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Mass Transit Advocates Thrilled With Dramatic Boost In Funding

An RTA bus crosses the Detroit-Superior Bridge in downtown Cleveland in 2013.

Mass transit advocates in Ohio got a surprise in the House version of the transportation budget – funding for public transportation rose by 150 percent over Governor Mike DeWine’s original proposal.  

They're now hoping the Ohio Senate will go along with their House colleagues. Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler reports.

Public transit advocates had complained that they weren’t included on DeWine’s infrastructure funding committee that recommended a gas tax hike.

The transportation budget approved by the House cut that tax increase from 18 cents to 10.7 cents, but mass transit funding went from $40 million to $100 million.

“This is all money that would go to project level things, and not necessarily operational money," said Stu Nicholson speaks for Mobility and Opportunity for a Vibrant Economy, or MOVE Ohio.

Nicholson said Democrats and Republicans heard his group’s message about mass transit helping existing businesses and attracting new ones. “This is something more than just what is typically looked upon as being kind of a social welfare issue of helping people be more mobile. It is that, but it’s a lot more," Nicholson said.

An ODOT study in 2013 showed Ohio had the nation’s 14th highest ridership levels on public transit, but was 45th among all states in funding it.

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