Statement by Joe Calabrese, CEO and General Manager
CLEVELAND – As has been widely reported, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is considering a potential fare increase, the first in seven years, and the trimming of some underutilized routes. Therefore, it is natural that some would scrutinize everything we do. We both expect it and welcome it.
There seems to be a concern expressed, however, related to the Republican National Convention, solely based on false information.
Certain individuals believe that in the midst of a $7 million budget shortfall, RTA purchased 12 new downtown trolleys, at a cost of $6 million, specifically for the Convention. This is not true.
In late 2014, the State of Ohio was able to flex some Federal Highway "capital" funds to pay for 100 percent of the cost of trolleys to replace units that had reached the end of their useful life. We thank the Ohio Department of Transportation. The new trolleys will be open to all customers and will be used by RTA for the next 12 years. These capital funds could not be used to offset operating expenses.
Service during the Convention
RTA will maintain its current level of service throughout the Convention, and therefore, RTA will not incur any additional costs.
In fact, it is anticipated that economic activity related to the Convention will generate additional dollars through increased sales tax receipts to provide a positive benefit to RTA.
RTA’s regular services will not be reserved for the delegates during the Convention.
During the Convention, delegates, media, visitors and RTA’s regular customers are welcome to use all RTA bus, rail, trolley and Paratransit services. We expect that many visitors will use RTA’s rail service from the Airport directly to Downtown, as a preferred method of travel.
RTA will market a special Convention Weekly pass designed for those who may not use RTA on a regular basis, but may want to use RTA to travel to and from Downtown during Convention week. The cost for the unlimited ride pass will be $20. It will be valid July 17-23.
While RTA offers many options, parking at one of RTA’s rail stations -- where there are 6,000 free parking spaces -- and taking the train to Tower City, will likely be the most convenient method of travel. From Tower City, trolleys connect to Downtown venues.