Dear Friends and Neighbors,
COTA is driving a crucial conversation in Ohio about how we can and must re-imagine our long-term investments in the movement of goods and people as an economic development strategy.
I had the opportunity to testify before the Governor’s Advisory Council on Transportation Infrastructure February 6; The Dispatch published my column on this topic Feb. 24; and I spoke before the House and Senate February 26 and 27 respectively. Our message: Transportation solutions will ensure Ohio’s economy stays competitive nationally and globally.
We have portrayed the policy discussion around transportation funding and infrastructure at the Statehouse as a unique opportunity for our state. I am pleased to report policymakers with whom we have interacted over the past months have been fully engaged in this dialogue and have expressed an understanding of the direct link between mobility and economic development. The announced $70 million investment in public transit by the state suggests this correlation is gaining traction.
I am inspired by the example of the Butler County Regional Transit Authority’s WorkLink route, the first public transit connection between southern Dayton and northern Cincinnati, focused specifically on supporting economic development efforts in the region. Since September 2018, WorkLink has been connecting people with jobs in Middletown and Monroe six days a week, providing an effective mobility option for existing employees as well as a recruiting tool for employers.
Similarly, COTA is looking to build out economic development tools such as C-pass , which is a benefit to thousands of downtown employees and businesses. Our CMAX rapid transit service connects riders along the Cleveland Avenue Corridor to 200,000 jobs. And, soon we will launch two on-demand microtransit pilots that will introduce the region to a new more convenient way of connecting people to jobs and a greater quality of life.
“As we look to the next decade,” Kenny said last week, “transportation will be a critical component of our economic development strategy in order to increase mobility and affordability in the Columbus Region.”
I could not agree more. This is why COTA is actively engaging our lawmakers on the need for policies and funding mechanisms that embrace an innovation economy throughout Ohio. Our discussions focus on optimization of existing roads and bridges, utilizing technology and data to efficiently move people and goods, and embracing innovation to create a connected transportation environment to better serve our customers and business partners.
We are helping policymakers understand that the future of transit is convenient, affordable, and multimodal.
Our hope is that future funding and policy solutions will more directly support transportation infrastructure that is sustainable, encourages economic development, embraces the innovation economy, and improves quality of life.
It is gratifying to me to see leaders across Ohio coming to this same conclusion. We believe we must follow this recognition with a bold investment strategy that equips Ohio with mobility-rich transportation systems, and hope you will join us in conversations in your community.
Joanna M. Pinkerton
2018 Customer Satisfaction Survey Results
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