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Show some love, Ohio, for complete streets

Marc Lefkowitz  |  02/13/13 @ 11:00am  |  Posted in Transportation choices

Do you think Ohio should do more to make streets safer and more attractive? Should bike lanes and new sidewalks have their own fund? How about including buses and trains?

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State lawmaker Matt Lundy thinks it’s about time Ohio funded transportation choices. The Democrat from Elyria is trying to get the General Assembly to pass an amendment called Ohioans for Transportation Choice. It would create a fund for cities who want bike lanes and crosswalks. Or a new bus stop and better transit service.

Transportation Choice calls for a modest $75 million a year, starting in 2014, so that cities like Cleveland can fund good ideas like the W. 65th Street improvements (pictured). Or, bike lanes on Denison Avenue and Detroit Avenue, a Lakefront bike path or more Euclid Corridors. It begins to ensure that transit, biking and walking get accounted for in the state’s multi-billion transportation budget.

Supporters will testify in Columbus for Lundy’s Transportation Choice amendment this Friday, Feb. 15. Show your support in person, at the House Finance Subcommittee on Transportation, Ohio Statehouse, Room 122 at 10 am. Or, write an email to the chair of the subcommittee - Rep. Ross McGregor to show your support, no later than Thursday at 10 a.m. to: Rep79@ohiohouse.gov and CC Amanda Woodrum of Policy Matters Ohio, who will be there to testify.

Update:

Here's a letter of support submitted to create a $75 million fund from Ohio's multi-billion dollar transportation budget to support Complete Streets and more transit.

See Policy Matters Ohio page on Ohioans for Transportation Choice, including city of Oberlin's letter of support.

Here is Amanda Woodrum's testimony before the transportation subcommittee on Feb. 15, 2013.

Visit GCBL's Improving Local Transit page for more.

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Ohio lawmakers and the call for Transportation Cho
4 years ago

A group of sustainable transportation advocates testified in February, 2013 for Ohio to create a $75 million carve out from the state's multi-billion transportation budget for improved transit, and to help cities like Cleveland and Columbus build complete streets (now that they have laws requiring complete streets).









Deborah Nebel Director of Public Policy with Linking Employment, Abilities and Potential (LEAP) and Amanda Woodrum of Policy Matters Ohio testified to the House Transportation Subcommittee last week in favor of Transportation Choice.




Woodrum said: "Ohio needs a 21st century transportation system made up not only of roads and highways but also a complete network of affordable, accessible, and environmentally-friendly transportation options, including public transit, passenger rail, streetcars, hybrid buses, electric vehicle, and walk-able, bike-able streets."







Turning up the volume on this issue is starting to have some impact. Ohio lawmakers and ODOT have had to respond.




The Gongwer News Service reported on Feb. 21 that ODOT staff was "grilled" about the state's funding for transit and complete streets. Here's an excerpt from the article:









House Finance Transportation Subcommittee members grilled Ohio



Department of Transportation Chief of Staff Greg Murphy Thursday about



why the department isn't asking for more money for public transit.






In testimony, Mr. Murphy said the agency's request for $7.3 million in



general revenue funds for aviation and public transit in Gov. John



Kasich's budget (HB 59 ), the same as last biennium, is the lowest the



department could submit to avoid losing the ability to match federal



public transit money. (Testimony; Redbook analysis)









But several members of the subcommittee questioned why ODOT is only



seeking the lowest possible amount, noting that Mr. Murphy said in his



testimony that Ohio has the 12th highest public transit ridership in the



nation.









Rep. John Carney (D-Columbus) said the funding request indicates that



public transit "doesn't seem to be a priority" for ODOT.










Mr. Murphy responded that the department is working with rural and



suburban transit authorities to maximize federal dollars.









"Everybody always wants more," he said. "Now, if 'more' just means more so they can have shiny new vans, we aren't in support of that. But we want to make sure that we're making the system whole and working with them to figure out what they need to match federal dollars."









Mr. Murphy said there's sometimes "a little" federal public transit money left on the table because there are no matching funds. Rep. Richard Adams (R-Troy) asked ODOT to give more information about those instances.









"I just don't think this committee feels that would be a wise idea,"






Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Ross McGregor (R-Springfield) said of passing up the federal money.









Mr. Murphy said he was not aware of a Policy Matters Ohio proposal to



create a $75 million Transportation Choice fund, stocked with federal



flex dollars. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, February 15, 2013)





The chief of staff said the Ohio Public Transit Association did ask for $70 million in capital improvement flex funds, and the department is waiting on that request to see what transit funding levels will be.





ODOT's public transportation priority list, he said, includes 20 projects that would involve $14 million in funding.









Ohio Rail Development Commission: Executive Director Matt Dietrich said the agency's $2 million funding re-quest in general revenue funds would go toward financial assistance for railroad infrastructure projects.





(Testimony)





During fiscal years 2011 and 2012, he said, every $1 in ORDC funding



unlocked $28 in additional investment.





The ORDC has identified 21 potential rail projects totaling $37.6 million in investment that would qualify for nearly $13.3 million in commission assistance, he said.


See the GCBL Improving Local Transit page for more information and ways to act.
http://www.gcbl.org/projects/improving-local-transit

Mayfielder
4 years ago

Thanks! Not intending to testify; rather just hoping to send an email of support.

Deborah Nebel
4 years ago

Comment and Correction: Rep79@ohiohouse.gov is the email address of Rep. McGregor, chair of the House Transportation Subcommittee. If you intend to testify on Friday you need to let his office know and get them a copy of your testimony.















Correction: The "Amendment" listed above is really a budget request being circulated by "Ohioans for Transportation Choices". It is not the actual amendment, however many of the items described in our request are reflected in the actual amendment.















Hope you will let you legislators know that you support spending public dollars on a variety of transportation options including public transit.















Mayfielder
4 years ago

Who's email address is Rep79@ohiohouse.gov? Representative Lundy's?

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