Posts Tagged ‘Cincinnati Metro’

Cincinnati Votes OK Tax Hike to Benefit Transit

May 16, 2020

Voters in Cincinnati recently approved a tax increase that will benefit Cincinnati Metro, the first such tax increase for public transit in the Queen City since 1972.

Hamilton county voters approved a 0.8 percent sale tax increase 67,698 to 66,718.

Voters had turned down levies to raise sales taxes to improve city bus service in 1971, 1979, 1980 and 2002.

About $100 million of the tax hike will be devoted to the bus system and $30 million a year applied to road and bridge projects.

Cincinnati Metro has said it will create new bus routes, provide longer and more frequent service on existing routes, add more crosstown service, and increase weekend service.

In the long term Metro wants to create Bus Rapid Transit routes in which at least a portion of a road is decided to use by buses.

The levy passage will result in Cincinnati’s 0.3 percent earnings tax that currently supports the bus system being removed so the increased sales tax could end up being a tax cut for some.

Metro board chair Kreg Keesee said the agency, which is part of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, won’t start collecting increased revenue until January.

Keesee said it will take a couple of years to implement all of the proposed changes.

Public transportation ridership in Cincinnati has fallen 75 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic with much of that loss attributed to the closing of schools.

SORTA Delays Tax Hike Proposal to 2018

July 22, 2017

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority has delayed until next year a ballot measure proposing a sales tax that would help fund an expansion of public transportation in Greater Cincinnati.

The delay was has been attributed to the desire of Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley to enhance his re-election prospects this year.

All Board Ohio said Cranley is facing a tough opponent and asked his appointees to the SORTA board of directors to delay the tax increase question in the belief that not having it on the ballot in November will result in a smaller voter turnout at the polls.

AAO, a rail passenger advocacy group that also supports public transportation of various forms, said that the upside to the delay is that SORTA will have more time to mount a better levy campaign.

Cincinnati Metro, which is overseen by SORTA, is facing a funding gap of more than $20 million over the next five years.

Cranley has said his city could cover the 2018 shortfall. About half of Metro bus operations are funded by a 0.3 percent city of Cincinnati’s earnings tax.

Fares account for the next largest source of revenue for Metro.

A consulting firm has reviewed three funding for SORTA’s board to submit to voters:

  • A half-cent increase that wouldn’t raise enough money to close the funding gap but would raise enough money to increase service.
  • A three-quarter cent increase that would close the budget gap and increase levels of service by 22 percent.
  • A 1-cent increase that would close the budget gap and increase service by 55 percent.

Metro has said that under its current funding it can’t offer transit service to reach the growing number of jobs that are outside the city of Cincinnati.

One in five adults in Cincinnati doesn’t have a car and many others share cars with other adults.

Just  4 percent of the Cincinnati region’s jobs are accessible within an hour’s transit commute.

Cincinnati Metro May Seek 1% Sales Tax

June 12, 2017

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority is considering seeking a sales tax to help fund its operations, known as Cincinnati Metro.

The transit system is currently funded in part by a 0.3 percent earning tax on jobs in Cincinnati. But as many jobs in the city have vanished or moved to the surrounding region, the level of funding provided by the jobs tax has fallen to the point where SORTA is unable to replace aging buses and maintain its existing network.

Cincinnati Metro serves area beyond the city limits, but receives no tax support from those areas.

Cincinnati Metro also would like to expand service to areas where there is job growth, noting that one out of five adults in Cincinnati doesn’t have a car. Just 4 percent of the region’s jobs are accessible within a 1-hour transit commute.

SORTA plans at its June 20 meeting to consider placing on the November ballot a 1 percent sales tax proposal in Hamilton County.

The agency said revenue earned from the tax would be used to buy more efficient buses that use cleaner  fuels or even electricity and expand its network with dozens of new countywide routes.

Rail service is not expected to part of the expanded plan in the short or medium term, but could be discussed once the agency has stabilized its financial situation.

Cincinnati Metro Names 2 Top Managers

September 25, 2015

Cincinnati Metro has announced the appointment of two top-level executives

Randal Weaver has been named senior vice president of operations/chief operations officer while Olivia Jones was appointed vice president of human resources/equal employment opportunity officer.

Weaver will be responsible for overseeing the agency’s operations, fleet and facilities, accessible services, transit planning and development departments and the Cincinnati Streetcar line.

He previously served as president of TransPro Consulting LLC, where he led strategic operational initiatives for transit systems across the United States.

Jones has more than 20 years of experience in the transportation industry, including serving as assistant general manager at the Muncie, Indiana, Transit System. She also has worked at the Capital Metropolitan Transit Authority in Austin, Texas, and for Union Pacific.

Cincinnati Metro Names Rail Services Director

January 15, 2015

Cincinnati Metro named Paul Grether to the post of director of rail services and will oversee the Cincinnati Streetcar project.

Grether, who came to Metro in 2012, will be responsible for overseeing the adoption and implementation of the streetcar operating agreement between Metro and the city of Cincinnati.

Previously, he for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority as manager of streetcar development.

Grether has experience working with Federal Transit Administration grant programs and regulations, rail transit operations and program project management. He also is chairman of the American Public Transportation Association’s streetcar subcommittee.

Cincinnati Firm Named to do Streetcar Branding

July 15, 2014

A Cincinnati company will design the logos and branding designed to be used to promote the Cincinnati streetcar line that is now under construction.

uniforms, website, and printed materials. The agency plans to release the new logo this fall. Federal funding is paying for the cost of the streetcar branding work.

The branding request for proposal process generated more interest than any other procurement in Cincinnati Metro history with more than 100 agencies requesting proposal packets. Eighteen local and out-of-state agencies submitted proposals.

The proposals were reviewed by a team composed of city of Cincinnati and Metro representatives reviewed. The four finalists were interviewed and Kolar was the winner.

Cincy Streetcar Project Gets Leftover Funds

June 2, 2014

The board of directors of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority recently approved the the transfer of $268,278 in leftover federal grant funds to the Cincinnati Streetcar project. The action came after the Federal Transit Administration told SORTA that $876,762 in grant funding awarded to SORTA in 1996 must be used or be forfeited.

SORTA will use $608,484 of the grant for its Metro bus system.

The streetcar project work is underway to construct a 3.6-mile loop designed that will link downtown and Uptown Cincinnati via the Over-the-Rhine neighbourhood.

Cincinnati Streetcars Seeking Brand Indentity

May 18, 2014

Cincinnati Metro is seeking proposals for the creation of a brand identity and branding system for the Cincinnati Streetcar system.

In a news release, Metro said the move is a preliminary step toward Metro’s role as operator of the streetcar system. The deadline for proposals is May 23.

The brand identity will include a logo and guidelines related to its use that will be needed for everything related to the system’s operation, including vehicles, signs, operators’ uniforms, website and printed materials.

Metro said that the design of the station stops, vehicles, color scheme, maintenance facility and other aspects of the system have been finished.

Federal funding is expected to pay for the costs of the streetcar branding.