Mass transit advocates in Ohio got a huge surprise in the House version of the transportation budget – funding for public transportation soared by 150 percent over Gov. Mike DeWine’s original proposal. But they’re hoping the Senate will go along with that too.
The transportation budget approved by the House cut DeWine’s gas tax increase from 18 cents to 10.7 cents per gallon. And 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, a spokesman for Mobility and Opportunity for a Vibrant Economy, or MOVE Ohio. He 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.