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Transportation for America takes a look at the options for funding transit in St. Louis

St. Louis’s economic prospects are directly related to the quality of access to transportation for their residents — making new investments in public transportation essential. A new T4America report analyzes the possible ways that the St. Louis region could fund an expansion of their public transportation network.


This report was commissioned and released by Citizens for Modern Transit, a St. Louis-area nonprofit that supports the creation of an integrated, affordable and convenient public transportation system in the area.

Though the St. Louis region is considering several proposals to dramatically expand or improve the region’s public transportation, the bottom line is that these projects are often expensive, funding is scarce, the state may not be interested in investing in transit at all, and the uncertainty stemming from congressional inaction has only made things worse.

St Louis report coverLike most metro areas these days, St. Louis does not possess a single regional organization or government that can singlehandedly fund any of their planned major transit projects; and just one or two funding sources are rarely enough to make these projects happen in any case. (The same can be said of most major transportation projects, whether roads or transit. But states more often decide to underwrite major local road projects.)

Many regions have successfully built new transit projects by creatively piecing together funding through a variety of sources from all levels of government, along with a variety of private sources. This new report analyzes various options for funding transit at the federal, state and local level, including ways to combine various sources of funding, to build projects from large rail projects to less expensive bus or bus rapid transit projects. It also provides examples from across the nation of actual projects built using each funding mechanism raised to illustrate how each can be applied.

To bring the issue home in St. Louis, the report also analyzes two projects currently under consideration in the St. Louis region: a new 17-mile light rail line from North St. Louis to downtown and a 23-mile highway-running BRT line along I-64 ending downtown. The report considers ways to mix and match funding from federal, state and local sources to bring projects like these to fruition in the near future.

Transportation for America undertook this analysis under our new consulting practice led by our Beth Osborne, formerly the Acting Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation. The goal of this kind of work is to take Transportation for America’s national research and make it practical and actionable for the local leaders clamoring to invest in their communities by making smart transportation investments.

If you’re interested in a similar analysis for your region or discussing other consulting opportunities, please get in touch with us.