The budget for the State of Missouri has been finalized by the Governor. The one-time appropriation of $3 million that was requested by the Missouri House and Senate has been restricted indefinitely, making the release of the funds dependent on the state’s economic condition. Additionally, the Governor is restricting over $600,000 that is currently received from the state of Missouri on an annual basis under the State Transit Assistance Program. The reduction to this program will affect all recipients. Rural transit will receive approximately $158,000, down from $1 million to; urban transit will be restricted to $400,000, a reduction from $2.6 million.
We understand the extraordinary pressures in the State budget and the very difficult decisions Governor Nixon is facing. Under these conditions, we are not necessarily surprised at the outcome. However, we continue to be disappointed that Missouri funding for public transportation is among the lowest state funding in the nation.
KCATA has a reserve that may assist in avoiding severe service cuts immediately. However, the reserve can only sustain transit service for a short time, and Kansas City may be faced with drastic public transit service reductions in the future if a new and significant alternative funding source is not identified.
Public transit is key to economic recovery, stability and growth, in that it provides Kansas City residents with access to jobs and provides employers access to the labor market. Without transportation to jobs, new job creation is not fully effective. For these reasons, it is in Missouri’s best interest to give public transit first priority should state revenue exceed budgeted amounts.