In their campaign against Proposition A, Citizens for Better Transit claims to be an organization fighting for the poor and against government waste. However, many of the claims made on their own website (once you get past the over the top rhetoric) are extremely misleading or outright lies. Below are a few of the dubious claims made by Citizens for Better Transit.

What CBT claims: Total sales taxes for public transportation amount to $650 per family. (Source: Citizens for Better Transit, Student Life, St. Louis Beacon, St. Louis Public Radio)

The facts: Citizens for Better Transit calculates their figure by dividing the total revenue generated by the combined sales taxes, about $160 million, by the number of county residents, about 1 million, and multiplying by four. This simplistic calculation, however, makes a huge and incorrect assumption that county residents are the only ones paying the sales tax; it ignores the fact that tourists and people from surrounding counties also pay sales taxes when they shop and visit in St. Louis County. Supporters of Proposition A estimate that sales taxes for public transit will cost the average county resident a little less than $75 per year or less than $300 for a family of four.

What CBT claims: Washington University receives transit passes at grossly discounted prices amounting to a $9.3 million subsidy to the university. (Source: Citizens for Better Transit, Student Life)

The facts: Under an agreement with Metro, Washington University distributes transit passes to its faculty and students at discounted prices through their U-Pass program. Washington University pays Metro $2.2 million for the privilege. According to the university, 2.3 million trips on Metro were taken by members of their community in 2009 which equals about $1 per trip. At most, Washington University receives a $1.6 million discount on transit passes as compared to a normal fully utilized monthly pass.

What CBT claims: A pro-Metro TV spot lied when it said 20 percent of Cardinals fans get to and from the game by Metro. It would take more than 4 hours to move that many people and nobody would put up with that long of a wait. (Source: Citizens for Better Transit,

The facts: Citizens for Better Transit needs to check their facts and math better. According to the TV advertisement produced by Citizens for Modern Transit, 20 percent of Cardinals fans use Metro to get to the game which is 8,100 people given an average attendance of 41,000 fans per game. If every one of those fans took MetroLink, it would take less than 2 hours to move them all given a capacity of 365 people per 2 car train and 10 minute headways. And that assumes that nobody leaves early or takes the bus.

What CBT claims: Metro is responsible for (insert item here). (Source: various)

The facts: In many cases, Metro inherits what is given to them and is subject to the whims of the governing bodies and agencies it serves. Those government agencies include the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, and East-West Gateway to name but a few. For example, East-West Gateway was the agency responsible for giving the go ahead and setting the initial budget for the Cross County project.

Posted by Herbie Markwort

I like to write about transportation.


  1. Assessment of your post here: weak. How does this harm the CBT campaign? At worst, their estimates about how badly STL County families are getting raked over the coals is simply, slightly overstated. I'm disappointed in you.

  2. Assessment of the CBT's hyperbole: dishonest, manipulative, insulting. If their campaign were as forthright as they claim, they wouldn't need to blow numbers out of proportion. No, they work hard to make common, everyday transactions, such as discounts for bulk sales, sound sinister and conspiratorial. It's difficult to sell selfishness unless you put a little lipstick on it.

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