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05 January 2010

Let's move forward on transit

Slowly but surely transit option advocates are coming together to lobby for their cause. With an aging baby boomer population and rising fuel costs, doesn't it just make sense to invest in public transit options? Advocates say: YES! So the umbrella group, going under the battle cry "Save Transit Now, Move Ohio Forward" is looking to change Ohio laws reguarding taxation and funding and how it relates to public transit. Here are a few of the suggestions:

1. Update gasoline taxation laws. Currently tax revenues go solely towards highway improvements. Transit advocates are hoping to funnel some of those funds towards mass transit.

2. Getting other revenues from Vanity Plates and gas taxes collected from off-road vehicles.

3. Letting the Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MORPC, OKI, NOACA, AMATS, Eastgate, etc) use flexible highway funds for mass public transporation. ODOT would have to allow this.

The advocate groups, including All Aboard Ohio, Environment Ohio, Bike, Walk Ohio!, GreenCityBlueLakeInitiative, and others are coming together to pull their voices and supporters for the betterment of the state.

This issue is certainly a hot topic in the state of Ohio. In 2009 the state passed legistlation to go forward with the Ohio Hub Initiative (3-C passenger rail corridor project) and is currently awaiting Federal Approval of the project. In November Cincinnatians approved the Streetcar ballot, allowing the first phase of the project to begin, which will connect downtown with Clifton, the neighborhood 2 miles north of downtown containing the University of Cincinnati.

So passenger rail projects in Ohio seem to be headed in the right direction. Cleveland has had the Rapid system for years, and has recently completed the Euclid Corridor project, containing express buses from downtown to University Circle.

Keep up the good work Ohio.