A council of local governments on Wednesday approved a $400,000 MetroLink study to assess security along the bi-state light rail system.
The study will review security policies, how they are implemented and compare them to similarly-sized systems, according to East-West Gateway of Governments Executive Director Jim Wild.
The consultant, New York-based firm WSP USA Inc., will make recommendations on how to improve security based on the findings. The study is expected to take six to eight months, Wild said. The council will then begin implementing some of the recommendations.
The council approved money for the study in June last year with the goal of looking into adding barriers and turnstiles along the system. Security issues arose in 2017 after a series of violent crimes on the system.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
Studying whether barriers would be effective is an important first step before spending millions of dollars on adding barriers, Wild said.
"The idea of going in and assuming a barrier system is going to solve all the problems is kind of the reason we're pursuing this security assessment process," Wild said. "Instead of just jumping in and assuming barriers are the solution."
The $400,000 study is just one part of a larger chunk of money intended for MetroLink improvements. The council, along with Bi-State Development Agency, has allocated $3.6 million toward the efforts. Bi-State owns and operates the MetroLink and Metro Transit.
Federal dollars will make up 80 percent of the overall cost of the study and improvements, and Bi-State and local governments would fund the remainder, Wild said.
East-West Gateway Council of Governments is a regional council led by local elected leaders. The council provides a mechanism for local governments in the St. Louis region to coordinate funding for projects that cross jurisdictional boundaries.
WSP USA Inc. has consulted with the cities of New York and Los Angeles to expand their transit systems, according to the company's website.