St. Louis at a Transit Crossroads
Scott Ogilvie examines the current morass preventing the St. Louis region’s political leadership from marshaling the resources to jump-start a new generation of transit service improvements—eight years after the MetroLink Blue Line opened.
As Ogilvie explains, demand for transit is high among the public. “Even MoDOT’s surveys show St. Louis area residents want transit expansion more than they want additional road capacity.”
But the public demand for traffic is not matched by the political will to deliver any of the many possible transit investments: “Years of regional leadership equivocating on transit priorities have left us with a long list of possibilities: the North/South MetroLink alignment, the Downtown Streetcar, Bus Rapid Transit, and the Loop Trolley. But which of theses projects most enhances the existing network? No one at the top of the political/transit heap has expressed a strong preference for any of them.”
Ogilvie suggests some possibilities for breaking the backlog, including the following: “Metro needs to be the lead agency on transit projects. The political liability of another false start is too high. St. Louis already has a fractured political landscape, the region can’t handle a jigsaw puzzle of transit agencies.” Other suggestions include prioritizing service improvements on routes with the most ridership.