Next Tuesday, voters will make an important decision about transportation and quality of life in our community.
Issue 7 on the Nov. 2 ballot is the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority’s request to voters in its service area to renew TARTA’s existing 1-mill property tax. Because this levy is not a new tax, it will not increase the tax burden on property owners.
Passage of Issue 7 will enable TARTA to continue to provide service at current levels, rather than make further reductions. For thousands of people who live in TARTA’s nine member communities in Lucas and northern Wood counties, approval of Issue 7 will allow them to continue to live their lives and do the things they need to do to maintain their standard of living.
Physically disabled people in TARTA’s service area who previously depended on friends and family to go to doctor’s appointments and shopping will continue to get around on their own by using Toledo Area Regional Paratransit Service.
Senior citizens will remain free to move within TARTA’s service area, to visit friends and family and watch their grandchildren grow. Retirees will be able to get to senior citizen facilities and entertainment venues, and to shop for themselves.
Many workers will be able to get to and from their jobs without the hassle and expense of finding parking places. Other workers can continue to rely on TARTA service to keep their jobs and provide for their families.
Current and future employers realize that without efficient public transportation, such as TARTA provides, jobs either will leave or will not locate in the area, because workers cannot reach their places of employment.
Suburban residents will maintain the flexibility to move within their communities by contacting TARTA’s Call-A-Ride service and arranging to be picked up at their door.
Call-A-Ride will take them to locations in their communities or deliver them to convenient pickup sites. From these sites, suburbanites can catch TARTA fixed-line service buses to reach destinations outside their communities.
Passage of Issue 7 also will enable TARPS transportation service for disabled riders to expand its list of registered clients. Since TARTA assumed full control of TARPS in September, 2008, ridership and satisfaction levels have both shown significant and steady growth. TARPS ridership rose 35 percent last year, and this year will exceed 220,000 passengers.
On Election Day, please remember all those who depend on TARTA — your neighbor who is disabled; your cousin who rides TARTA to and from work; your friend who can’t afford a car; your daughter who rides TARTA to college classes; your parents who take TARTA to the senior center, stores, and the doctor’s office, so you don’t have to drive them.
Look around: You’ll be surprised by how many people you know depend on TARTA. Your vote for Issue 7 is greatly needed and appreciated.
James K. Gee is general manager of the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority.