Editorial: Public transit bill deserves a look

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Editorial: Public transit bill deserves a look

The News-Herald – One doesn’t have to look any further than Northeast Ohio to see the ways in which public transportation has been affected by the recessionary economy.

Both Laketran and the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority — and more importantly, their riders — have endured scaled-back services and higher fares over the last few years.

In large part, this has been because the transit authorities rely heavily on county sales tax revenue for funding their day-to-day operations, and it's no secret that over that same span, people across the country — including Lake and Cuyahoga counties — have done more to save their money than spend it.

But a bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown last week could bring welcome change to this equation by reducing transit authorities' dependency on sales tax revenue.

The legislation would allow transit systems like Laketran to use more of the federal funding it already receives for operating assistance by changing the definition of what makes for a "small" transit system. As it stands now, a system the size of Laketran must use most of the federal funding it receives only on capital projects.

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