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Ohio Legislators Restore Public Transit Funding

The state legislature has largely reversed Gov. DeWine's cuts to public transit in the state, but advocates argue the new plan doesn't go far enough to address the needs of transit-dependent residents.
April 1, 2021, 7am PDT | Diana Ionescu | @aworkoffiction
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Rudy Balasko

The Ohio House of Representatives has restored much of the funding that Governor Mike DeWine proposed cutting from public transit in the state, prompting optimism on the part of transit advocates who want to see more investment in the sector. Tyler Buchanan, reporting for the Ohio Capital Journal, writes that "Transportation Committee Chair Stephanie Kunze, R-Hilliard, announced the Senate’s plan allocates more money to public transportation than the House plan, with the total funding coming to nearly $70 million per year." Amanda Woodrum, a senior researcher with Policy Matters Ohio, called the increase "a solid step in the right direction," but "the amount is still much less than many advocates believe is necessary to sustain Ohio’s transit systems for the future." The state also expects some investment from the federal American Rescue Plan, which allocates $30 billion to the nation's public transportation systems.

Stu Nicholson, executive director of All Aboard Ohio, a group working to build support for public transportation, "proposes a legislative task force look into finding a long-term, dedicated source of funding for public transportation." Dave Greenspan, a former state lawmaker who now lobbies for MetroHealth System, agreed on the need for more investment in public transit, calling it a "lifeline connecting residents to jobs, shopping and health care." Environmental advocates also want to see the state reduce or eliminate the $100-$200 fees on hybrid and electric vehicles, which legislators argue supports funding transportation infrastructure that has historically relied on a gas tax. 

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Published on Monday, March 22, 2021 in Ohio Capital Journal
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