The ripple effect of the government shutdown has made its way to Missouri’s roadways. Rural transit providers throughout the state are currently operating without FTA Section 5311 and 5310 funding, leaving agencies to rely on other funding sources or reserves to continue to provide critical transit services to residents.
OATS Transit, for example, which provides service in 87 Missouri counties and is the largest rural transit provider in the country, announced that it may be forced to temporarily suspend or reduce some of its services due to the shutdown. If the shutdown – which began on Dec. 21 – continues, service reductions of 10 to 15 percent could begin as early as next week for OATS, increasing to 25 percent by the first week in February.
Several other rural transit providers, including Southeast Missouri Transportation Service (SMTS) and SERVE Transportation, which operates out of Callaway County/Fulton, Mo., have also reported similar concerns.
“Missouri state transit funding of $0.17 per capita is one of the lowest in the U.S.’” said Kim Cella, Executive Director of the Missouri Public Transit Association, which represents transit providers – both rural and urban – across Missouri. “Without federal funds, Missouri transit providers have little to no alternatives for funding. The current shutdown is a clear indication that more state funding is needed to better diversify funding sources for these critical services.”
For more information or to stay up to date on how the government shutdown might impact transit service in communities across Missouri, visit mopublictransit.org.
Missouri Public Transit Association (MPTA) was established in 1980 as a Missouri non-profit corporation. It was formed to provide a unified voice for public and specialized transportation providers in Missouri and to work toward elevating the status of public transit as a national priority.