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Fuel cost, state put public transit in peril

GCBL staff  |  08/05/08 @ 11:30am

RTA is holding hearings this week on how to address its budget crisis. The transit agency is considering cutting routes-including all of its community circulators-and raising rates ($1-2 on daily passes; $3 on five-ride passes; and $20 for monthly passes). They explain the causes and what you can do to help:

At a time when more and more commuters in Northeast Ohio are turning to transit for shelter from high gas prices, these same high fuel prices are also causing RTA to face a budget crisis of its own. Over the last five years, RTA's fuel costs are up 400 percent, while state funding for transit is down by 63 percent. Between 2007 and 2008 alone, the cost of diesel fuel for RTA buses will nearly double. And while ridership has steadily increased, the fares paid by riders cover only 20 percent of RTA's total expenses. RTA is not alone in this battle with surging oil prices. Transit authorities across the country are being forced to make tough decisions, with many forced to make drastic service cuts. In Ohio alone, service was cut by 50% in Youngstown, 32% in Akron, and 17% in Dayton, with possibly more cuts to come. If you value public transportation, your voice is needed. Let the Governor, your state representative, and your state senator know that you believe the State of Ohio should provide more financial support for public transportation. Also, contact your U.S. congressional representative and Senators and ask them to support additional funding for public transportation. The goal is to keep transit affordable for all and minimize further service cuts. Go to www.jointheride.com to help save your ride.

Go here to see the dates and times of RTA's hearings.

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