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The Future of Transit


The future of public transit in Ohio: bright with storm clouds on the horizon

To paraphrase A Tale of Two Cities, 2017 is the best and worst of times for public transit in Ohio. Demand for service is up and is projected to rise in the future. Public support, as demonstrated both by public opinion polls and the passage of local transit levies is at an all-time high. Urban and rural systems across the state are winning accolades for innovation, cost efficiency, and their ability to deliver the services residents want, need and deserve.

At the same time, it's important to acknowledge that existing and threatened cuts in state and federal funding could slam the brakes on plans to expand and enhance services and may actually throw public transit into reverse. The loss of more than $38 million in revenue generated by the soon-to-be-defunct MCO sales tax will leave gaping holes in a number of system's budgets in 2019, while the proposed elimination of federal New Start and TIGER grants will make it difficult if not impossible to fund ambitious and much-needed transit projects in the years ahead.

At OPTA we're optimistic. Optimistic state and federal officials will recognize that fully funding public transit will strengthen our communities, our state and our nation, will drive economic development and job creation, fuel R&D that enables the United States to remain a world leader in transit technology, and enable millions of people to get where they need to go when they need to get there safely and affordably. 


We believe transit's future is bright. If you share our  belief and want to help make it a reality we invite you to visit our Action Center and register your support for our cause. Together we can build and maintain a transit system that meets the needs of Ohioans today, tomorrow and for decades to come.


Demand for transit will increase from 115 million to 250 million trips per year by 2025.
Urban agencies must spend $274 million to replace vehicles already beyond their useful lives and another $137 to purchase vehicles expiring in 2015 and fund other facility and infrastructure needs to maintain the existing system.
Urban systems must also spend another $212 million to satisfy unmet demand. 
In order to meet future needs, the level of state funding must rise from the current three percent to at least ten percent, or $180 million by 2025.
Transit spending must double from $900 million per year to $1.8 billion per year by 2025 in order to meet the projected rise in demand.
Rural agencies must spend $22 million to replace vehicles already beyond their useful lives and $11 million to purchase vehicles expiring in 2015 and fund other infrastructure needs in order to maintian existing systems.
Rural systems must also spend $18 million to operate and $11 million to purchase vehicles for additional service in areas that already have some transit and another $48 million to provide service in the 27 counties that currently have none.

A change in state tax law will erase millions of dollars in funding for transit and could result in service cuts, fare increases, and other negative impacts. OPTA's working hard to find a solution. Click here to for the latest news about this critical issue and to join in our effort to solve this fiscal dilemma.

Every dollar invested in public transit generates four dollars in activity in the general economy. That means the $900,000,000 spent on transit in Ohio generates $3.6 billion in sales of goods and services ranging from steel to tires to software--and it could be billions more if we fully fund our transit agencies.

The Trump Administration's recently released budget blueprint calls for drastic cuts in transit funding. Learn more, then contact your legislator and urge them to invest in America's future by supporting public transportation. 

Experts agree: the demand for transit will explode in the years ahead. Are we prepared to make the investments needed to keep up and keep our state and nation growing? View blueprints for the future then make your voice heard in Columbus and Washington.

Hundreds of thousands of Ohioans utilize public transit every day, including veterans, seniors, people with disabilities, commuters and students. Check out the many ways transit improves the quality of life in our biggest cities, small towns, and rural communities.

Transit's commitment to the use of alternative fuels and green energy is driving research and development, business growth, and job creation in a wide array of industries that will power the economy in the 21st Century.  

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