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Poll: How should St. Louis County invest Prop A funds to expand public transit infrastructure?

Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

In April 2010 voters in St. Louis County approved a transit sales tax, Prop A:

The sales tax is expected to generate about $75 million a year in St. Louis County, which will be used to restore lost service and expand MetroLink and bus rapid transit. Metro officials said passage of the measure also would trigger collection of a transit sales tax that voters in the city of St. Louis approved in 1997. (stltoday.com)

I’m not sure how much St. Louis County is putting toward operations versus holding back for future transit infrastructure. Regardless of the exact amount, having a discussion about where & how to expand transit is beneficial.

Light rail? Bus Rapid Transit? More regular bus routes?

The poll is in the right sidebar.

— Steve Patterson

 

County Voters Approved Proposition A For Transit Three Years Ago

ABOVE: The westbound #32 MetroBus on Chouteau just barely west of Grand. The Pevely bldg is to the left, for now.
The westbound #32 MetroBus on Chouteau just barely west of Grand.

It was three years ago today that St. Louis County voters approved Proposition A, activating a sales tax previously approved by voters in St. Louis City.

Proposition A, a ½-cent sales tax in St. Louis County, passed on April 6! It will provide revenue needed for continued operation and expansion of the transit system including MetroLink, Metrobus and Call-A-Ride services for the disabled. The County tax will raise approximately $75 million annually – and now triggers a matching quarter cent sales tax that was passed in the City of St. Louis in 1997 which will add an additional $8 million a year to the program. (source)

In the last three years Metro has been able to restore MetroBus service to areas where it had been cut due to lack of funding. St. Louis County is holding back some of the tax revenue generated  each year, to use for local match for an expansion of MetroLink light rail.

But where?

  • South from the Shrewsbury end?
  • North along I-170?
  • Out to Westport Plaza?

I haven’t kept up with the long range planning so perhaps the next route has been selected already, anyone know?

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Readers Leaning Toward Approval of 3/16th of a Cent Arch/Parks Sales Tax

Concept drawing at Arch grounds
Concept drawing at Arch grounds

Next Tuesday voters in St. Louis City and St. Louis County will be asked to approve a 3/16th of a cent sales tax increase that will expire in 20 years. The poll results here are not scientific, only reflecting the views of a small segment of the electorate. Early on the “no” votes outnumbered the “yes” votes 2-1, but slowly throughout the week the yes votes gained momentum but not enough to clear 50%.

Q: Do you support Prop P on the April 2nd ballot? Prop P=3/16th of a cent sales tax for Arch/parks

  1. Yes 75 [46.3%]
  2. No 59 [36.42%]
  3. Undecided 14 [8.64%]
  4. Not a voter in STL City/County 6 [3.7%]
  5. Unsure/No Opinion 4 [2.47%]
  6. Other: 4 [2.47%]

The four (4) other answers were:

  1. Probably, but not enthused about itAdd as a poll answer
  2. No, would much rather see the 3/16 cent sales tax go to lowering Lambert”s debt
  3. It’s strange that St. Louis must put so much money into a park it doesn’t own…
  4. Yes, but would greatly prefer revenue to be raised by property taxes .

The Post-Dispatch favors the tax increase:

You add 4.225 percent state tax rate to local rates to get the combined sales tax. The base city sales tax is 4.266 percent, slightly higher in some special taxing areas. The base combined state and local sales in St. Louis city is 8.491 percent, 25th highest among those 107 metro areas. If Prop P passes, the base rate will rise to about 8.51 cents. That’s barely noticeable unless you buy a $20,000 car, when it will cost you another $37.50 in sales taxes. (Editorial: Yes on Prop P. Arch-parks-trails tax fixes old problems, creates new opportunities)

I’m still undecided, but leaning toward “yes.”

– Steve Patterson

 

Poll: Support 3/16th Cent Sales Tax For Arch Grounds & City/County Parks?

Concept drawing at Arch grounds
Concept drawing of changes at Arch grounds

In two weeks voters in St. Louis City & St. Louis County will be asked to approve a 3/16th of a cent sales tax. The ballot language reads:

For the purpose of increasing safety, security, and public accessibility for the Gateway Arch grounds and local, county, and regional parks and trails for families and disabled and elderly visitors, and for providing expanded activities and improvements of such areas, shall St. Louis County join such other of St. Charles County and the City of St. Louis to impose a three sixteenths (3/16) of one cent sales tax in addition to the existing one-tenth (1/10) of one cent sales tax applied to such purposes, with sixty percent of the revenues derived from the added tax allocated to the Metropolitan Park and Recreation District for Gateway Arch grounds and other regional park and trail improvements, and the remaining forty percent allocated to St. Louis County for local and county park improvements as authorized by the County Council of St. Louis County, with such tax not to include the sale of food and prescription drugs and to be subject to an independent annual public audit? (source

Originally the tax proposal was also supposed to be on the St. Charles County ballot but they didn’t add it. The measure must pass in both St. Louis County and St. Louis City to take affect. For more information on Prop P see yesonpropp.com.

For the poll this week I’d like to see how readers feel about this proposed tax increase. The poll, as always, is in the right sidebar.

— Steve Patterson

 

Not Quite Half Of Readers Would Support Arch/Park Sales Tax, A Third Oppose

ABOVE: The final piece of the Gateway Arch was set into place on Thursday October 28, 1965

If the folks at CityArchRiver plan to get voters to approve a 3/16¢ sales tax with part of the funds paying off bonds for their 2015 project they’ve got their work cut out for them. I think it’s fair to say the readership here is more pro-city than the region at large but not even half of those that voted indicated they’d support such a tax:

Q: Would You Support A 3/16¢ Sales Tax Increase for Parks/Arch?

  1. Yes, we need to invest in parks and the Arch is a major tourist attraction for the region 67 [49.63%]
  2. No, sales taxes are too high already 45 [33.33%]
  3. Maybe 15 [11.11%]
  4. Other: 7 [5.19%]
  5. Unsure/No Opinion 1 [0.74%]

Those that answered “maybe” could be the deciding factor on approval, assuming 50% +1 is what’s needed for approval. Here are the other answers that were submitted:

  1. Not for the current arch ground plan, we need to start over again I’m afraid
  2. for city parks, yes, National Parks, no
  3. Not unless it will help pay for removal of the depressed/elevated section of I70
  4. Yes, but lets also include Jefferson County
  5. No, not for the current project. Save local funds for metro expansion (N/S Line)
  6. Only if they got rid of the ridiculous idea of the gondola going across the rive
  7. yes but only if the bill is expanded to all of the METRO AREA

We’ll see what happens if a tax increase measure is placed on the ballot for voters to decide.

– Steve Patterson

 

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