During a pivotal presidential election, the decision before voters in Sylvania and Spencer townships on whether to withdraw from the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority might not seem the most momentous choice. Even so, no issue facing these voters today will have a more direct impact on their communities and region.
A vote to secede from TARTA — which serves eight communities and carries more than 3 million riders a year — would isolate the townships, restrict mobility for seniors and disabled people, and disconnect employers from job seekers. It would undermine other regional efforts that will determine whether Toledo remains a competitive region or a collection of disconnected and isolated communities.
Either way, TARTA, with a $28 million annual budget, will stay in business. But without Sylvania and Spencer townships, TARTA’s ability to promote economic growth and provide truly regional transit service would diminish irrevocably.
Businesses, shopping destinations, and attractions in Sylvania Township would suffer. Residents would lose some access to nearby Lourdes University, Flower Hospital, Sylvania Municipal Court, and the Sylvania Senior Center.
Toledo already reports one of the lowest percentages, among major U.S. metropolitan areas, of jobs in neighborhoods served by public transit — an important indicator of regional vitality and growth.
Voters in Sylvania and Spencer townships would serve their communities and region by saying NO to withdrawing from TARTA.