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Published: Thursday, 3/1/2007

Area lawmakers plan transit opt-out bill

Ohio Sen. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green) plans to introduce legislation today in the state Senate that would give communities the chance to continue or end their memberships in regional mass transit authorities.

Called the "Mass Transit Voter's Rights Bill," Senator Gardner said he is sponsoring the bill at the request of Perrysburg elected officials, who approached him last year about changing state law so that a community could remove itself from a regional transit authority without the consent of other members.

Perrysburg is one of nine communities included in the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority. Many Perrysburg residents are angry over the nearly $1 million the city pays in taxes in exchange for the TARTA service the city receives.

Under the senator's bill, a community or municipality could remove itself from a transit authority by a majority vote of its electorate.

Should a majority vote be achieved, the voting community's exit would go into effect two years after the vote.

"This legislation is about voters' rights and accountability," Senator Gardner said in a news release.

"This bill passes no judgment on the performance of regional transit authorities such as TARTA."

According to the same news release, state Rep. Bob Latta (R. Bowling Green) has agreed to sponsor identical legislation in the Ohio House.



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