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Opinion: Transit Columbus Endorses COTA Levy Renewal

Elissa Schneider Elissa Schneider Opinion: Transit Columbus Endorses COTA Levy RenewalPhoto by Walker Evans.
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There is no better way to put your finger on the pulse of Columbus than to move around it on COTA. While riding the bus, I learn more about my neighbors in a more meaningful way. I have time to take in the city-scape; the good and bad of Columbus unfolding as I stare out the window. I meet some of the city’s characters. They surprise, delight, and invigorate me. I ride transit and I know the city in a more intimate way than through the windows of my own car.

COTA helps me get where I’m going, but more importantly, it gives me the opportunity to interact with my fellow humans. I want to live in a walkable, dense, lively, smart city with personality. I know I’m not alone. I want options that make that kind of city a reality. That means more sidewalks, more public transit, more local shops close to each other, more mixed use environments, more character, and more neighborhoods built to accommodate all. We can’t reach that vision without a sound and efficient public transit system.

Over the last ten years COTA has worked to provide better service. Recently they have added the CBUS, a Downtown circulator; Air Connect, an inexpensive and fast service between the Airport and Downtown; and CMAX, the Cleveland Avenue Bus Rapid Transit that is currently under construction and scheduled to begin service in January. Over the last ten years, more and more central Ohioans are using COTA. In 2015, there were 19.2 million passenger trips on COTA. Perhaps most importantly, they have redesigned their system to create more direct and frequent connections to get people where they need to go, more efficiently using our tax dollars to provide better service.

A great city needs great public transit. We should invest in COTA to keep Columbus moving forward. Issue 60 on the November 8th ballot is asking for a renewal, not a new tax, of the 0.25 percent levy currently in place. Our public transit system needs to be able to get us where we are going. Voting yes on Issue 60 will continue to move Columbus forward towards the city I know we can be.

– Elissa Schneider
Columbus Resident and Transit Columbus Board Chair

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