Ohioans for Transportation Choice

by Policy Matters Ohio on February 7th, 2013
February 7th, 2013
   

Ohio should set aside at least $75 million each year in funding for FY 2014 and FY 2015 into a designated fund used to expand Ohio’s transportation choices, and ramp up “transportation choices” funding to 10 percent of the state’s transportation budget by 2020.

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Ohio needs a 21st century transportation system made up not only of roads and highways but also a complete network of affordable, accessible, and environmentally-friendly transportation options, including public transit, passenger and freight rail, streetcars, hybrid buses, electric vehicles, and walk-able, bike-able streets. For middle-income families, the costs of driving for essential trips represents up to 20 percent of basic family budgets. For low-income Ohioans, the cost of driving is often prohibitively expensive. For the elderly and persons with disabilities, driving may not be an option at all. Transportation also accounts for roughly 25% of all emissions in Ohio and half of the $40 billion we spend on energy each year in Ohio (nearly all of which is imported from out of state).

Going forward, the state of Ohio should invest to improve and expand our transportation options in order to reduce our vulnerability to oil price spikes, create a more economically sustainable transportation system, give firms and workers low-cost and accessible commuting options, and reduce dangerous emissions, especially from older diesel engines. Investments to build a network of alternative transportation options will also spur economic development, employ people, reduce urban sprawl and congestion, increase urban vitality and create more livable communities for all Ohioans. During Ohio’s economic recovery, projects to expand alternative transportation options will also provide a much-needed economic infusion by creating jobs, using energy resources more wisely, and reducing the level of energy dollars leaving the state each year.

Funding for “Transportation Choices” should include: 1) Surface Transportation Program funds for capital and infrastructure investments in public transit, passenger and freight rail, biking, walking, electric vehicle infrastructure, and public and private fleets conversions to employ homegrown power; 2) Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality Program dollars for capital spending and new public transit operations and for diesel emission reduction; 3) Transportation Alternatives funds to help meet bicycle and pedestrian needs; and the accessibility needs of transit dependent riders; and, 4) Highway Safety Improvement Program funds to also help meet bicycle and pedestrian safety needs.

By investing to increase Ohio’s transportation choices, we can reduce Ohio’s economic vulnerability to oil, while promoting jobs, improving public health, and providing affordable, accessible, and environmentally-friendly transportation options.

Download the resolution by the Oberlin City Council supporting this statement.

Ohioans for Transportation Choice is a network calling for a 21st century transportation system in Ohio, and includes: All Aboard Ohio, Alliance for Regional Transit – Cincinnati, Bike Cleveland, BlueGreen Alliance, Emerald Cities Cleveland, Environmental Health Watch, LEAP (Linking Employment, Abilities and Potential), Lorain County Transit Co-op, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northeast Ohio Transit Coalition, Oberlin city,  Oberlin Community Services, Ohio Environmental Council, People’s Department of Transportation, Policy Matters Ohio,  Renegade Transit Authority,
Sierra Club, Transit Columbus, United Way.

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