By Thomas R. Shrout, Jr.

The recent cutbacks of transit service in St. Louis are having impacts well beyond the transit riders themselves -- a surprise for many who didn’t realize the connection between the economy and a good public transit system.

What many people don’t realize is that proper transit funding in St. Louis benefits everyone in the state. A thriving St. Louis regional economy represents well over 45 percent of the entire state’s economy, generating tax revenue that supports services across the state such as education and a variety of health and social services.

After years of using temporary fixes to fund the system, Metro’s ingenuity and luck ran out this spring when the Federal Transit Administration ruled that stimulus funding could not be used for the operations of transit systems across the U.S.