Published on October 10th, 2018 | by Guest Contributor1
Want Mass Transit in Ohio? Don’t Ask Mike DeWine.
By Zeb Larson
When it comes to mass transit, Ohio ranks in the bottom of states that provide funding through their transportation departments. Columbus ranks toward the bottom of major American cities in terms of access to public transit, as does Cincinnati. This is despite the fact that the state ranks fourteenth nationally in terms of people using mass transit, showing that the demand exists.
Access to public transportation eases road congestion and improves pollution, but it also has a powerful economic effect by de-concentrating poverty and eliminating the need for people to own cars to simply find and access work. The consequences of not developing until later are considerable, on the other hand: New York’s second avenue subway is coming in at an estimated $2.5 billion dollars per mile.
Where do Ohio’s gubernatorial candidates stand on this issue? As with so many other issues, Mike DeWine offers no concrete plans of any kind. His spokesman Josh Eck assures us that “Mike DeWine understands that public transportation is important, specifically in our cities, to ensuring people have access to education, jobs and healthcare.” Great! What’s he actually going to do about it?
Precious little, it seems. DeWine’s plan to defer capital gains taxes on construction and investments in certain areas won’t draw in mass transit initiatives. He promises to create a blue-ribbon task force that will study the issues of public infrastructure. More talk and more planning with no promises of action. It’s an issue that if elected he could sit on for years without doing anything.
Rich Cordray on the other hand actually has a plan to address Ohio’s public transit needs. Cordray promises that if elected he will work to pass a $1.8 billion-dollar bond package aimed at tackling infrastructure in the state, including mass transit. These range from providing additional funding to municipal transit agencies to funding innovation in new transit options, such as carpooling systems. This can be passed without a tax increase, and if the state legislature refuses to consider it, Cordray will fight for it to get a spot on the ballot.
Ohio’s infrastructure received an overall grade of a D+ last year from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Working Ohioans deserve options that would allow them to go back and forth from work affordably and safely. Effective mass transit could serve as a springboard for future growth and help draw new people to the state. Mike DeWine offers no real path forward on these issues: Rich Cordray does.