Dear Gov. Kasich: fund transit now!

Cartoon courtesy of Crain's Cleveland Business.

Cartoon courtesy of Crain’s Cleveland Business.

All Aboard Ohio Joins Effort to Encourage Governor, Legislative Leaders
to Focus on Accessible, Affordable, and Sustainable Public Transit Options

December 14, 2016

For Immediate Release

CONTACT: Ken Prendergast 844-464-7245

Press Release PDF also available on All Aboard Ohio letterhead HERE

Led by All Aboard Ohio, today a diverse group of advocates delivered a message to Governor John Kasich, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Ohio General Assembly. The Ohio Coalition for Transportation Equity is made up of more than 40 different stakeholders representing various populations from urban, suburban and rural communities who want to work with Ohio leaders to invest in accessible, affordable and sustainable public transit options.

In addition to All Aboard Ohio, the only statewide citizens-based rail and transit advocacy organization, the coalition’s members include representatives from a wide array of interests and backgrounds, including people with disabilities, older adults, environmental groups, bicycling organizations, human service providers, transit agencies, business concerns and faith leaders.

The coalition’s letter announces the group’s request to work with the administration to improve Ohio’s public transit system, and details the positive impact that greater investment in public transit will likely have on Ohio’s economy, environment and communities. The coalition’s letter cites ODOT’s 2015 Transit Needs study, which states that ODOT needs $192.4 million in capital and $96.7 million in operating funds just to meet existing demand for public transportation services. An additional $273.5 million in one-time funding is also needed to address system backlog and bring Ohio’s accessible transit fleet to a state of good repair.

Accessible, affordable and sustainable transportation is essential for connecting Ohioans to jobs, education, shopping, health care, and other community assets to be more productive citizens,” said Ken Prendergast, executive director of All Aboard Ohio. “Ohio’s rail and transit users are ready to be a part of the transportation policy conversation, and All Aboard Ohio is pleased to work with such a diverse coalition to ensure that their voices are heard.”

According to the Federal Reserve Bank, only one in four jobs in Ohio’s metro areas can be reached within a 90-minute transit trip. The Brookings Institute says this situation is even more serious in smaller Ohio cities because their scant public transportation offerings are less capable of linking jobs and job-seekers. The result is that Ohio has a large labor pool that is under-employed and therefore isn’t fully participating in Ohio’s economy. In turn, that means a bigger drain on public assistance programs and tax dollars while making Ohio labor markets more expensive. Public transportation or public assistance? That will be Ohio’s choice in 2017.

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Logos of organizations that signed the letter:
transit-logos

Alphabetical list of signers:

Ability Center of Greater Toledo
Advocates for Ohio’s Future
All Aboard Ohio
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 627 (Cincinnati area)
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 268 (Cleveland area)
American Council of the Blind of Ohio
Americans for Transit
Area Agency on Aging 3 (7 county region in NW Ohio)
Bike Cleveland
Catholic Social Services
The Center for Disability Empowerment
Center for Independent Living Options
The City of Lorain
Clevelanders for Public Transit
Disability Rights of Ohio
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
Greater Dayton RTA
Innovation Ohio
Joy Machines Bike Shop
Kirwan Institute
Mid-Ohio Board of Independent Living Environments (MOBILE)
MOVE Lorain County
Motorcars Mobility
National Church Residences – Center for Senior Health
Northern Ohioans for Budget Legislation Equality (NOBLE)
Nuns on the Bus Ohio
Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging (o4a)
Ohio Bicycle Federation
Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council
Ohio Environmental Council
Ohio Olmstead Task Force
Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council
Policy Matters Ohio
Senior Transportation Connection
Services for Independent Living, Inc.
SEIU, Local 1
Sierra Club, Ohio Chapter
Southeastern Ohio Center for Independent Living (SOCIL)
Transit Columbus
UH Bikes
The University of Cincinnati, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UC UCEDD)
Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging
Western Reserve Independent Living Center
Women Empowered, Educated, Employed (WE3 Collaborative)

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Action Alert-Contact Congress!

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Please contact the aides to one of the three Ohio Congresspersons who sit on the House Appropriations Committee. In the coming days and weeks, Congress may act on passing the Transportation-Housing Urban Development appropriations bill. In the House, the bill number is H.R. 2843; in the Senate it is S. 2844.

The most essential provision of these bills to Ohioans are Restoration and Enhancement grants, authorized by Congress last year in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (Title 49 § 24408) at $20 million per year over five years. The Senate’s bill would appropriate $15 million to this grant program while the House bill would appropriate $0.

Restoration and Enhancement grants are essential to Ohioans because they would allow Amtrak to expand its Chicago-East Coast passenger rail services across Ohio, including a daily Cardinal via Cincinnati and South Portsmouth, as well as linking the Wolverine/Keystone corridors via Toledo, Cleveland and Youngstown.

Please contact Congress today and ask for support of S. 2844’s appropriation amount for passenger rail Restoration/Enhancement grants (phone calls are best!):

Rep. David Joyce (eastern suburbs of Cleveland) — Transportation Aide is Amanda Shaw: 202-225-5731 amanda.shaw@mail.house.gov
Rep. Tim Ryan (Youngstown-Warren area) — District Director is Rick Leonard: 330-373-0074 rick.leonard@mail.house.gov
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Toledo-western suburbs of Cleveland) — Transportation Aide is TJ Lowdermilk: 202-225-4146 tj.lowdermilk@mail.house.gov

If you have any questions, please contact All Aboard Ohio Executive Director Ken Prendergast toll-free at 844-464-7245 or e-mail at kenprendergast@allaboardohio.org. Thanks for speaking up and supporting passenger rail in Ohio!

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Mad Jack Challenge fundraiser fills big need!

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UPDATE! All Aboard Ohio is 3/4th toward its Mad Jack fundraiser goal of $4,000. Please contribute on #GivingTuesday Nov 29 & help AAO! Giving Tuesday is the charitable response to Black Friday. We hope that donors will generously consider AAO this Tuesday as part of your giving and help us reach our Mad Jack goal. Thank you!

All Aboard Ohio’s Board of Directors, led by Chairman Jack Shaner, has issued a “Mad Jack Challenge” to its 500 members and the public. The board will match, dollar-for-dollar, the first $2,000 in donations received between now and the end of the year.

The goal of this Fall Fundraiser is to raise at least $4,000 to help pay for advocacy and educational efforts to help state officials see the need for more funding for passenger rail and public transportation. This is a critical time as the two-year operating budget for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will be considered by lawmakers in early 2017.

In the past, All Aboard Ohio representatives testified on the need for rail and transit funding to the Ohio House and Senate Finance and Transportation committees – after the ODOT bill was introduced.

Unfortunately, we’ve learned that’s too late to make a difference. So this time around, we’ve gotten ahead of the game. We’re now finding some supporters in state government who are in a position, or soon will be, to make a difference for you, the rail and transit passengers of Ohio. But we need your help to keep up the fight!

Please make your donation today in whatever amount you can afford. We can accept credit card donations via our Web site CLICK HERE (note that the Ohio Association of Railroad Passengers does business as All Aboard Ohio). We can also accept monthly donations via our Web site, too, so you can boost your overall giving.

And, of course, we accept donations by check or money order payable to “All Aboard Ohio” and mailed to:

Ken Clifford, Treasurer
All Aboard Ohio
11817 Choctaw Dr.
Medway, Ohio 45341

Note that we are urging that checks be sent directly to our treasurer. Our Cleveland office mail delivery has become very unreliable. We will soon have a post office box set up.

We value your generous support! Remember that All Aboard Ohio is a 501c3 educational organization. Your donations may be tax-deductible. Please consult your tax adviser. Thanks so much!

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November 2016 e-Edition newsletter

1-nov2016

Download the November 2016 issue CLICK HERE to read the following stories:

  • Columbus-Chicago passenger rail Tier I planning gains momentum
  • Northeast Ohio regional transit considered
  • University of Cincinnati Student Govt. endorses Uptown extension
  • Connecting the Wolverine and the Keystone
  • Want Amtrak expansion? Tell Congress today.
  • Lake Shore’s Boston section returns with class
  • Cleveland RTA hires new director of rail division
  • Mad Jack Challenge fundraiser fills big need!

Please contact us at info@allaboardohio.org if you have any difficulties downloading the newsletter or if you have any comments or questions. Thank you!

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