Bus Advocates Are Tired of Waiting for Funding to Materialize in Cincinnati

As debates continue and votes are delayed, Better Bus Coalition might not wait for Cincinnati elected officials to bring a funding proposal forward for voter consideration.
February 7, 2019, 1pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Darius Pinkston

Hannah Sparling sets the scene for a bus transit debate in Cincinnati:

Here’s what probably won’t happen this year: A bus levy from Cincinnati Metro.

Here’s what might, though: A bus levy from, um, 6,400 other people.

The Better Bus Coalition is "floating the idea" of an earnings-tax increase for the November ballot. "Unlike a countywide sales tax – which is up to the 13-member board of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) to put on the ballot – the earnings tax would be a citywide charter amendment," explains Sparling.

The idea would still need to gather enough signatures to appear on the ballot. Sparling notes, however, that the Better Bus Coalition is pushing for this action after "years of debate" on how to fund improvements to the bus system and delays from politicians.

"In 2017, the SORTA board said it would go for a levy in 2018. In 2018, the decision was pushed back to 2019. Now, though 2019 is still technically on the table, 2020 is looking more likely," according to Sparling.

Because of that timeline, Sparling makes it clear, "This charter amendment is not what many officials and politicians want. They are lining up support for a countywide transit levy in 2020 that would raise more money from a broader pool of taxpayers."

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Published on Monday, February 4, 2019 in Cincinnati Enquirer
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