Bus riders are “a silent part of our community” who need that service to thrive and TARTA is the most economical way to provide it, Rossford Mayor Neil MacKinnon said today during a rally to urge voter support for the bus system at the Nov. 4 polls.
Rossford’s two biggest employers, Libbey-Owens-Ford and Industrial Power Systems, both rely on the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority for workers’ commutes, as does Hollywood Casino Toledo just beyond the city line, Mr. MacKinnon said during the event at First Baptist Church on Bergin Street.
“People out there are struggling. They rely on safe, reliable public transportation for survival and quality of life,” he said. “They are a silent part of our community that I feel we have a responsibility to look out for, and take care of.”
Mr. MacKinnon’s comments and those of others at the rally were in opposition to a petitioned referendum on the upcoming local ballot that, if approved, would pull Rossford out of TARTA, as has already occurred in neighboring Perrysburg and in Lucas County’s Spencer Township.
A few more than a dozen people, including several TARTA officials and an international representative of the Amalgamated Transit Union, attended the 10 a.m. rally. Mr. MacKinnon said several other Rossford residents who ride the bus would have been there if not for work obligations.
The Rev. Alexander Shears, First Baptist’s pastor, said that even people who don’t use public transportation benefit from its availability.
“It’s not about how much you use it, it’s about having it when you need it,” Pastor Shears said, noting that some of his parishioners who have moved to Toledo use the bus weekly to attend services.
After studying Rossford’s public transportation options, Rossford City Council decided last year not to place a TARTA opt-out question on the local ballot, but Citizens for Choice petitioned the referendum, which was delayed until this year’s general election by an administrative glitch.
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