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Metro Link: This would be devasting to the east side

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  • Metro Link: This would be devasting to the east side

    MetroLink services facing possible cuts; sports fans could wait longer for trains

    St. Louis County holds key to issue in sales tax vote

    BY MIKE FITZGERALD

    Belleville News-Democrat

    BELLEVILLE --
    MetroLink light rail service in Illinois and Missouri could stop after 8 p.m., and Rams and Cardinals fans could wait longer for MetroLink trains on game days.

    Such are a few of the service cuts that could occur after Jan. 1 if St. Louis County voters defeat a half-cent sales tax on the November ballot.

    The sales tax, if approved, is expected to generate $80 million to operate and expand the deficit-plagued light rail system, said Dianne Williams, a spokeswoman for the St. Louis Metro, which oversees the light rail network.

    But if the ballot measure fails, then the system would have to shrink to match its revenues. "The way it will impact Illinois is, you won't see additional trains taking you to the baseball game, for example."

    MetroLink riders gathered at the Scheel Street station in Belleville on Monday reacted with alarm when a reporter told them of the bone-deep service cuts that could occur if the Nov. 4 ballot measure failed.

    Danny Dozier, of Shiloh, rides MetroLink trains and Metro buses every day to get to his maintenance job at a Belleville restaurant.

    If MetroLink trains were to go out of service after 8 p.m., "I'd have to walk home," said Dozier, 53.

    "It'll affect everybody," said Norman Bradley, a Belleville resident who depends on light rail and buses to get to his job in Columbia. "That's ridiculous."

    If St. Louis County voters approve the half-cent sales tax, then MetroLink could expand its reach further north and west into St. Louis County, said Williams.

    Metro figures show that MetroLink ridership has climbed 13.7 percent for January through May of this year compared to the same five-month period a year ago.

    Meanwhile, MetroLink is operating at an annual deficit of $19 million, in large part because of the financial strain caused by the opening of the 8-mile extension through St. Louis County two years ago without a major new revenue stream.

    The fares purchased by riders cover only about 20 percent of the true cost of operating the light rail system, Williams said.

    "One of the things the referendum will do is make that problem go away," she said. "There will be money to operate the system as it exists now."

    Bill Grogan, the St. Clair County Transit District managing director, said the service cuts being considered would have a big impact on commuters from the county -- especially since there's been such a sharp jump in ridership this year because of high gas prices and the reconstruction of Interstate 64 through St. Louis and St. Louis County.

    "It has a potential of affecting us because there's a fairly significant commute between folks who live in Illinois and work in Missouri," Grogan said.

    If MetroLink trains go out of service after 8 p.m., then the money the transit service would save on train service could be spent on the hiring of more buses or trains to carry metro-east commuters from Missouri back home in the evening, Grogan said.

    "Those are all big questions at this point with no answers," he said.
    Les Sterman, the executive director of the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, in St. Louis, said that sharp cuts in light rail service could hardly come at a worse time in view of MetroLink's surging popularity.

    "At a time when we need transportation options almost more than any other," Sterman said, "it makes very little public policy sense to reduce transit service."

    Big cuts in public transit service could harm the metropolitan St. Louis economy, Sterman said.

    "Clearly the regions that are in a position to grow have better public transit systems," he said. "And ours is already less than it should be for a region our size. To cut that further, that's really going to affect people."
    Contact reporter Mike Fitzgerald at [email protected] or 239-2533

    http://www.bnd.com/homepage/story/421406.html

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    Goodbye night games in the city if this happens.

  • #2
    Why are people so damn afraid of driving to the ballpark?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Maverick View Post
      Why are people so damn afraid of driving to the ballpark?
      STL is dangerous
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      Kolten Wong & the arch in the outfield grass at Busch Stadium
      5-29-14-House77 turns down offer of free beer from me

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      • #4
        Metro is nice, but it needs to expand.
        Official Lounge Sponsor of Candy.


        "When you say 'radical right' today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye."
        -Barry Goldwater

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Maverick View Post
          Why are people so damn afraid of driving to the ballpark?
          It's the price of gas more than anything. I know my trips to the city would be cut back drastically. If they shut down after 8 p.m.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by El Birdo 1 View Post
            Metro is nice, but it needs to expand.
            but as john molina's link details, they are actually going to cut it back. i have to believe this is just a clever initial public notice to try to start the campaign to vote for the tax increase. surely the area is not stupid enough to let metro link cut back on service. imo, it has become vital to the area and now with gas prices rising through the stratusphere, it only makes it more necessary.

            8 pm is crazy. even if you arent talking about covering night sporting events, there is enough business folks that utilize the service past 8 pm imo.

            think of the business traveler that lands at lambert in the evening.

            or the night student at wash u or st louis u.

            the evening shift of nurses at any of the hospitals. etc.
            Roy Mueller

            "It's kind of fun to do the impossible."

            - Walt Disney

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            • #7
              Originally posted by billiken_roy View Post
              but as john molina's link details, they are actually going to cut it back. i have to believe this is just a clever initial public notice to try to start the campaign to vote for the tax increase. surely the area is not stupid enough to let metro link cut back on service. imo, it has become vital to the area and now with gas prices rising through the stratusphere, it only makes it more necessary.

              8 pm is crazy. even if you arent talking about covering night sporting events, there is enough business folks that utilize the service past 8 pm imo.

              think of the business traveler that lands at lambert in the evening.

              or the night student at wash u or st louis u.

              the evening shift of nurses at any of the hospitals. etc.
              Or the black hoodlums stealing TVs in Maplewood.

              Moon

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Maverick View Post
                Why are people so damn afraid of driving to the ballpark?
                It is a lot easier to navigate a 3 mile drive home from a station than a 18 mile drive home in traffic without getting a DUI.
                Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.

                We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by billiken_roy View Post
                  but as john molina's link details, they are actually going to cut it back. i have to believe this is just a clever initial public notice to try to start the campaign to vote for the tax increase. surely the area is not stupid enough to let metro link cut back on service. imo, it has become vital to the area and now with gas prices rising through the stratusphere, it only makes it more necessary.

                  8 pm is crazy. even if you arent talking about covering night sporting events, there is enough business folks that utilize the service past 8 pm imo.

                  think of the business traveler that lands at lambert in the evening.

                  or the night student at wash u or st louis u.

                  the evening shift of nurses at any of the hospitals. etc.
                  ++

                  This is like when school districts talk about cutting high school sports shortly before a tax initiative. Metro ridership is up, bigtime.
                  Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.

                  We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Maverick View Post
                    Why are people so damn afraid of driving to the ballpark?
                    $10 to park, along with gas -- might that have anything to do with it?
                    When you say to your neighbor, "We're having a loud party on Saturday night if that's alright with you," what you really mean is, "We're having a loud party on Saturday night."

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                    • #11
                      devastating? really?

                      The bridge falling into the river would be devastating. Metrolink cutting service? Not so much.
                      Official sponsor of Mike Shannon's Retirement Party

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by WinstonSmith View Post
                        $10 to park, along with gas -- might that have anything to do with it?
                        I guarantee I'm way more broke than any of you guys, but it's part of the deal. If I can't afford it, I don't go.

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                        • #13
                          Metrolink has an all time high in ridership.

                          Sounds to me like mismangement of funds.
                          Turning the other cheek is better than burying the other body.

                          Official Sport Lounge Sponsor of Rhode Island - Quincy Jones - Yadier Molina who knows no fear.
                          God is stronger and the problem knows it.

                          2017 BOTB bracket

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Schwahalala View Post
                            Metrolink has an all time high in ridership.

                            Sounds to me like mismangement of funds.
                            The $27 million it has to payout as part of the lawsuit it lost doesn't help either.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by WinstonSmith View Post
                              $10 to park, along with gas -- might that have anything to do with it?
                              Park at the Mansion House, walk four blocks or so and still pay only $3.

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