March 10, 2021
March 10, 2021
Move Ohio Coalition
The freedom to get where we need to go, safely, is a critical part of achieving health and wellbeing. Streets designed to be safe for people who walk and bike, and for those with disabilities, can reduce car-related serious injuries and deaths.
They can also reduce obesity rates by promoting physical activity and cut transportation-related air pollutants that cause asthma in children. Safe, affordable and reliable public transit makes it easier for working people to get to work, school, the doctor’s office, grocery store and other important facets of life. For too long, Ohio policymakers have directed public funding to roads and highways at the expense of other modes of transportation. As a result, Ohio’s transportation system promotes cars while discouraging walking, biking and public transit. This has harmed our health, particularly the health of Ohioans with low incomes who cannot afford to own and operate a vehicle or are unable to drive a car. This not only reduces quality of life for the people directly affected; there are also health and economic costs.
Ohio needs a more balanced transportation budget. Each year, Ohio lawmakers direct billions of public dollars to our transportation system, nearly all to roads and highways. They must start considering the health impacts of these public expenditures. State policymakers should prioritize active transportation, such as walking and biking (versus passive modes of transportation like driving), with transportation infrastructure that promotes the health of residents. States with healthier built environments have better health outcomes (fewer motor vehicle injuries and fatalities and lower rates of obesity, among other things). However, Ohio policymakers routinely dedicate less than 2% of Ohio’s multi-billion dollar transportation budget for public transportation. State policy should more closely mirror federal policy: 20% of all transportation dollars should go toward healthy transportation choices such as public transit, rail, electric vehicle infrastructure and safe, healthy routes to school and work.
Recommendations The Ohio General Assembly can provide healthier transportation options for Ohioans while supporting the economy by increasing funding for transit and rail to $150 million per year for the 2022-23 state budget, as recommended by the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Transit Needs Study. Lawmakers should establish a multi-modal transportation fund within the state’s transportation budget and funded with a dedicated funding source.
This Budget Bite was produced in partnership with MOVE Ohio, a diverse state-wide coalition of advocates who represent everyday transportation users. Our vision is a better funded multi-modal transportation network in Ohio that prioritizes a complete network of affordable and accessible transportation options, including public transit, passenger and freight rail, and walkable, bikeable streets.
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