ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Advocates say the defeat of a transit sales tax
will hurt the working poor and disabled who rely most heavily on
public transportation in the St. Louis area.
St. Louis County voters by a slim margin yesterday defeated
Proposition M. The measure would have increased the county's
transit sales tax by a half cent, and generated $80 million a year
for operations and expansion of its light-rail system, MetroLink.
Kansas City-area voters also turned down a light-rail tax, and
as in St. Louis, many blamed the economy for its failure to pass.
Metro, the St. Louis-regional transit agency that also serves
Illinois, says fare increases and service reductions will result
from a need to erase a $40 million deficit. Metro operates buses,
light-rail trains and curb-to-curb service for disabled customers.
Opponents had questioned the need for the tax increase and said
the agency isn't accountable to taxpayers.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)