League Publishes Letter to the Editor Supporting COTA Levy
Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016
Today, The Columbus Dispatch published the League's letter to the editor endorsing Issue 60, the COTA renewal levy.
The League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus urges Franklin County voters to support Issue 60, the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) renewal levy on the Nov. 8 ballot. In our evaluation of the levy proposal, the League considered performance of COTA on a range of issues, including the COTA's stewardship of public funds, its history of accomplishments and its plans to continue delivering services to the central Ohio community. We determined that COTA continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of central Ohio by providing vital public transportation options to the community. Issue 60 is a simple renewal of the existing ¼% ten-year sales tax that expires next spring. Prior to 2006, COTA was funded primarily by a permanent ¼% sales tax. With both the permanent and ten-year sales tax in place, the sales tax designated for COTA is ½%, which accounts for approximately 80% of COTA’s budget. Passage of the levy will mean no change in the sales tax that will be paid to support COTA.
Since the last levy in 2006, COTA reports it has significantly improved service levels and increased ridership to close to 19 million passenger trips in 2014 and 2105. Improvements include: Crosstown bus routes, which enable riders to avoid unnecessary trips downtown; CBus, which provides riders with free transportation in the downtown area; and AirConnect service between airport and downtown. The levy funds the majority of COTA's budget, which connects low income residents and residents with disabilities to public transportation so they can access jobs, education and medical care.
As a nonpartisan grassroots citizens network, the League of Women Voters is about making democracy work. We believe that public transit benefits all communities and that government subsidies will be needed. We urge you to vote yes on Issue 60.
David Patton, President