Vilification of public transit leadership is one of the more traditional arguments against funding; opponents perceive agencies to be static enterprises in which authority remains crystallized, thus edifying the prevailing agency philosophy. Metro St. Louis, the local public transit agency, has come under intense scrutiny because of past misjudgments and inadequate leadership. The agency – which is in fact a non-profit – has been victim to the character flaws of its executives, but it has not been flawed indefinitely by these behaviors and indiscretions.
Metro St. Louis – under the watchful eye of Bob Baer – has worked tirelessly to change agency philosophy and to renew its commitment to strong regional transit. The trying days of Larry Salci – who never saw public transit as a harbinger of social justice and community development – are over and in its place has arrived an agency dedicated to smarter and more deliberate public transit. Tracking Progress has provided a guide to the changes also pressed upon the Metro St. Louis Board of Commissioners over the last several years. As you’ll see, the problems of the past should be relegated to the past – those leaders of the early 2000s have been deposed, and a new group of civic-minded individuals have taken their place (those marked with an X have left the board). No agency is perfect, but a public transit system that understands the importance of strong leadership, as well as the importance of changing leadership, is one worth supporting.
You can also find the list and biographies of the current 2009-2010 Board of Commissioners at http://www.metrostlouis.org/InsideMetro/BoardOfCommissioners.asp