COTA Hosts Impactful Advocacy Event Urging Congress to Pass Long-term Federal Transportation Bill
COLUMBUS—More than 100 transportation supporters gathered yesterday morning at the Central Ohio
Transit Authority’s (COTA) new Spring Street Terminal to ‘Stand Up 4 Transportation’ and advocate on behalf
of a long-term federal transportation infrastructure bill.
Stand Up 4 Transportation Day, spearheaded by the American Public Transportation Association, featured events
hosted by more than 300 organizations nationwide and highlighted the urgent need for Congress to renew federal
transportation funding before Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (also known as MAP-21) expires
on May 31, 2015.
“Today, we stand united to send a clear message to Congress that now is the time to pass a robust, long-term
surface transportation authorization bill that will provide certainty for planning, maintaining and building our nation’s
transportation infrastructure,” said Curtis Stitt, COTA President/CEO.
Stitt stressed the importance of long-term, dependable transportation infrastructure funding in central Ohio, the
fastest growing region in the state – with projections for population growth of 500,000 and job growth of 300,000 by
the year 2050. He added that if the Federal Transit Administration’s Small Starts Program is not authorized, central
Ohio will lose $38 million that has been recommended in the President’s 2016 budget proposal for CMAX,
Columbus’s first Bus Rapid Transit line.
Speakers at the event included Dawn Tyler Lee, Chair of the COTA Board of Trustees, Marilyn Brown, President
of the Board of Franklin County Commissioners, State Representative Mike Stinziano, Ohio House of
Representatives, Shannon Hardin, Columbus City Councilmember, Chris Runyan, President of the Ohio
Contractors Association, William Murdock, Executive Director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, and
Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, 3rd Congressional District.
“You, the people, are our life blood, but our roads are the arteries and veins that carry you to and from the various
parts of the region,” said City of Columbus Councilmember Shannon Hardin. “Columbus is a city of the present and
of the future, and we must prepare for that. We need certainty in our partnerships with the state and federal
departments of transportation.”
Chris Runyan, President of the Ohio Contractors Association, provided additional insight into the impact federal
transportation infrastructure funding has on Ohio.
“Nearly $1 billion, on average slightly over half of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s capital construction
budget, comes from the federal government,” he said. “The design, construction and maintenance of Ohio’s
transportation infrastructure supports the equivalent of 109,000 jobs.”
Supporters were called on to sign a petition in support of transportation infrastructure funding.
Congresswoman Joyce Beatty declared her support, stating, “I am honored to be here to say, ‘I am with you.’”