These are the guiding pillars of the Reinventing Metro Plan. The Plan outlines concepts for the transit improvements that are possible with new sales tax funding at the 0.5% to 1.0% levels.
After nearly three years worth of community outreach and planning, the Reinventing Metro plan was created. The plan outlines the possibilities to provide sustainable, long-term funding, as well as outlines service improvements if a county-wide sales tax funding is secured.
The objectives of the plan are financial sustainability, improved service frequency, longer service hours, and shorter trip times for customers. Depending on the level of sales tax, various improvements including the implementation of Bus Rapid Transit corridors becomes possible.
When Metro was formed in 1973, Hamilton County was a different place. Most people worked downtown and lived in nearby suburbs, so Metro's hub-and-spoke transit system met their needs. Today, our region has changed, but Metro has not because of an unsustainable funding model. Reliant on a city-based earnings tax, Metro is efficiently run but does not connect enough people to available jobs and much-needed service in our region.
In 2016, the Metro Future's Task Force, a volunteer committee of business, community, labor and faith leaders, determined that Metro's current funding source is unsustainable and cannot support its existing route network or any improvements. Here are some key learnings and recommendations:
If we do nothing
Metro is facing significant budget deficits over the next 10 years. Without additional funding, routes could be eliminated, frequency of service could be reduced, fares could increase, and more people could be cut off from jobs, education, healthcare, and other much-needed services.
*Balanced 2018 Operating Budget
"This is a critical time for our community’s public transportation system. We’re talking about setting up our riders for the future."
Dwight Ferrell, CEO & General Manager, Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority
Studies and Reports:
• EY Business Assessment: A third-party, comprehensive financial assessment commissioned by the Transportation Business Coalition, a partnership of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, the Cincinnati Business Committee, and the Cincinnati Regional Business Committee at the request of SORTA.
• March 2016 Public Opinion Survery: Conducted from Feb. 8-11, 2016, by Fallon Research & Communications, Inc. with responses from 404 Hamilton County residents, we found that 92% believe transit supports the economy and quality of life; 79% see benefits in expanded transit.
In December 2017, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority’s Board of Trustees reviewed the Reinventing Metro plan concept, which outlines transit improvements that are possible if new sales tax funding is secured. This represents the culmination of almost three years’ worth of community outreach and planning.