COTA Asks for Support on November Sales Tax Levy
As we first reported back in April, the Central Ohio Transit Authority is placing a quarter-percent sales tax on the ballot this November. The tax levy is a renewal that will continue to maintain the same level of financial support approved by voters in 2006.
COTA CEO and President Curtis Stitt distributed a letter asking for support this morning, which outlines some of the improvements and upgrades that the bus system has made over the past decade — including a Downtown workforce ridership program, new Airport shuttle service, and real-time tracking — which has helped lead to some of the highest ridership levels in thirty years.
The full letter from Stitt can be found below:
From Curtis Stitt, COTA President & CEO
Dear friends and neighbors,
In recent years, central Ohio has emerged as a national model for community collaboration. COTA is proud to play its part in this success by providing more than 19 million passenger trips each year that connect people to where they need to go while offering mobility to the elderly and those with disabilities. We are able to do this because of the steadfast support we receive from our riders, from the business community and from all of Franklin County.
It is essential that we maintain this support as we look to the future and prepare to meet the evolving needs of a growing community. In 2006, Franklin County voters approved a ¼ percent sales tax, which is set to expire at the end of this year. If voters renew the levy in November, it will allow COTA to maintain the high quality service our community needs.
Since the approval of the 2006 levy, COTA’s ridership has increased by more than 25 percent while saving millions of dollars in fuel costs by modernizing our fleet with cleaner natural gas vehicles. We have introduced new services, including:
- CBUS, which has provided more than a million rides between the Brewery District and the Short North
- COTA AirConnect, which offers direct service between downtown and Port Columbus International Airport
- Connections to tens of thousands of jobs at the New Albany International Business Park, the Rickenbacker area, Easton and Polaris
This month, construction will begin on CMAX, central Ohio’s first bus rapid transit line that will connect downtown with Polaris Parkway and Africa Road through Linden along the Cleveland Avenue corridor.
I am enormously proud of our outstanding employees for the contribution COTA has made in achieving our community’s goals, and I am eternally grateful to all our riders, supporters and voters. If we can maintain this level of support, I have no doubt that we will accomplish great things together in the years ahead.