Sen. Brown Announces Support for Bill to Provide Emergency Funding to Ohio Transit Agencies

Brown Joins Group of Senators to Sponsor Legislation that Would Keep Public Transportation Affordable, Restore Transit Routes and Rehire Drivers

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined a group of six U.S. Senators to introduce legislation today that would provide emergency funding to transit agencies to rehire workers and restore service routes. Introduced by Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Sen. Brown is joined in cosponsoring The Public Transportation Preservation Act of 2010 by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Jack Reed (D-RI).  

"This bill will help preserve transit jobs and limit service interruptions," Brown said. "Too many transit agencies have to choose between cutting service, raising fares, or laying-off workers. This bill would ensure that Ohio transit workers can continue to provide the service that so many Ohioans depend on."

There are 59 transit systems in Ohio - a fleet that employs more than 5,200 workers. More than 4,200 of these Ohioans work in operational positions in transit systems that serve more than 200,000 people. Ohio is 12th in the nation for public transit ridership.

Transit systems in Ohio have faced unprecedented budget shortfalls over the past year. In February, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) announced it would cut as many as 219 jobs. In Nov. 2009, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) in Cincinnati announced its first-ever layoff - affecting more than 130 employees. In March 2010, RTA announced that the planned service cuts will take 80 busses off the road beginning April 4.

Below is an estimate of the funding that Ohio's transit agencies would receive:

Transit Agency

City

Funding

Allen County Regional Transit Authority

Allen

$352,102

Central Ohio Transit Authority

Franklin

$4,828,308

Eastern Ohio Regional Transit Authority

Belmont and Jefferson

$143,987

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

Cuyahoga

$11,136,117

Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority

Montgomery

$5,879,637

Lorain County Transit

Lorain

$1,065,592

METRO Regional Transit Authority

Summit

$2,562,556

Middletown Transit System

Middletown

$490,849

Newark-Heath Taxi Token Program

Licking

$482,921

Richland County Transit

Richland

$376,206

Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority

Hamilton

$7,313,015

Springfield City Area Transit

Clark

$475,478

Stark Area Regional Transit Authority

Stark

$1,489,278     

Steel Valley Regional Transit Authority

Belmont

$198,439

Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority

Lucas

$2,588,811

Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority

Lucas

$2,588,811

Washington County-Community Action Bus Lines

Washington

$115,469

Western Reserve Transit Authority

Mahoning

$1,435,169     

Brown has been a long-time advocate of public transportation. In March 2010 he joined Ohio transit workers from across the state to outline legislation that would save transit jobs, prevent fare increases, and preserve mass transit service. His legislation would give transit agencies increased flexibility to use federal funds for operating assistance as well as capital investments helping to prevent layoffs and preserve access to affordable transit service.

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