The Ohio DOT (ODOT) has announced an influx of $105 million in grant dollars to improve operations and mobility throughout the state. Nearly $70 million will come from the state general revenue fund, as approved by the Ohio General Assembly in its most recent two-year state transportation budget.
According to an ODOT release, ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks said of the funding initiative, “We are grateful that lawmakers recognized that public transit is an important mode of transportation for getting Ohioans where they need to go. These funds will help dozens of local transit agencies provide safe and reliable transportation for many Ohioans.”
As outlined in its press release, ODOT is awarding:
$45 million for Ohio Transit Partnership Program to rural and urban transit agencies.
$17 million for the 27 urban transit agencies in Ohio using a formula-based allocation.
$4 million for the 38 rural transit systems to assist with matching federal dollars.
$2 million for the Elderly & Disabled Transit Fare Assistance Program for reimbursement to rural and small urban transit systems.
$2 million for the Specialized Transportation Program to support transportation to seniors and individuals with disabilities.
ODOT quadrupled the state investment into rural counties. This allows for expansion of service into three counties that previously did not have public transit service: Adams, Coshocton and Highland counties. This additional funding will also allow the Rural Public Transit Systems to put resources toward improving healthcare initiatives and workforce development.
“These funds will have a tremendous impact across the state in helping public transit providers maintain and expand the safe, dependable, and cost efficient service that our riders use and depend on every day,” said Ohio Public Transit Association President Carrie Woody.
In addition to these projects, funding provides service hours and route expansions to address workforce development initiatives for those needing transportation for job training, new employment, or re-entry into the job market.
“This unprecedented support for public transportation allows both ODOT and public transit agencies to leverage federal grant dollars along with state funds to provide reduced fares to seniors and individuals with disabilities,” said Chuck Dyer, administrator of the ODOT Office of Transit. “This also enables transit agencies to provide an environment for increased ridership, regionalization and coordination, alternative fuels, healthcare access, and economic mobility.”