just for people like me or people who can't afford an auto, but for the region as a whole.  Metro, the region's mass transit agency, has been struggling to provide even a bare bones level of service due to the often provincial attitudes of people who most likely have never set foot on a bus and the tunnel vision of local radio talk show hosts

Yes, the agency has made some simply horrendous mistakes over the years and has not been a good steward of the public's money.  But a new administration, led by Ray Friem and Jessica Mefford-Miller, have made substantial changes and improvements in the way the agency does business and improved what was a horrible situation considerably. 
This measure would not have passed without the tireless efforts of Chesterfield, MO Mayor John Nations,mayornations.jpg a rare visionary who saw the importance of mass transit to the entire St. Louis region.  He should be commended for everything he's done, both before this campaign and while leading the push to get Proposition A passed, to keep the buses and trains moving in St. Louis.

But most importantly, the measure couldn't have passed without the voters of St. Louis County (OK, 22 percent of the registered voters in St. Louis County) coming out and voting for this very important initiative  I thank you, both as someone who needs public transit every day and as someone who sees the potential for the St. Louis region to be better than it can be now.  No region can prosper without a good mass transit infrastructure, and it looks like St. Louis is about to begin to make up for years of neglect, partisanship, and ignorance and come up with a practical, affordable, and workable plan tor a much needed public transit system.

Posted via web from Mark Edwards 3.0

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