Metro funding again nixed

By BURKE WASSON

For the third time in recent weeks, the Metro transit agency has been denied funding to reinstate service cuts imposed this year.

Missouri House Bill 22, which would have given $12 million in federal stimulus funds to Metro, was defeated on April 30.

This rejection comes one week after the Missouri House redirected $20 million in federal funds away from Metro that would have restored some of the $35.7 million in service cuts that went into effect March 30.

The Metro Board of Commissioners re-cently approved a fiscal 2010 budget that retains all those service cuts.

The board voted to approve a $189.2 million operational budget for fiscal 2010.

That budget is down from the $221.6 million that the board approved for fiscal 2009.

Metro officials are projecting that the transit agency will spend $210 million by the end of fiscal 2009.

Metro Controller Kathy Klevorn also has advised the board that if the transit agency sees no new revenue by 2010, more transit-service cuts would be recommended for early 2011.

On March 30, Metro’s buses and Call-A-Ride vans ceased operation in south and west St. Louis County outside the Inter-state 270 loop. MetroBus service was cut by 43 percent, including the closing of 24 routes. In addition, more than 500 employees positions were cut.

Metro officials also had hoped to temporarily restore one-third of those routes with a proposed $12 million in federal congestion funds through the East-West Gate-way Council of Governments, Federal Tran-sit Administration and Federal Highway Administration. But those funds also were recently denied.