ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The St. Louis County Council approved the Metro Transit’s operating budget for the fiscal year of 2017 Tuesday night, but not without some public dissent.
Metro Transit executive director Ray Friem was at the meeting to explain that the $89 million approved by the County Council would allow them to operate for the next year without any cuts in service.
Funds for the move stem from a variety of sources, including Proposition A according to Metro executive director Ray Friem.
“[The new budget] will be used to continue the service package that we’ve been operating, more or less unchanged, for the last five years,” Friem says. Enhancements to the existing service package include additional service models and extended hours at the North County Bus Transit Center.
Two people spoke out against the appropriation during the County Council meeting.
St. Ann alderman Amy Poelker spoke out during the public comment portion of the meeting to say that Metro’s priorities are out of whack and more money should be diverted to expanding bus routes instead of looking at ways to expand MetroLink.
“You can’t get easily from the bus to the MetroLink and if there’s not enough stops to get form the bus to the MetroLink…the people who actually need it aren’t going to be able to use it,” she says. She cites North County residents who rely on bus lines to get to their jobs in South County.
Government watchdog Tom Sullivan questioned Metro operating a daily shuttle to Washington University.
“My question is ‘Why would a private, wealthy university need to have a big subsidy from the taxpayers?’ I don’t think they do,” he says.
Metro says the budget will keep them operating over the next year without any service cuts.
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