Special to The Truth
After years of work, the issue of giving Lucas County the modern public transportation system it deserves is one step closer to going before the voters.
Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) CEO Kim Dunham and Board of Directors President Kelsie Hoagland submitted levy documents to the Lucas County Board of Elections Wednesday, June 28. The levy set to appear on the fall ballot would repeal TARTA’s current local property taxes and replace them with a sales tax, allowing TARTA to grow its coverage area and greatly modernize its service.
“This is critically important to get to this point after 11 years of work and five attempts to get the sales tax levy on the ballot,” Dunham said after submitting the paperwork. “In terms of economic development and workforce development, a robust public transportation system has always been important.
“So many people worked so hard to get to this point, and this is going to be an opportunity for the democratic process to play out in our community.”
Members of TARTA leadership, community leaders and supporters marked the occasion by traveling on the Route 20 bus from TARTA’s Central Avenue headquarters to the downtown Transit Hub before a walk to the Board of Elections office at One Government Center in Toledo.
TARTA is the last large transit system in Ohio whose funding comes from property taxes rather than sales taxes. Changing that is the key to modernizing public transportation in the area and expanding services to better serve the people and businesses of Lucas County and the City of Rossford in Wood County.
“We’re excited to proceed with getting this important resolution on the ballot, and we’re looking forward to bringing this issue to the voters,” Hoagland said. “For existing member communities this is a deduction in property taxes, but for communities that are not served or underserved, this really has the potential to revolutionize our service and bring them something extremely valuable.”
TARTA provides a link in the Toledo metro area to jobs, education, health care and other destinations. It enables everyone in our community to have access to transportation regardless of their age, race, physical ability or economic background. TARTA is underway with exploring and introducing new initiatives and service options that will enhance convenience and customer experience while moving our region into the future of public transit.