Dear Governor Kasich: fund transit now!
Posted on 12/14/16 by in Transit[A slew of Ohio organizations jointly sent a statement to Governor Kasich on Wednesday, December 14, requesting that the Governor address Ohio’s staggering underfunding of mass transit. This blog excerpts most of what they requested with some minor edits for clarity.]
Dear Governor Kasich:
As you know, according to the 2015 Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Transit Needs study, the state of Ohio needs $192.4 million in capital and $96.7 million in operating funds just to meet existing demand for public transportation services. An additional $273.5 million in one-time funding is needed to address system backlog and bring Ohio’s transit fleet to a state of good repair.
Ohio’s under-investment in public transit, over the past several decades, has left our public transit system lacking. Lack of widespread public transportation limits low-income workers' ability to get to jobs, stunting their ability to support themselves and their families. It also leaves too many people with disabilities as well as those who are aging essentially homebound, making it difficult for them to access the grocery store, the doctor’s office, and to meet their other needs with dignity.
Ohio currently allocates little more than 1 percent of its entire transportation budget towards public transit; unfortunately, that meager investment ranks Ohio 47th out of all other states for its commitment to public transportation.
We, Ohioans for Transportation Equity, recommend Ohio invest at least 10 percent of its transportation budget in public transit as well as safe bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure and education, and stand ready to work with you to act upon ODOT’s Transit Needs Study findings.
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 walkable, bikeable streets.
For low-income Ohioans, the cost of driving is often prohibitively expensive, and for the elderly and those with disabilities, driving may not be an option at all. Indeed, data indicates that 8.4 percent of Ohio households have no access to an automobile. Transportation also accounts for roughly 25 percent of all emissions in Ohio and half of the $51.4 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 in more public transportation options to reduce our vulnerability to oil price spikes, create a more economically sustainable and accessible transportation system, give firms and workers low-cost and accessible commuting options, and reduce health-threatening emissions. Investments in accessible public transit options will also spur economic development, increase employment opportunities, reduce urban sprawl and congestion, and create more livable communities for all Ohioans.
A greater investment in public transportation would yield significant positive outcomes not only for many Ohioans but also to help sustain the state’s economic recovery. According to the American Public Transit Association, every $1 invested in public transit generates $6 in economic returns, and investments in public transportation projects create nearly 20 percent more jobs than equal investments in new roads and highways.
Alphabetical list of signers:
Ability Center of Greater Toledo
Access Center for Independent Living
Advocates for Ohio’s Future
All Aboard Ohio
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 268 (Cleveland)
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 627 (Cincinnati)
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 697 (Greater Toledo)
American Council of the Blind of Ohio
Americans for Transit
Area Agency on Aging 3 (7 county region in NW Ohio)
Catholic Social Services
The Center for Disability Empowerment
Center for Independent Living Options
The City of Lorain
Clevelanders for Public Transit
Disability Rights of Ohio
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
Greater Dayton RTA
Joy Machines Bike Shop
Mid-Ohio Board of Independent Living Environments (MOBILE)
MOVE Lorain County
National Church Residences – Center for Senior Health
Northern Ohioans for Budget Legislation Equality (NOBLE)
Nuns on the Bus Ohio
Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging (o4a)
Ohio Bicycle Federation
Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council
Ohio Environmental Council
Ohio Olmstead Task Force
Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council
Policy Matters Ohio
Senior Transportation Connection
Services for Independent Living, Inc.
SEIU, Local 1
Sierra Club, Ohio Chapter
Southeastern Ohio Center for Independent Living (SOCIL)
The University of Cincinnati, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging
Western Reserve Independent Living Center
Women Empowered, Educated, Employed (WE3 Collaborative)