Metro Pushes for Sales Tax Increase
Good article today in the Post-Dispatch, via Combest, of course, about a proposal by Metro and St. Louis County to put a sales tax increase on the ballot to fund expansion of MetroLink and shore up Metro’s current finances. I have written about this proposal before. I will probably vote for it, as I live near MetroLink, my wife uses it regularly to commute to work, and I ride MetroLink or the bus about once a week. If I didn’t live so close to it, I don’t know how I would vote. I do predict its defeat, though, at the polls probably by a wide margin. I am not saying that is what I want, just that it’s my prediction. A 1/2-cent increase is enough to make people stop and think, unlike those 1/8-cent increases you get all the time to fund police pensions, or expand storm water controls, or any of about a dozen other reasons.
But we here at the Show-Me Institute are not about politics, we are about policy. So as this issue moves forward, I can promise you we will come out with detailed information on the proposal not whether or not it will pass. To start with, I recommend the various studies the Reason Foundation has done on light rail. They are more opposed, in general, to light rail than I, but they have a number of great studies on this subject, and their opinions are backed by solid research. Here is a concise letter to the editor from my friend Len Gilroy, with Reason, that makes a good argument for Houston, his hometown.
One thing we agree on is the absolute necessity of Metro trying to work more closely with private corporations through public-private partnerships to serve the needs of the greater St. Louis area. And yes, I know the attached link is about roads, but PPPs can work for transit, too.