Jun 22, 2020
SORTA OBJECTS TO RAIDING OF THE TRANSIT FUND
A statement from the SORTA Board Chairman Kreg Keesee
CINCINNATI – For nearly 50 years, the City of Cincinnati has collected an Earnings Tax that was put into place to fund the Cincinnati Metro bus system. Today, we learned that City Council will take money from that transit fund to give to the Cincinnati streetcar.
While SORTA has no objections to Council funding the streetcar and reopening it to the public, the organization objects to the use of the Earnings Tax Transit Fund to do so. City Council has operated under a long standing policy and promise to not take money from the transit system to fund the streetcar. By raiding the fund at this precise moment, City Council is taking money from the bus system to fund the streetcar.
SORTA’s Sales Tax collection begins in October. Until then, the Earnings Tax collected by the City is meant to fund Cincinnati Metro, not the streetcar. We encourage Council to find other sources of funding for the streetcar. Taking money that SORTA needs will delay the implementation of the Reinventing Metro Plan and puts financial stress on an organization that has not yet recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are proud to have worked with our friends at City Hall to pass a better funding model that will support the Reinventing Metro Plan and drastically improve public transportation in our community. We hope that relationship and transition is seamless and that Council identities other sources of funds for the streetcar.
Metro is a non-profit, tax-funded public service of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, providing about 13.5 million rides per year.
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