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Rep. Skindell applauds historic increase in state investments in public transit

Lawmaker says bills is first step in addressing Ohio's changing transportation needs
March 7, 2019
Michael J. Skindell News

State Rep. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) today applauded the Ohio House for including a historic increase to public transit funding to $100 million per year in the State Transportation Budget, Substitute House Bill 62 (Sub. HB 62). This commitment increases the state’s investments in public transit, which has been one of the lowest in the nation for nearly twenty years.

“I am pleased that the Ohio House made a significant commitment to greater public transit funding in the transportation bill,” said Skindell. “This investment recognizes that we need to create a transportation system that addresses Ohio’s changing demographics and transportation preferences, links people to jobs and training opportunities, and provides access to businesses and healthcare.”

Rep. Skindell has been advocating for increased public transit funding in every state budget since 2003. The use of (General Revenue Fund) GRF dollars has radically decreased from $44 million in 2000 to $6.5 million in Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019. Currently, the use of federal flex dollars for public transportation is only at $33 million per year. With these combined amounts, Ohio is currently spending 63 cents per person on mass transit. 

In 2015, the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Statewide Transit Needs Study reported that there was a significant shortfall in funding public transit and recommended a $120 million investment in 2015 to stabilize transit systems to address both service and capital investments, and increasing that investment to $185 million over a decade. 

“The cuts and underfunding in public transit have resulted in higher fares and cuts in bus services, senior and disabled transportation options across the state,” said Skindell. “The increased investment is a historic step forward, but more is needed to address the needs of public transit in Ohio after nearly two decades of under investment.”