St. Louis Public Radio News
6:16 am
Fri March 27, 2009

Some bus service will remain for Chesterfield Valley

St. Louis, MO – Days before the largest transit service reduction in St. Louis' history, some west county employers received a small bit of good news.

Metro's board of directors voted on Friday to keep open some bus service along the I-64 Corridor from Clayton out to the Chesterfield Valley if match funds could be raised.

The cost to keep that line open will cost around $173,000.

Chesterfield Mayor John Nations told the board that his city, along with several large regional employers, have already agreed to contribute that funding.

"Public transportation is very important to my community," said Nations.

"I would encourage you to approve that route. I will tell you on behalf of the city of Chesterfield, if the funding gap is 173,000, we will fund that difference."

With the deal in place commuters will have access St. Luke's Hospital, the Chesterfield Mall, Delmar Gardens and the Spirit of St. Louis Airport.

But many public transit advocates say that Chesterfield concession is little help for the thousands of other riders who will be cut off from jobs when the cuts go into effect.

Ken McCoy, the leader of a clergy organization working on behalf of transit riders, says Metro should hold off cuts for a few more months to give regional politicians more time to lobby the General Assembly.

McCoy says public transit is social justice issue for the region's working poor.

"The folk that we talk to every day they don't ride Metro to come to a Cardinals game or a Blues game, and if they do they're there selling someone some hot dogs or some beer--they're there working!," says McCoy.

Metro CEO Bob Baer has made al request to House Budget Chairman Allen Icet.

He's asking for an emergency appropriation of $35 million to keep transit service running.