On Monday, Gov. Ted Strickland announced that the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is providing $150 million over the next three years ($50 million per year) for transit agencies throughout Ohio.
The program, called the "21st Century Transit Partnerships for Ohio's Next Generation," will immediately grant The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) $5.4 million dollars for fiscal year 2011 to preserve existing transit services that would otherwise have to be cut as a result of reduced funding or to add critically-needed services, as well as provide job security for transit workers.
In 2012 and 2013, RTA will also receive the annual $5.4 million in operational funding. ODOT made the monetary determination by the size and needs of the state agencies, of which Greater Cleveland RTA is the largest beneficiary.
"We are so glad to the state of Ohio is investing in sustainable transit partnerships with designated operating funding that we so urgently need to keep the service we have for our customers," said RTA GM/CEO Joe Calabrese. "Reduced funding due to the recession has forced RTA to cut needed transit services over the last few years, as did other agencies around the country, and this will allow us to keep the vital services we offer today."
The balance of the new annual $50 million in ODOT funds for the next three years includes competitively awarded Clean and Green Transit Vehicle funds ($15 million/year) and Innovative New Service Starts funds ($10 million/year). ODOT will accept applications and decide which agencies and which programs they will fund over the next three years.