Wednesday, April 07, 2010

St. Louis County voters OK sales tax increase for Metro

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In the latest demonstration of voters willing to tax themselves to secure rail passenger service stability, even amidst recession, St. Louis County citizens Tuesday approved Proposition A, a half-cent sales tax increase to support Metro light rail and bus service.

Unofficial returns showed 63% of those voting supported the tax. Turnout, however, was light.

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The approved measure is designed to provide up to $90 million per year to pay for operations and capital expansion of the transit system, including growth in light rail routes serving the bistate St. Louis metropolitan area.  

Metro officials had claimed failure to pass Proposition A would have triggered personnel layoffs and significant cuts to LRT and bus service. Opponents of Proposition A said defeating the measure would prompt much-needed reforms within Metro.

Metro President and CEO Bob Baer said that, with the passageof Proposition A, bus and light rail routes and service cut last year will berestored. “Instead of a loss of 600 jobs, we'll be adding 125,” he added. 

Passage of Proposition A also triggers a previously passed 0.25% tax increase in the city of St. Louis.