TARTA not expected to seek sales tax in November


The Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority is “highly unlikely” to place a sales-tax referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot because of “obstacles we need to overcome,” the head of an ad-hoc committee revisiting the idea said today.

Tom Ramsdell, who a month ago had urged quick action to pursue changing TARTA’s local subsidy from property levies to a sales tax, said that steps need to be taken “to satisfy members’ concerns” before such a proposal could move forward.

“It will probably take a little bit longer than we anticipated,” Mr. Ramsdell told the transit authority’s board of trustees.

TARTA president Bonita Johnson appointed Mr. Ramsdell last month to chair the ad-hoc sales-tax committee after he urged his colleagues to take a fresh look at the idea.

Mr. Ramsdell said the committee had met twice since its creation to discuss the idea.

The transit board voted two years ago to request that Lucas County be admitted as a TARTA member, a prerequisite to placing a sales tax on the county-wide ballot. But under state law, membership changes require unanimous consent from existing transit authority member communities, and both Maumee city council and the Sylvania Township trustees voted the idea down.

TARTA is the last Ohio transit authority to use real-estate taxes for its local subsidy, and a consultant in 2009 recommended the switch to a sales tax. Critics have said the half-cent tax TARTA proposed in 2010 would hurt area businesses and that the transit authority had failed to prove it would use wisely the revenue boost it would get from such a tax.