November 18, 2016
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Flowers: St. Louis Metro's 'Models of Efficiency'

FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers cited the St. Louis area’s “many models of efficiency that expand transportation options—and opportunities—for residents” during a recent visit that included a tour of public transit sites and hosting a workshop designed to build a more regional approach to transportation planning.

“The FTA has been a valuable partner to Bi-State Development’s Metro transit division, and it was a privilege to welcome Administrator Flowers and her colleagues to St. Louis so that they could see the federal dollars they have entrusted us with at work,” said John Nations, president and chief executive officer of Bi-State Development, which conducted the tour of facilities administered by its component agency, Metro.

The tour began at the Civic Center Transit Center in downtown St. Louis, where an expansion project is underway. Ultimately the facility will provide 18 MetroBus bays and two Metro Call-A-Ride paratransit bays, accommodate 60-foot articulated buses and provide access for Amtrak and Greyhound riders from the adjacent Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center. Other improvements will include digital messaging boards, a security substation, an indoor waiting area and concessions. FTA funded 80 percent of the $10.5 million project.

Flowers also toured a Metro project that raised a stretch of road beneath the Gateway Arch by two feet to minimize Mississippi River flooding on the St. Louis Riverfront, funded with $1 ­million in federal funds; visited a $22 million TOD project including a mixed-use senior apartment community at a MetroLink station in East St. Louis, IL; toured the North County Transit Center in Ferguson, MO, constructed to accommodate a new MetroBus service plan for one of the region’s fastest-­growing public transit markets; and visited the site of Metro’s newest MetroLink station in the Cortex Innovation Community, home to 250 companies and 725,000 square feet of new development supporting 4,100 jobs.

The workshop Flowers led was part of DOT’s series of “MPOwerment Initiative” roundtables focusing on the roles MPOs play in the transportation planning process. It was one of seven one-day roundtables across the country, being held in part to respond to a challenge identified in Beyond Traffic: Trends and Choices 2045: how to work together to make better decisions regionally and locally.

Participants in the St. Louis roundtable included policy officials from MPOs and state DOTs. The event produced suggestions about encouraging continued regional collaboration and increased cooperation to increase opportunities for public transit in and around communities.

FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers recently toured several Metro sites in the St. Louis region with Ray Friem, left, executive director of Metro Transit, and John Nations, president and CEO of Bi-State Development, Metro's parent agency.

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