Let’s pop this Oberlin bubble! Get out and vote for the local Public Transportation levy this May 7. Income from this levy will jumpstart reinstatement of the public transportation system that Lorain County lost following the 2008 recession.The need for reinstating the public transportation system remains clear today, five years after the program was cut. This is why we have decided to formally endorse Issue 1, the Lorain County Transit Levy.
When the previous public transportation system was cut in 2008, many people could not find transportation to and from work, school and other life necessities. In spite of that, Lorain County’s budgetary losses left only $300,000 for Lorain County Transit, and today there are only four active buses from the original 37 that were in service.Reintroducing a public transit system will make life easier for people without cars in the Lorain County community to reach commercial, education and medical centers. Public transit has the potential to improve the quality of life for many people in Lorain County.
The current pilot program and local shuttles are paid for by Oberlin College through the O Pass portion of the Student Activity Fund, and as such, are unsustainable. We, and the larger Oberlin and Lorain County community, need a permanent public transit system, one that will provide access to education centers, commercial areas and medical resources.
The new resolution will work in the following way: A 0.4 per- cent property tax will generate an estimated $250,000 per year. The local government will match this revenue for a total budget of $500,000 per year. The transit system will cost roughly $2 per person per year, and every $1 from the transit tax is projected to yield $4 of private revenue growth through transactions in the community. Public transportation is not a direct source of income for the local government, but it grows the economy by providing access for people to make transactions that increase economic circulation.
What will become of the Oberlin College transportation system if this levy passes? The answer to this question is still vague and depends on how the county government would structure the new transportation system with the increased income from the levy. However, any new routes would reduce the financial burden on Oberlin students and establish a transportation network that would allow not only Oberlin students but residents of the larger Lorain County community to have greater access to the surrounding areas for services we all need.
Here is the actual wording of the bill: “An additional tax for the benefit of The Lorain County Transit for the purpose of purchasing, acquiring, constructing, enlarging, improving, equipping, repairing, maintaining, or operating, or any combination of the foregoing, a county transit system pursuant to sections 306.01 to 306.13 of the Revised Code, or of making any payment to a Board of County Commissioners operating a transit system or a county transit board pursuant to section 306.06 of the Revised Code at a rate of .04 mill for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to $0.004 for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for 5 years, commencing in 2013, first due in calendar year 2014.”
So let’s get out and vote“yes” for Issue 1, for greater access throughout Lorain County!