A Model for Cleveland's Transit Woes: Houston

Alex Baca says following Houston's lead could lead the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority out of a budget and ridership spiral.
April 10, 2018, 2pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Kenneth Sponsler

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) has a $20 million hole in its budget, resulting from the federal government's July 2017 elimination of the Medicaid managed care organization tax. The GCRTA finished 2017 with $24 million more than expected, but transit service cuts and fare increases are coming eventually.

An article by Alex Baca searches for a path forward for Cleveland, and finds a model in Houston, where transit planners and officials responded to a crisis of reduced ridership and funding by implementing a systematic overhaul.

With Cleveland faced with the likely task of going to the voters of Cuyahoga County, and Baca argues that the GCRTA will need a dynamic vision for the future of the region's transit systems.

"When a region believes in its transit system and creates excitement about its potential, good things can happen. GCRTA must realize its power and stand for something larger than its own survival," writes Baca. "Doing so will help it through the gauntlet of voter approval." Moreover, a "Houston-style re-evaluation of the system’s pluses and minuses" will be attractive to both riders and voters, according to Baca.   

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Published on Monday, April 9, 2018 in Cleveland Magazine
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