Curtis Stitt, CEO of the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), made it pretty clear: vote down their 10-year 0.25 percent sales tax that’s up for renewal this year, and see services shrink to levels not seen in over a decade.
In a way, COTA’s own continual expansion of services has put them in this situation. Since the levy first passed in 2006, adding to the permanent 0.25 percent sales tax approved in 1999, they’ve increased their foundational services by 80 percent. They’ve come too far to be supportable on 0.25 percent, because their services have adapted to the 0.5 percent of total funding they’ve been getting. In the last 10 years they’ve grown their service hours to 1.1 million, which were at just over 600,000 before the last levy.
Stitt said the main focus of these COTA developments was to get more people to their jobs more easily. Part of that was starting an implementation of a cross-town service. Steering away from the traditional hub-and-spoke model of a lot of bus systems, a cross-town service eliminates Downtown as the main transfer points and creates others outside of the urban center.