Mass Transit

DEC 2014 -JAN 2015

Mass Transit magazine features agency profiles, industry trends, management tips and new product information.

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10 | Mass Transit | MassTransitmag.com | DECEMBER 2014/JANUARY 2015 Transit as an Economic DRIVER A change in conversation creates the necessary changes to make transit efcient and seen as an integral part of economic development. By Leah Harnack T HE BI-STATE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY IN ST. Louis was originally formed to be an economic development agency for the bi-state region — three counties in Missouri plus the city of St. Louis and three counties in Illinois. It's modeled afer the Port Authority of New York & New Jer- sey and was incorporated by an act of Congress in 1950. Bi-State Development Agency President & CEO John Nations said, "What we're really formed to do and what we actually do is to provide real regional solutions to regional challenges." In the 1950s, transit in the metro St. Louis region was done by 15 private frms. Tey lacked coordina- tion and riders were lef discouraged. Nations said in the early 1960s, the region came to the agency to solve the problem and it bought those companies. In 1963, it ofcially took over transit operations and operated as a unifed system under the name Metro. Te agency also operates the St. Louis Downtown Airport, the Port of Metropolitan St. Louis, the oper- ation of the Gateway Arch as part of the Jeferson Na- tional Expansion Memorial, excursion boats on the Mis- sissippi River and most recently, freight for the region. It's not a taxing authority; instead the transit ser- vice is according to the resources of the communities and their desires with regard to the level of service that they want. Te agency puts a service package together for St. Louis County, Missouri, the city of St. Louis, and St. Clair County, Illinois, and then turn the whole thing into a region-wide transit system. Collaboration with Metro Nations' background is in the private practice of law, where he focused primarily in corporate law, land use, real estate and development, public fnance and economic incentives.

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