Citizens Talk Transportation at the Capitol

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JEFFERSON CITY - Residents from across Missouri traveled to the state Capitol Wednesday to speak to legislators about the importance of public transportation. 

Doris Boeckman, executive director of the Missouri Public Transit Association, said public transportation funding is a national problem, not just a statewide one. She also said people don't realize the magnitude of public transportation and the impact it has on rural areas as well.

One of the organizations that came to Transportation Day at the Capitol was OATS. It is a non-profit group which provides transportation for the elderly and others who need it.

OATS board of directors member Richard Keezer said public transportation options like OATS are very important because without them, many of the riders would be in nursing homes. "Because very often we find, and it's a sad situation that even though they have children, grown children, the children are busy," Keezer said.

Keezer also said programs like OATS offer elderly Missourians a chance to get out of the house.

Those attending Wednesday's event spent the day meeting with senators and representatives from their areas. One group started its trip to the capitol at 6 a.m. and traveled more than 150 miles to show their support for public transportation.

The Missouri Public Transit Association said next year's state budget for public transportion like OATS is $560,000. However, MoDOT did request an additional $2.5 million. 

The Missouri Public Transit Association said Missouri ranks forty-sixth in funding of public transit systems.