CLEVELAND -- On the heels of the historic passage of Ohio House bill 62 allocating $100 million each year for public transportation, two members of the Northeast Ohio delegation tell the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) that if the tax passes the Ohio Senate and becomes law, the investment will help the millions of people who depend on public transportation to get to their jobs, schools and doctors. And those positive impacts will be felt across Ohio’s economy.
“While budget amounts are fluid, I am thrilled that the importance of an efficient public transportation system is being recognized as a crucial part not only of our economy, but also our healthcare and education policy,” said State Senator Matt Dolan, a Chagrin Falls Republican.
RTA’s Interim CEO and General Manager Flounsay Caver said, “The passage of this house bill demonstrates that public transportation matters in Ohio. We are grateful that House members value such a significant investment, and we’re eager for the State Senate to demonstrate its commitment.”
According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio has the 14th highest ridership in the nation. But according to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the state’s per capita contribution to public transit is the eighth lowest in the nation, trailing, for example, the much smaller South Dakota and Maine.
Hearings on the measure will begin Monday by the Senate Transportation, Commerce and Workforce committee.
Senator Nickie J. Antonio, a Lakewood Democrat and ranking minority member of that committee, is eager for hearings to begin.
“We know that public transportation helps drive economic development. Increasing public transportation funding is not just simply an investment in jobs. But it is an investment in people and in improving their overall quality of life,” she said.
Ohio’s commitment to transportation is a commitment to fueling the state and local economy, Caver added.
“Just this week, Cleveland State University released its findings that an estimated $485.8 million of annual earnings is brought home by those who depend on RTA transit services to get to work. Riders look to us every day to improve convenience and access, and the additional funding will help make that happen,” he said.
Linda Scardilli Krecic