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Metro loses $4 million in state money

By Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis – The head of St. Louis' mass transit agency says the state budget cuts announced Thursday will not slow down service restoration.

Slumping revenue forced Governor Jay Nixon to make another $45 million in cuts, which included eliminating the last $4 million of the $12 million in emergency state aid that helped Metro avoid drastic service reductions when a half-cent sales tax increase failed in 2008.

A similar tax increase passed in 2010, which led Nixon to make the cuts. But revenue does not start flowing until fall.

But Metro is fully prepared to keep its service at current levels, said CEO Bob Baer, and remains on track to restore full service by the end of the year.

Baer said in a statement that Metro may not fill some open positions and delay capital projects. The agency may also accept a $1.8 million loan the St. Clair County Transit District offered in 2009, before the Missouri legislature stepped in.

Metro spokeswoman Dianne Williams said details about the loan are still being worked out. The agency hopes not to have to take the extra money, she said, but said it's nice to know it's available.