crowded platform at the CWE station (photo from Metro)
Imagine a St. Louis without Metro, a St. Louis without transit. While failure of Proposition A would not mean the total elimination of transit in St. Louis, it would mean severe cuts, likely much deeper than those made last year before a one-time temporary funding partially restored what had been cut. This would mean elimination of many more bus routes and cuts in service to remaining bus routes and MetroLink. This would mean longer waits for all transit riders including myself as well as overcrowded busses and trains.
Allowing transit service to be cut to this extent sends the message that St. Louis is willing to settle for being a third rate region. With the recent series in the Post Dispatch illustrating the difficulties St. Louis has competing with other cities, this would be the wrong time to send a negative message about the direction of our region. For graduates of Wash U and SLU, this would be one more reason to not stay in St. Louis. For others who rely on Metro to get to work, it could mean losing their job ant trying to find something else in a tough market.
This vote is about whether we step up and compete with cities like Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta or Portland, all of which have excellent mass transit systems. Major cities in America that are growing and thriving today are ones that are investing in transit. Transit provides the only way to work for a lot of people in St. Louis County, and provides many more with an alternative option to driving. As we have seen before, oil and gas prices will likely continue to rise, making transit an economically attractive alternative as well the environmentally prudent choice.
the alternative to transit: higher cost and higher carbon footprint
Like many who read Vanishing STL, I live in the City of St. Louis and cannot vote Tuesday to support Metro, but please remember that the City of St. Louis passed its transit tax in 1997. Our tax will go into effect when St. Louis County’s tax passes, so we are ready to pay our fair share for a better St. Louis Region. If you live in St. Louis County, I ask you to please vote YES on Proposition A next Tuesday and to urge your friends and family to do the same. If you live in the City, talk to your friends and family in the County. Thanks!